Case Study #1 – Advanced Office Systems post Hurricane Gustav. United Fire & Water was contracted to contain and restore this business located on Industrialplex in Baton Rouge
- Exterior wall and partial roof failure allowed wind driven rain into structure
- 70% of the structure was affected by water damage
- 100% of the structure was affected by moisture damage
- No power
- No containment
- Lack of HVAC / Power was problematic in preventing mold growth
- Business was losing income due to power issues, and had loss of income policy in place
So what did we do first?
As I mentioned the west wall and roof had failed due to the heavy winds that Hurricane Gustav brought. So there was a gaping hole in the side of the structure… so what did we do first?
We contained the structure first!
Why did we do this??? Well Kevin I suppose that you did this to keep any more moisture from entering the building.
And that is true – partially. We also contained the building to prevent people from walking in and taking the owners property.
But we set up the containment for one other reason….. what do you think that is?
We set up drying equipment inside of the water damage structure so that we could get it dried out. If we didn’t set up the containment what effect do you think that would have on the drying equipment? Take a look at the photo… if the temporary containment was not put in place what would be the result?
It would have taken WEEKS to get the building dried out if there was no containment – the drying equipment would have been working against the outside climate – and we all know what the weather is like here in Baton Rouge.
So the containment was put in to place to reduce the work area of our restoration efforts. The more we can reduce the size of our work space, the more productive we can be in our restoration efforts. We didn’t want the equipment drying out the clouds in the photo – we wanted to focus on the structure ONLY.
What did we do next? What is the first step in the Principles of Drying?
Remove the excess moisture.
We removed the excess moisture. We extracted all of the wet carpet and tile, we removed wet ceiling tiles, wet furniture, wet files and folders – anything that was wet was either removed from the building (if not restorable) or extracted and dried in the building.
What did we do next?
What is step #2 in the Principles of Dying?
Promote evaporation is the second step in the principles of drying. So we added air movers to our efforts in getting the structure dried out. We need to force the liquid in the flooring and wall materials into the air as a vapor – we needed to PROMOTE EVAPORATION.
Next??? What did we do next? What is step #3 in the principles of drying?
Ventilation (for an open drying system) – or dehumidification (in our case) for a closed drying system. We added a 145kw generator (because there was no power in the area following the storm) and a single 5000cfm trailer mounted desiccant dehumidifier (photo on left) and low grain refrigerant (LGR – stainless steel machine in photo on the right) dehumidifiers to the property. We need to address the high humidity that was occurring inside of the structure.
The airmovers that we added were blowing the liquid in the walls and flooring materials into the air as a vapor (much like your steamy bathroom after you’ve showered) and we needed to do something with all of that wet air, otherwise we would have caused secondary damage (mold growth) in the building.
The 5000cfm trailer mounted desiccant was filling the building with very warm (110+ degree) and very dry (1% to 2% RH) air.
We ran rigid duct (yellow duct in left photo) from the desiccant to the wooden manifold that we built in the north window. On the other side of the manifold we ran something called layflat duct which you can see in the photo on the right and in the photos below.
The layflat is filled with very dry and very warm air, and has holes cut in it every 10 or so feet to allow the super dry / hot air to be distributed throughout the building. Airmovers help to move that air around, and the LGR dehumidifiers help to reduce the high humidity levels in the building.
The rule of thumb restorers like to use is that we replace the interior air or “wet air” of the affected space a minimum of three times (or more) per hour for the most effective drying process. More on this in a later blog post.
So we have added dehumidification – What did we do next?
What is the fourth step in the principles of drying?
HEAT is the fourth step in the principles of drying.
Remember that the building had a specific type of insurance policy? It had a loss of income policy in place, so the faster we could get the building operational the more money we could save the insurance company. So what did we do to speed up the process??
We went to the adjuster and suggested that a second generator be brought in to help with our efforts. What do you think we did with the second generator?
We took control of the HVAC system so that we could produce MORE heat – and this helped our restoration efforts. Heat helped to get the building dried out more quickly and to get the business operational in less time. This also helped partially power the building during our restoration efforts.
Do you think the insurance company was happy? And how about the client?
More to come in our next post on Water Damage #101
United Fire & Water Damage of LA, LLC
4117 Rhoda Dr
Baton Rouge LA, 70816