10 Things to Know to Dry A Structure

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10 Things to Know to be Able to Dry A Structure


Drying a structure can be difficult if you don’t know some of the basics.  This is not meant to be a detailed in depth article on drying but just a guideline to give someone an idea of what will need to be done.  Also, with a wet structure there are many things to consider such as source of the water, time it has been wet and materials affected.  All of these could change the way you approach the project.











  1. Extract all loose water.  This is probably only necessary in a water damage situation and wouldn’t apply in a situation with high humidity only.
  3. Figure the total cubic foot of air that will need to be dried. (Length x Width x Height) Make sure to include all adjacent areas that are open to the main area.  If this is not done then you will not get the results you are seeking.  Then look for a dehumidifier that can process the air in the area 2-4 times an hour.  If you are just controlling humidity then you could be closer to 2 times an hour and if you are drying a structure after a water damage situation then it might need to be more.
  5. Know the materials you are trying to dry.  For instance, sheetrock and carpet absorb moisture easily and also let it off easily.  Wood, concrete, and brick don’t let the moisture go as easily and may need more heat and dehumidification to get the job done.
  7. Have access to a hygrometer.  A hygrometer can tell you temperature, % Relative Humidity, Grains (or Specific humidity) and maybe even dew point.  These can all help you in determining whether or not you are actually set up properly to dry or control humidity.  For example, if the temperature in the area is raised by the addition of the dehumidifier then more water can be evaporated into the air.  Also, you can check the grains going into the dehumidifier and the grains coming out of the dehumidifier to make sure the dehumidifier is pulling water.  There are many other ways this information is useful and a study in psychrometry would benefit you there.
  9. Have access to a moisture meter.  A moisture meter give you an indication of a material being dry or not.  These meters generally start around $80 for a basic model and go up from there.  Without this then how do you know when a material is dry or not.
  11. If the space you are trying to either dry or control the humidity in is already air conditioned and heated then buying a small dehumidifier from a big box store will not solve your problem.  These small units are referred to as standard /commercial dehumidifiers and they only pass the air through the coil one time just like your air conditioner does.  So consequently while they may pull some water they will never dry the air past where your air conditioner already will.  So you will need a unit that will pull the grains of moisture lower than what your air conditioner will.  That being said if the space is unconditioned then a small unit may be fine for your needs.
  13. Get professional advice before purchasing equipment.  This will insure that the equipment you choose will actually do what you want it to do.
  15. If trying to dry an area have plenty of air flow on the wet materials.  If you are just trying to control the humidity then this is not as necessary.
  17. Having a humidistat on the dehumidifier could help save you some money on electricity cost. When the air reaches a set humidity level then the unit will automatically turn itself on/off with the humidistat installed thus saving you on electricity cost.
  19. Having a unit that could be ducted into and out of a room so that the unit can be hidden from site should also be taken into consideration especially if the unit will be permanent to control humidity levels.

Lastly if you are trying to control humidity within an enclosed pool area here is a work sheet for you to complete.  I hope these 10 things will help you on your next drying or humidity control project.

This article was published on Thursday 01 August, 2013.

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