The drying process - Water removal

In the event of a significant amount of floodwater, it may be necessary to pump away any excess water.  We can provide pumps for hire or undertake the work on your behalf.

Typically pumps can take water level down to within 2mm of the floor surface.  At this point, water extraction vacuums are needed to remove remaining surface water.  This water extraction equipment is also available to hire from Dehumidifier Rental.

Please note that if floodwater is entering your home, gas, electricity and water supplies should be turned off if it is safe to do so.  You should not touch sources of electricity if standing in floodwater.

The drying process - Damp assessment

Once surface water has been removed and the affected contents have been set aside or disposed of, the extent of moisture spread can be ascertained.  This is undertaken with the use of moisture measuring tools including a thermal imaging camera.

The assessment will inform whether any preparatory works are required before the drying program can be set up, in order to remove any materials that are damaged beyond repair and also to remove any barriers to evaporation that prevent drying.

Preparation may include invasive works such as cutting access holes in, or removing sections of, plasterboard walls and ceilings; removing saturated insulation; removing floor coverings that may be trapping moisture; grinding adhesives from concrete floors.  Any such works would need to be agreed with the insurer before commencing.

The drying process - Preparation

In the event of a major flood, silt and debris left by the flood would have to be removed, together with checking the gas and electricity supplies and appliances.

Stripping out works may be required, whether or not there was significant surface floodwater.  This is to remove materials that are holding water and are not cost-effective to dry, or to remove impervious materials that are acting as a barrier to evaporation of trapped moisture.

These preparatory works may include for example:  removal of damaged and wet furnishings; removal of floor coverings; removal of lower level wall coverings potentially including plasterboard and plaster/render; removal of kitchen units and low-level woodwork.  This should take place to facilitate a cost effective solution which ensures the building is fully structurally dry.

The drying process - Cleaning

After any stripping out works have taken place, cleaning and sanitising the area may be required in order to mitigate any adverse effects of contaminants.

Flood water can be either ‘white’, ‘grey’ or ‘black’ water.  White water is uncontaminated at the time of the flood.  Grey water is wastewater typically generated from domestic activities such as laundry, showers, dishwashing etc.  Black water contains human waste and discharge from toilets.

After manual removal of obvious surface contaminants, assessment of remaining contaminants can be undertaken with the use of bacterial analysis.  Mitigation can be undertaken with wet extraction equipment available for hire from Dehumidifier Rental as well as spray-disinfectant applications.

The drying process - Dehumidifying

Water can penetrate deep into building fabric even if flooding first appears relatively minor.  This deep seated moisture can sometimes take significant time to migrate out of materials.  Full dryness is required so that repair work will be sustainable and damage doesn’t reappear in future.

During the initial drying phase after a severe flood, a significant volume of water needs to be removed quickly.  This is best undertaken with refrigerant dehumidifers which rapidly remove moisure that readily evaporates out of building materials.  Industrial fans help here with distributing dry air and displacing saturated air.

After this initial phase, deeper structural drying requires time and potentially a change of equipment.  Desiccant dehumidifiers may be useful for further lowering humidity, together with the addition of more heat to drive moisture out of dense materials.  Drying programs would be adjusted by our technicians as required, and monitoring of moisture levels will be documented throughout the building drying.

The drying process - Repair

You have a choice of supplier for dealing with this work.  Your insurer is responsible for the work of builders they appoint or alternatively you may be able to use your own choice of builder.

Where appropriate, your insurer can also discuss with you whether you want the repair works to include those which improve resistance and resilience to future flooding.  If this doesn’t cost more than the cost of repairing your home to its pre-flood condition then your insurer would typically not charge for these changes.

Most contents policies will pay the full cost of replacing damaged items with the equivalent new ones.  If the value of your contents is more than the sum insured, the settlement of your claim may be reduced to reflect this.

We have a range of building trades experience including plumbing and electrics, flooring, tiling, plastering and decorating, which allows a seamless completion of restoration works.

Drying Techniques

The optimum drying program will be discussed with your technician. There is a range of drying techniques available for drying water and moisture damage. The format chosen will depend on a number of factors:

  • Extent of moisture saturation
  • Noise levels tolerable
  • Energy costs
  • Construction materials used
  • Access to damp areas
  • Vacant or in use property

Room Dehumidification

The dehumidifier is placed in the affected room and blows dry air into the whole space so that all surfaces in the room are dried. This is a good primary action before installing a more in depth drying method when drying in areas where sensitive materials or objects are located that could be damaged by low RH. Caution needs to be taken to avoid unwanted shrinkage in the room.

Building Dehumidification

This is of great use in new building where damp needs to be dried during construction. Materials in a building contain a large amount of building moisture, some of which is in the material after manufacture. When stored at the work site more moisture can be added. Large amounts of building moisture should be dried before construction is finished.

Small Area Dehumidification

Where accelerated drying is required to specific areas such as part of a wall or floor, the dehumidifier blows dry air into the plastic ‘tent’ and thereby dries the damage quicker. Large areas can also be dried within a plastic enclosure where damage to the rest of a space needs to be avoided – ie the low RH is kept within the tented area.

Floor Joist Dehumidification

Dry air can be directed from the dehumidifier into the construction, so spaces within floor joists can be addressed. If greater airflow is required, a low pressure fan can be used. The fan partly sucks room air and partly dry air to therefore dry insulation in floors and walls.

Pressure Dehumidification

Floating floor constructions can be dried where water is trapped underneath the slab. This is often faster than dehumidifying the room and waiting for moisture to evaporate up through the floor. Air is pushed through a turbine into the construction via a system of hoses connected to predrilled holes.

Suction Dehumidification

Again for floating floor constructions. The suction is based on dehumidifying the room air. The dry air in the room is sucked down into the building construction using a turbine, which then sucks the moist air from the insulation via a hose system connected to predrilled holes in the construction.