There are many types of restoration equipment in the restoration industry. Each serves a special purpose, and is designed to help in the restorative drying process. At the core of restorative drying, there are 3 pieces of equipment that every restorer needs. Let’s take a look at this equipment!
An air mover does exactly what the name suggests, it moves air! As you will learn in an IICRC WRT class, airflow is part of the drying process or, as it is often referred to the “Drying Pie” The Drying Pie consists of controlling Humidity, Airflow, and Temperature. Each of these elements is an important part of the drying process, which is adjusted as needed on each individual project.
On a base level, airflow helps increase the evaporation of affected (wet) materials. Evaporation is when a liquid turns to vapor. The job of an air mover is to help increase evaporation! An Air Mover’s job is to dry surfaces and bring the excess water into the air.
There are several types of air movers including centrifugal, axial, and radial.
Now that we have evaporation from air movers, we have water vapor in the ambient air. That water vapor has to go somewhere, and that is where our dehumidifiers come in. Dehumidifiers remove water vapor from the air (dry the air).
There are two types of dehumidifiers we use in restoration. A refrigerant dehumidifier is the most common and works by cooling the moist air in the drying chamber causing the vapor to turn back to liquid water, also known as condensation, and then pumping the water to a drain in a sink, etc.
Desiccant dehumidifiers remove moisture from the air through adsorption. In other words, the water molecules basically stick to the desiccant material, and then, through high heat, the molecules are removed from the desiccant and usually exhausted outside the building.
Learn more about Air Movers and dehumidifiers.
Air Filtration Devices
When providing high-velocity airflow to surfaces to promote evaporation and drying, there is an increased risk of particles being aerosolized (i.e. blown up into the air). Additionally, after the demolition of wet materials (such as the removal of wet drywall or particle board) it is hard to vacuum up all of the wet debris (it sticks to subfloors, etc.), but as it dries out, it starts to blow up into the air.
Also, on Category 2 or Category 3 jobs, by definition, the water has some degree of contamination that needs to be controlled. (Again, you will learn about Categories of water in a WRT class).
Air Filtration Devices (aka AFDs) provide HEPA filtration of the air to reduce particles in the air. An AFD can be installed on a job site and simply turned on to clean or “scrub” the air. In this scenario, the AFD is often referred to as an “air scrubber.” In other situations, the AFD is ducted out of the drying chamber (usually outside) creating a pressure differential or negative pressure. When utilized in this way, the AFD is often called a “negative air machine” or simply a “NAM”.
Depending on the setup of the Air Filtration Device, they may be referred to as an AFD, Air Scrubber, or Negative Air Machine. In each case, they are talking about the same piece of equipment!
Remember, this is just some of the equipment restorers use. In another post we’ll take a look at specialty drying equipment like wall cavity drying systems or floor panel and mat systems, as well as how to measure the moisture in materials with moisture meters, and more!