What is all this equipment the water damage tech is using?

Posted by Matt Buchanan

When a water mitigation & restoration technician gets to your home to begin work, the initial phase is to begin assessing the damage.  As part of that process, the tech may use a variety of different testing systems to get a better sense for the amount of moisture as well as the environmental factors at play that could benefit or adversely affect the extraction & drying process.  If you’re like us, you want to know what’s going so you feel more empowered about the process.  So here’s a quick explanation of some of the things you might see your tech use once they get to your home!

 

There are 2 main things your technician will be looking for when they get to your property:

 

Moisture Content Readings 

 

Whether it’s soaked carpet, hardwood floors, or walls, the key to drying it out is to measure the moisture content of the surface.  Essentially a moisture content reading allows you to know how much moisture is trapped in a surface and the progress you’re making getting that moisture out of the surface.

No surface is completely dry…in fact, everything has some amount of moisture in it naturally.  So in order to determine what moisture content you’re aiming for in the drying process, it’s important to have a baseline reading taken from the surface of an area that has not sustained any water damage.

So if you see the tech walking around with a hand-held device and putting it up against the surfaces of your home, it’s called a moisture sensor (or probe) and you’ll know what it’s for!

 

Temperature & Relative Humidity Readings

 

The other key thing for any water mitigation professional to know is the condition of the air.  While there are many different measurements that can be taken from the air, the two most important (as it pertains to drying out a structure) are temperature and relative humidity.  You know temperature, but relative humidity is essentially the  amount of moisture in the air compared to the amount of moisture the air could hold at that same temperature.

A hygrometer is the piece of equipment that is used to measure temp and RH.  Essentially the higher the temperature (up to a point), the quicker your surfaces will dry out.  And the lower the RH, the easier it is to get water vapors extracted out of the surface and into the air.  And knowing how quickly water will evaporate into the air helps determine how many dehumidifiers will need to be set up in any room where drying is taking place.

Like a moisture sensor, hygrometers are used in multiple places in order to get a sense for the environment drying is taking place.  The tech should take a reading outside your home, in the room(s) that are water damaged, as well as an area of the home that isn’t effected by flooding.  The tech will continually take these readings throughout the process in order to gauge progress and make changes to the drying equipment and/or dehumidification systems.

 

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About Matt Buchanan

I grew up in Irving, TX and left for Nashville, TN for college. After college I lived in Washington, DC and then in Cairo, Egypt. After coming back to the states, I spent a couple of years back in Dallas before moving with my wife to Denver!
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