Heat drying just makes sense to us, as we dry our clothes in the dryer or hand them outside on a warm summer day. Along those lines, let's look at how you might use some heat "gadgets" to improve and speed your drying jobs.
I use a hair dryer every morning. I don’t like to leave the
house with wet hair and my wife tells me it looks better if I dry and comb it.
So I hold the dryer, turn on the blower and turn the heat to high.
A time or two I have actually tried drying without the heat,
but I just don’t have like to spend three times longer drying my hair. Heat
drying just makes sense to us, as we dry our clothes in the dryer or hang them
outside on a warm summer day. Along those lines, let’s look at how you might
use some heat “gadgets” to improve and speed your drying jobs.
Let’s get this out of the way first: While I have been in the cleaning and
restoration industry for over 37 years, I don’t claim to be the consummate
expert on drying. Yes, I have been through several drying education course and
even in my very early years of cleaning I was doing flood work. But even with
this, I’m definitely not the person to give you a great understanding into the
depths of differential vapor pressure, or even show you how to use an
I just make sure that I partner and work closely with those
people who are.
While I fully expect that fans and dehumidifiers will
continue to be the primary method of drying at least in the near future, I am
now seeing thousands of professionals adding directed-heat drying to their
Following the idea that, “the fruit doesn’t fall far from
the tree,” my son owns a restoration and cleaning business. He recently
received a call from a local gym manager with a flooded hardwood basketball
court. Another restoration company had come in and set up fans and
dehumidifiers in large numbers, but the floor was just not drying. The hardwood
was suspended on top of concrete with firm rubber discs. Water had collected on
the concrete and had kept the hardwood wet and severely cupping for three
My son invited me to help and observe his technique. About
half the basketball court was affected. We installed vacuum panels over the
flooded areas, got them hooked up to the vacuum pumps and started them up. We
then spread plastic sheeting over the whole area to create an enclosed tent
effect. Using his hydronic directed-heat drying system, we added 50,000 BTUs of
heat and approximately 1,500 CFM of airflow into the plastic tent. This would
raise the tent about 4 feet off the floor, as it was sealed around the edges.
I have seen the same application executed very effectively
on smaller hardwood drying situations hundreds of times. The only change would
be to use less BTUs (probably an electric unit) for directing the heat. This
would have been enough to expedite the drying of the gym floor, but we applied
another system that really sped the drying and worker perfectly.
With two other
hydronic 50,000 BTU directed heat boxes, we were able to direct heat and air
flow under the floor – between the concrete and the hardwood. We accomplished
this by removing the edging base and drilling 1-inch holes spaced along the
edge. We then added two Octidry wall/floor drying systems attached to the TEX
boxes. This created an amazingly efficient drying situation.
After struggling to
dry this floor for over three week, to then have us come in and return it to
the pre-flood dry measurements in 36 hours, it is hard to describe how pleased
the gym manager was. I was surprised to see almost all of the cupping of the
wood go away, even after it had been wet for that long. I must say I was
Whether you’re restoring a flooded gym floor or a
residential basement, I expect we share the same excitement and feeling of
satisfaction when, upon completion, the customer says to you, “Wow, I thought
we would be torn up for weeks. Only three days and I’m all put back together.
Thank you so much!”
Customer satisfaction through short drying times is the
enduring strength behind directed-heat drying. But keep in mind that it is not
necessarily a stand-alone system; the best approach is to have a complete
arsenal of the best drying systems and gadgets to handle anything Mother Nature
(or a broken water heater) can throw at you.
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Gordon Hanks is the CEO of Bridgepoint Systems. For more information call (800) 658-5314.