A common question asked by homeowners if their home sustains water damage is can they dry it thoroughly by themselves or should they hire a professional? Well the answer is a definitive Yes and No! Depending upon the type of water source whether it is clean or contaminated, the type of surface whether porous or not, and the amount of water absorbed, in some instances you may be able to completely dry the property; however, most often complete and thorough drying cannot be obtained without professional dehumidification equipment and knowledge about the science of drying. Professional water mitigation companies are IICRC certified in Water Damage and Mold Remediation, meaning that they have gone through extensive training on the science of drying and prevention of mold.
FOLLOWING ARE SOME BASIC DIY DRYING TIPS:
- Close all windows before turning on dehumidifiers as otherwise the equipment will be pulling in the outside air and drying that instead of pulling the moisture out of the interior affected surfaces.
- Turning on the HVAC during the first day or so after water damage from a clean water source can help speed up the drying process; however, if the water has been sitting there for a few days before drying begins, then it is best not to turn on the HVAC as mold spores may have already begun to grow and the HVAC system can spread those spores throughout the house into unaffected areas via the ductwork.
- Mold begins to grow within 48-72 hours and so when you begin to “smell” something, the smell is mold spores having babies.
- A professional water damage restoration company can calculate the number of dehumidifiers and fans in combination with the amount of water to determine how much equipment is needed to get property dried within three days which is the insurance industry standard approved amount of time to dry a property under normal circumstances with after 72 hours of dampness allowing for mold growth. Also, there is a huge difference in the amount of water extracted with a professional grade dehumidifier versus one made for home-use.
- Professional water damage restoration companies have tools with probes which penetrate a variety of surfaces, such as wood, tile, drywall, and they measure the amount of water in that specific material. These measurements are taken at intervals throughout the drying process to document that the property is drying in the time predicted. Likewise these tools also can verify that the property is totally dry inside the materials as visual inspection cannot reveal moisture underneath the surface.
- If carpet pad is saturated, it is most cost effective to throw it away and replace and it should be pulled away from the carpet before any drying is begun in order to speed up the drying process. Carpet pad is relatively inexpensive to replace.
- Base boards that come in contact with water should be removed so as to allow drywall behind the base boards to dry more efficiently to prevent mold growth as otherwise it is almost impossible to completely dry the drywall behind baseboards.
- If water is from a contaminated source which is from anywhere besides directly from the hot or cold water pipes, then a professional should be called in, not only to dry the property but to properly sanitize the surface via use of antimicrobial products to disinfect areas.
Summary: If water damage is minimal, comes from a clean water source, and caught very early then Do-It-Yourself Drying may be effective but otherwise it is best left to IICRC professionals who can guarantee that your property is thoroughly dry so that mold will not become an issue.