How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

How Does a Dehumidifier Work?

A Dehumidifier installed to help prevent further damage.
The source of the water damage is from the homeowners dehumidifier.

As a Water Damage Restoration Company, This Is Asked All The Time

Dehumidifiers reduce the humidity level in your home by drawing the room air through the appliance and removing the moisture. The level of humidity reduction is regulated by the humidistat or by a control board with a sensor. When the humidistat or sensor detects a need to reduce the moisture in the air, 120 volts of alternating current is sent to the compressor and the fan motor.

The compressor is part of a sealed refrigerant system that compresses the refrigerant in gas form and pumps it through a set of condenser coils where the gas becomes a hot liquid. The coils dissipate the heat as the liquid travels through them. Once the refrigerant has passed through the condenser coils and the capillary tube, it travels to the evaporator coils as the refrigerant liquid enters these coils it expands into a gas which makes the coils cold. The gas flows through the coils to a suction line attached to the compressor. The compressor will then pump the gas back into the condenser coils where it once again becomes a liquid and the cycle continues.

At the same time the fan motor rotates a blade to draw the rooms humid air into the appliance where it condenses on the cold evaporator coils. The condensation accumulates on the evaporator and drips into a bucket or is diverted through a hose to a floor drain. The cooler air from the evaporator is heated as it passes through the condenser coils and is returned to the room.

Water vapor reaching its fail point on the window

This process continues until enough moisture has been removed from the air to satisfy the setting on the humidistat or the control board. Most dehumidifier models are equipped with a safety switch that will prevent the appliance from running if the bucket is full. If you suspect the dehumidifier should be running when it’s not, the buckets safety switch may be defective. 

You can use an ohmmeter to test the switch for continuity to help determine if the switch is functioning or not. Both the condenser and evaporator coils need proper airflow for the dehumidifier to work efficiently.

Over time these coils can collect dust dirt and debris so it’s a good idea to clean the coils regularly. Just be careful not to bend the fins. If you hear the dehumidifier running but no air is being exhausted, then it’s likely that the fan motor has failed and will need to be replaced.

If your model is equipped with an air filter, the filter will need to be cleaned from time to time to prevent frost from building up on the evaporator coils. Most standard dehumidifier models require the room temperature to remain above 65 degrees Fahrenheit for the appliance to work properly. As lower temperatures can cause the evaporator coils to frost over.

If the temperature in your home regularly drops below 65 degrees, you will need to obtain a model that is specifically designated for lower temperature operation. A&R Environmental uses custom made to our industry dehumidifiers for all water damage and mold remediation jobs. These dehumidifiers contain modifications to the conventional refrigeration system that result in cooling the process airstream to a significantly lower temperature, using various energy exchange systems. Visit our website to see a dehumidifier in action on a water mitigation job.

A&R Environmental’s Services: Mold Remediation

A&R Environmental’s Services: Mold Remediation

Did You Find Mold? STOP

When a preliminary determination indicates that mold contamination exists or is likely to exist, an assessment should be performed prior to starting remediation. An independent IEP who has no business affiliation with the remediator should be used for this purpose. A&R Environmental will only recommend companies who recognize our industry standards.
If the IEP conducting any activity such as assessment or post-remediation verification is not independent from the remediator, they should disclose in writing to the client that they are deviating from the Standard.
ANSI/IICRC S520 – Mold Remediation – Third Edition: 2015 Section 15: Post-Remediation Verification
Mold Damage

A Few Things To Know When Dealing With The Presents of Mold and Mold Removal 

 

1. INITIAL CONTACT – should be made when mold contamination is found, a moisture inspection should be conducted as soon as possible. Normally done by a 3rd party IEP (Indoor Environmental Professional) or IH (Industrial Hygienist)

2. INSPECTION PROCESS – can require a multi-disciplined approach involving specialized experts from different fields. It also may include but not necessarily limited to gathering information for moisture problems and potential mold contamination.

3. WORK PLANS & PROTOCOLS – performed by the contractor and IEP provide the basis for developing plans for containment, hazardous or regulated materials, safety, and health provisions, contaminated material removal and handling; and etc.

4. POST REMEDIATION EVALUATION – should be conducted by remediators to evaluate whether or not remediation has been completed. This evaluation involves implementing internal quality control procedures.

5. POST REMEDIATION VERIFICATION – should be performed by an independent IEP. If the IEP conducting any activity such as assessment or post-remediation verification is not independent from the remediator, they should disclose in writing to the a client that they are deviating from the Standard.

Understanding Safety and Health During Mold Removal

When determined that an indoor environment is contaminated with mold, remediation employees shall be protected from exposure. Having engineering controls, administrative controls, and safe work practices in place are the primary means for preventing exposure. 

During mold remediation, appropriate respiratory protection or other personal protective equipment (PPE) shall be used in conjunction with engineering controls to protect workers when engineering controls are insufficient, as indicated in 29 CFR 1910.134(a)(1). Reasonable efforts should be made to inform occupants of and protect them from similar exposure as a result of investigation and mold remediation activities.

Document Conditions and Work Process On A Mold Remediation Job

In circumstances where an entire building or system is fully affected as a result of Condition 3 mold contamination or when the scope of work can be determined without sampling or independent IEP inspection and assessment, engagement of an IEP for assessment may not be necessary. Furthermore, some mitigation services may be initiated before or during assessment of conditions or performance of remediation processes.

Mold Damage Scoping

Notwithstanding the foregoing, if health issues are discovered or apparent that seem to be related to the actual or suspected mold contamination, an IEP or other appropriate professional should be engaged by the property owner and the extent and Condition (1, 2 or 3) to which areas of the structure, systems and contents are potentially mold-contaminated should be assessed, documented, and reported to the client. To avoid all conflict of interest during mold remediation, the home or business owner should always have a 3rd party non-biased IEP involved in the process. Having this documented by a 3rd party IEP is the best way to protect all parties involved.

Controlling Contamination When Conducting Mold Remediation

The spread of mold contamination should be controlled as close as practical to its source. Methods of controlling the spread of contamination can be by use of containment and air filtration.
Mold Damage Containment
Initial moisture mitigation services may be performed to control amplification while ensuring that mold contamination does not spread from more-contaminated to less or non-contaminated areas. Erect containment in a manner that mitigates the potential for cross-contamination and exposing workers and occupants to contamination. Consider whether floors, walls, and ceilings require a polyethylene barrier erected over them; or if they can be left uncovered for later cleaning.

Mold Contamination Removal

Physically removing the mold contamination is the primary means of remediation. Mold contamination should be physically removed from the structure, systems, and contents to return them to Condition 1. Attempts to kill, encapsulate or inhibit mold instead of proper source removal generally are not adequate.
Physically removing the mold contamination is the primary means of remediation. Mold contamination should be physically removed from the structure, systems, and contents to return them to Condition 1. Attempts to kill, encapsulate or inhibit mold instead of proper source removal generally are not adequate.
Mold Damage

Remediated structures, systems, and contents can be considered clean (post-remediation evaluation) when contamination, unrestorable contaminated materials, and debris have been removed, and surfaces are visibly free of dust. The term “visibly” can include direct and indirect observation (e.g., using a white or black towel to wipe a surface to observe for cleanliness). Also, remediated areas should be free of malodors associated with microorganisms. At that point, it is probable that the structure, systems, and contents have been returned to Condition 1. After a post-remediation evaluation, the remediated structures, systems, and contents are ready for post-remediation verification. When verification that the structure, systems, and contents have been returned to Condition 1 and when it is requested or required, a post-remediation verification should be performed by an independent IEP.

 

Credit: ANSI/IICRC S520 – Mold Remediation

Understanding The Tools Used During A Water Damage and/or Mold Remediation: Part 1

Understanding The Tools Used During A Water Damage and/or Mold Remediation: Part 1

Water Damage to Hardwood Floor – Elevated Reading

Equipment Seen on a Water Damage or Mold Remediation Job

Can bring about some questions. Does that read for mold? What time do I turn off the equipment? And, how do you know when its dry? If you could see yourself asking questions to better understand what’s going on in your home during a time like this, then this blog is for you.

In this blog we will view 3 different types of equipment we use on almost every job. Two of which go hand and hand, the moisture meter and hygrometer. We will also show you and talk a little about the air scrubber. Stay tuned for future blogs, including other types of equipment used in the field. Enjoy!!!

The Moisture Meter & Hygrometer Intro…

When it comes to moisture on a water loss, we want to focus on both the liquid and gas phases. The instruments to use in our industry to detect such moisture are the Moisture Meter and Hygrometer. Moisture can be found nearly everywhere, including materials considered dry. Having control of the moisture is very important during a water loss to effectively dry the structure. Elevated moisture above a certain percentage can lead to secondary damage. The moisture meters and hygrometers displayed in the photos are listed below the photos.

More of our everyday equipment will be featured in a future post, stay tuned.

Water Damage From Above…

Water Damage From Above…

Water Damage from a Failed Pipe Flange in the Attic

The Homeowner called the Builder of the home when they noticed water dripping from the ceiling in the kitchen. The Builder then called A&R Environmental. Once the builder was onsite, a series of test holes discovered that the leak wasn’t from a water pipe, but from the dryer exhaust vent

Source for the water damage

This vent traveled from the roof though the attic sheathing, down the interior wall splitting the Laundry Room and Master Bedroom Closet. Anytime it would rain, water would slowly leak all the way down the exhaust pipe reaching the kitchen ceiling two floors below.

How soon can you be here? And when can you start?

When A&R Environmental was called upon due to a water loss, our first objective was to minimize the damage. This can only be done by responding as soon as possible. Failure to do so can result in secondary damage. Our team was on site to offer Aid & Relief within the hour with an extraction and mold remediation team in tow. In the event of a water loss in ones home, the first responder should start the mitigation process immediately, as we did.

Mold… Mold… Mold… We Have Mold!!!

Mold under the carpet

Whenever water is discovered in your home where it doesn’t belong, it can bring about mold. Now, when it comes to dealing with mold on a water loss, only one thing comes to mind… Control. Gain control of the affected area by implementing air filtration devices and containment barriers.
These engineering controls will also double as a drying chamber to help with the drying process. Prior to introducing airflow to the elevated moisture in the structure, the affected area was cleaned and treated for microbial growth (mold).

Water Damage Drying Equipment

Once the mold remediation was complete, the drying equipment was installed. This equipment can consist of large dehumidifiers and air movers (fans). The objective is to return the affected areas with elevated moisture back to their pre-loss condition. Depending on the environment, drying technique and affected materials, this process can take up to 3 to 5 days. A&R Environmental’s mitigation plan was completed in 3 days.

Mold under the carpet

A&R Environmental is a certified firm with the IICRC

Small Leak, Big Problem

It never hurts to pick up the phone and ask. A&R Environmental responds as soon as possible. We check all area’s to gain a full scope of work and do what is necessary to help prevent further damage.

Music By: Wesley MacIntosh

Video Created By: Wesley MacIntosh

Photos By: Wesley MacIntosh

Sewage Waste Removal

Sewage Waste Removal

The source of the sewage loss was the waste line to the toilet. Once the occupant would flush the toilet, the waste would flow to the crawlspace. The affected areas needed source removal and a lot of cleaning.

Dew Point…? What’s That? What’s the Humidity Outside?

Dew Point…? What’s That? What’s the Humidity Outside?

Sweating outside on a humid day.

Everyday learning. Trying to spread the wealth of knowledge one blog at a time.

Let’s take a couple minutes to explore the difference between relative humidity and dew point. Relative humidity, despite its name, is not a good measure of how humid it is outside. Rather, dew point is a much more accurate representation of how humid most people would describe it feels outside. The big difference between the two is how much moisture the air can hold.

When the temperature is 55 degrees, the relative amount of moisture the air can hold (relative humidity), is much smaller than the amount of moisture or water vapor the air mass at 95 degrees can hold. The relative humidity of 55 degrees of 50 percent, is a much smaller amount of water vapor or moisture in the air, than a 50 percent relative humidity at 95 degrees. Even though the RH is the same it’s considerably more moisture when the temperature is 95 degrees.

When you look at the measure of how much moisture we’re talking about, dew point is the value we often refer to. So a 37 degree dew point is what you get with a temperature of 55 and a relative humidity of 50%. While a dew point gets up to 74 by the time you have a temperature of 95 with a 50% relative humidity.

Water vapor reaching its fail point on the window

This is roughly a subjective scale on how most people would describe a given dew point to feel outside. Generally speaking, a dew point below 60 feels pretty comfortable and dry to most people. When the dew point starts climbing through the 60’s, the humidity becomes increasingly noticeable. As the dew point climbs through the 70’s, the humidity feels downright unbearable outside.

So the next time somebody asks you how humid it is outside remember, relative humidity is a relatively poor measure of how humid it is. Dew point is a much more accurate representation of what the humidity feels like when you step outdoors.