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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Desiccant Dehumidifiers Are Essential Equipment at SERVPRO To Properly Dry Out Structures

9/11/2020 (Permalink)

Dessicant dehumidifier in a basement with ducting attached going to the outside Desiccant Dehumidifier In Action

At SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County, we utilize the latest and/or greatest technology and equipment that will help us dry out structures as quickly as possible, based on the particular need of that structure.  Other than standard low-grain refrigerant (LGR) dehumidifiers, we also use desiccant dehumidifiers.  People often ask us "What is a desiccant?"

  • A Desiccant dehumidifier is similar to a standard grade dehumidifier in the sense of they both bring down moisture levels in a contained structure.  However, a desiccant is very different in the process they use to remove the moisture.  Desiccants can be the same size as an LGR dehumidifier but as big as a semi-trailer. Desiccants have a unique ability to dry air that is actually already quite dry.  These machines can also dry the air in extremely difficult to dry materials, even at below 60 degree temperatures (were a standard grade or LGR dehumidifier would go into defrost mode).  Desiccant dehumidifiers are a very useful tool in our SERVPRO inventory. With our Franchise being located in Wisconsin, about half our year is under 60 degrees.

What is the difference in a Desiccant vs Standard dehumidifier?

  • A standard grade dehumidifier (also known as a compressor based dehumidifier) uses a compressed refrigerant to cool metal coils (evaporator coils).  The humid air that enters the dehumidifier condenses on these cool coils. This leaves the air that exhausts out of the dehumidifier warm and drier than when it entered. Desiccant dehumidifiers work quite differently. Instead of using condensation on cold evaporator coils to remove humidity from air, desiccant dehumidifiers use a chemical called a desiccant to do so.  The chemical in our desiccants once heated release the moister air into a condensed form so they can be purged or ran through a LGR dehumidifier for better efficiency.

Why would SERVPRO use a desiccant in my home or business?  There are three reasons

  • Ambient air temperature.  As I wrote earlier, our standard LGR dehumidifier have a hard time running at their max efficiency below 60 degrees an ambient air temperature. Now in most cases we can bring in portable electric heating or turn up the heat of the house or structure to get us in the range were a LGR could run at their full potential.  But what happens when we can't bring in temporary heat or turn up the furnace?  This is when we would run a desiccant dehumidifier; to begin drying out the structure until we were able to bring the heat up to an appropriate level.
  • Size of the affected area of water damage.  In some commercial situations or large residential homes and garages we are always trying to get our drying process done as thoroughly and quickly as possible. In these cases, running multiple LGR dehumidifier and air movers may not be enough or the most cost effective way to dry a structure out in a timely manner. This is when we start to think about desiccant dehumidification.
  • Saturation of structure. This bring us back to drying in a timely manner. If structural building materials have reached their max saturation, and have remained at that level for some time, the materials become harder to dry out and bring them down to drying goals. These instances are perfect opportunities to build temporary containment chambers and run our desiccants to dry things thoroughly and quickly.

In this photo, you will see the plastic ducting connected to a desiccant dehumidifier.  This ducting is vented to the outside which is where we want the moist air going.  If you look closely, you will see the moisture that condensed on the inside of the ducting.  This is proof of the machine doing its job.  The air mover next to the desiccant is used to help circulate the air to evaporate the moisture into the air.

Do not hesitate to give us a call at 262-542-0900 with any questions regarding the equipment that we use of if you need our assistance in drying out a structure.  No matter if it is residential or commercial, big or small, SERVPRO of SW Waukesha County has the correct equipment and certified trained technicians to properly dry out your structure.  thing else).  We are always here to help.  

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