- THE MAGAZINE
In response Bolden’s developed Hydro Lab, the first facility dedicated to collecting scientific data, which will be made available to industry experts for establishing protocol and standards in the water damage and restoration industry. Hydro Lab, a 1,600-sq.-ft. house and laboratory structure, functions to:
- Test water removal equipment (extraction tools, dehumidifiers and air movers)
- Determine which household materials (drywall, carpet, padding, insulation, wood beams etc.) are conducive to mold growth
- Establish best methods for quick and effective drying of flooded facilities.
Hydro Lab contains two identical houses completely furnished including a kitchen, bath, living room and bedroom. The walls are partially covered in clear lexan to allow viewing of the flooding and drying process from an adjacent classroom. Inaccessible areas: under the bathtub and behind walls, have built-in sensors to check moisture content and static pressure, while critical areas such as sub-floors, studs, different types of insulation and drywall have access doors to provide easy access for microbiologist to obtain daily bacterial and mold spore samples. More than 1,250 tests and continuous monitoring of temperature, humidity, moisture, mold growth and air movement are performed weekly as the house is flooded and dried.
To effectively monitor each flood, the Hydro Lab needed a temperature and humidity monitoring system and moisture monitoring system that would withstand repeated flooding and drying and would require minimal maintenance while providing highly accurate data.
For accurate and easy-to-use temperature and humidity monitoring, Bolden’s selected Dickson’s Pro Series Temperature and Humidity Data Loggers (TP120). With easy to use DicksonWare software, TP120s are compact enough to use in small spaces, accurate enough to provide critical measures through every step of the process, and with remote monitoring, one to 64 TP120s can be controlled from one PC. The TP120s are placed throughout the test lab in walls, cabinets, furniture, and ceilings and with each dehumidifier. Measurements of exact temperature and humidity conditions and how these critical variables change before and during flooding and during the drying process are important in determining if the proper equipment is being used. Dave is able to monitor air temperature and humidity through every step of the process, thus enabling him to quickly identify which equipment worked most effectively at removing moisture.
Dickson’s TP120s are also used to monitor each of the 18 chambers built to determine which household building materials act as the best food sources for mold. This information will help determine where drying efforts should be concentrated and how quickly a structure needs to be dried before mold growth becomes an issue.
Throughout the lab, charts created with downloaded data from TP120s using DicksonWare software can be found detailing every step of the drying process. Dave looks at the charts and quickly pinpoints which dehumidifiers stopped working before a drying job was complete, and when temperatures reached critical levels that interfered with the drying process. But Dickson and Bolden’s don’t stop there. Dickson instrumentation is being used on the job, to monitor drying processes, and new Dickson instrumentation and software are being developed to improve Bolden’s field operations.
Delmhorst Instrument Co. of Towaco, New Jersey worked directly with the Hydro Lab to supply a continuous moisture monitoring system. Bolden’s installed more than 80 probes in various parts of the Hydro Lab house including the sub-floor, drywall, inside cabinets and in the framing. These probes are part of Delmhorst’s Kil-Mo-Trol System, typically used to monitor lumber during the kiln-drying process. Easily adapted to the Bolden’s application, the probes tie into Delmhorst’s K-1100 Kil-Mo-Trol Plus. This system is a microcontroller-based data acquisition device, which continuously monitors the moisture levels of areas where probes are placed. Through a menu-driven keypad, Dave Sutton of Bolden’s is able to set the system to scan each probe according to his schedule. He downloads the information to a dedicated PC so he can track moisture levels and therefore determine the success of the drying effort.
Delmhorst’s hand-held moisture meters are also an integral part of Hydro Lab. These meters help identify the source of moisture intrusion, trace leaks, and determine if dry rot has occurred in wood structures. Water restoration specialists have used the Delmhorst models for years as part of an overall restoration process.
To find out more about Bolden’s Manufacturing Inc. and the Hydro Lab training seminars, log on to www.boldens.com or call (888) 776.6708. To see the TP120 and Dickson’s full line of instrumentation, log on to www.dicksonweb.com or call (800) 323.2448. For more information about Delmhorst Instrument Co., log on to www.delmhorst.com or call (800) 222.0638.