How Do You Dry Out a House After a Water Leak?

April 11, 2023 Uncategorized

Article by David Selter

In the past several years the Gulf Coast has experienced more than its fair share of water damage. The Texas Gulf Coast has been hit especially hard with catastrophic storms and freezes. With such widespread flooding events overwhelming all available resources, many people have been on their own when it comes to recovery. Here are some basic steps to take to take care of water inside your structure.

  1. Remove standing water by any means available
  2. Remove unsalvageable porous materials such as drywall
  3. Create as much air circulation as possible
  4. Use dehumidifiers to remove the moisture produced by the evaporating water
  5. Using a moisture meter, test moisture levels in the wet materials periodically to ensure they are drying

It is possible to do all of the above yourself without using a water damage restoration company, but like anything else, it requires the right knowledge and resources, and a good deal of sweat equity. So, whether you use a certified professional or decide to go it alone, there are a few things you need to keep in mind.

Drywall: it is worse than a sponge when it comes to absorbing water. When it gets wet from water on the floor, not only will it absorb that water and wick it further up the wall, but it also loses its structural integrity very quickly and becomes unsalvageable. And if you don’t remove the wet drywall, it will act as a barrier and make it more difficult to dry the wood framing behind the wall. A common mistake is trying to “save” the drywall, but it’s not worth it. You run the risk of dragging out the drying process and creating a friendly environment behind the walls for the growth of mold.

Unless the humidity outside is very low and you can leave the windows open, you will need dehumidifiers to remove the evaporating moisture from the air in your home. Without dehumidification the air in your house will become saturated and the drying will effectively stop. The higher the relative humidity, the closer the air is to holding as much water as it can. Dehumidifiers will condense that moisture on its coils and pump it down your drain, and the drier air in your home will induce faster evaporation and help speed up the drying. Besides slowing down the drying process, high humidity in your home poses another risk. Once the humidity exceeds 60%, the moisture in the air will tend to condense on cooler surfaces such as your walls, and create an ideal environment for the formation of mold. So remember, dehumidification is just as important as air movement when it comes to drying wet structures.

Invest in a decent moisture meter. It is important to monitor the drying progress. It’s the only way you will know if you have to change your strategy, change or add equipment, or even know for sure if something is actually dry. It will also help you pinpoint any problem areas that you are having trouble drying, before they can create a serious mold problem that could cross contaminate other areas of your home. 

Hopefully, these basic tips on drying out structures will be useful to you even if you decide to hire a restoration company to do the work. For as they say, knowledge is power.