As our climate becomes more severe, we’re seeing more flooding and, as a result, more property damage caused by water. As an equipment rental business, you’re in a prime position to offer assistance when this occurs, provided your inventory is stocked with the right tools and equipment.
When flooding occurs, the first order of business is of course to remove the water, and it’s pretty clear this will require one or more types of pumps. What comes next can be more complicated. Removing residual moisture from the area demands the use of a variety of tools. Following is a list of the basic items you should offer:
- Dehumidifiers for removing moisture from rooms
- Axial dryers/air movers and centrifugal fans to evaporate moisture into the air for removal by dehumidifiers
- Air scrubbers to remove airborne contaminants
Laurie Hosli, brand manager with Quest Portable Climate Control Equipment, a division of Therma-Stor, adds that proper dehumidification and humidity control should be continued even after the structure is completely dry. “Dehumidification reduces drying time for paint, drywall and floor-prep and installation, especially hardwood flooring,” she says. “Properly drying a flooded structure and maintaining climate control throughout the rebuilding process will help ensure no secondary damage, such as mold growth, occurs after renovations have been completed.
Moisture is the enemy
Whenever an area has been flooded, moisture remains long after the water is gone. Wet walls and carpets will never dry if the relative humidity in the air is too high. With that in mind, the most important step after removing standing water is to dehumidify the atmosphere. This requires the use of a dehumidifiers and high-velocity fans distributed around the room. The fans work to evaporate moisture from walls and floors so the dehumidifier can then remove the suspended moisture from the air.
Hosli at Quest recommends air movers be used in combination with dehumidification to speed up the evaporative process. Air movers focus their airflow on those hardest to dry places such as carpet and pad, sub-floor and walls, which helps prevent costly secondary moisture damage due to the structure not being completely dry before renovations begin.
More bang for your buck
Ben Damiani, senior account manager with Dri-Eaz, notes that rental businesses should consider carrying LGR (low-grain refrigerant) dehumidifiers, which are more efficient than conventional models. While more expensive to acquire, rental businesses can charge a higher rate for these models because they’re more effective, especially at pulling moisture out of denser wall and floor materials.
To illustrate the difference, Damiani explains that an LGR dehumidifier works at lower humidity levels so will continue to draw moisture out of drywall, wood and cabinets until the space is completely dry, which helps prevent mold or mildew growth. Plus, LGR dehumidifiers are often more efficient in their electrical usage and thus, more environmentally friendly.
LGR dehumidifiers are important to contractors working on damage restoration projects because insurance companies will pay more per day when LGR models are used in place of conventional models.
“Insurance carriers reimburse your customers based on equipment capacity,” says Lance Speroni with Impact Restoration Supply. “This change directly impacts the equipment rental needs of your renter. During peak season, however, restoration companies will take whatever they can get their hands on. But during off-peak seasons these former customers are much more persnickety about what equipment is rentable.”