If you’ve experienced a serious water leak or flooding, you know how difficult it is to clean up the mess. Depending on the volume of the water and its location, and whether a sump pump or a floor drain is available, you may be looking at days or even weeks of work just getting rid of the standing water. Even then, your walls, floor, and furniture will still remain damp.
A dehumidifier can help dry everything out, but how long do your run it after a water leak?
Optimal Use Of Dehumidifiers
How long you need to run your dehumidifier depends on several factors, including the extent of the leak and the area exposed to moisture. One way you can decrease the time needed to run a humidifier is by making sure it runs in a closed system.
All dehumidifiers do is remove moisture from the air. They draw damp air over cold coils that condense, collect, and remove the moisture before the now-drier air is returned to the room. As the air in the room becomes drier, puddles will evaporate. Moisture that is trapped in sheet rock, cushions, and other affected materials will be pulled out.
However, if the area is open to other sources of moisture, like humid outside air coming in through an open window, the dehumidifier will labor to pull moisture out faster than humid air is flowing in.
To dry an area affected by a leak quickly, try to contain the area so that your dehumidifiers can do their job efficiently.
Deter Mold Growth
Mold will start growing in areas affected by a leak within about 48 hours of first exposure to moisture. Therefore, it’s vital that you remove the water from the area within that time frame, if possible, to avoid bacterial damage and save your space and possessions from rust and mold.
If your leak is so extensive that you cannot finish clean-up and drying within that time period, you may want to rent a commercial dehumidifier with a larger capacity, or call a professional to get the work done as soon as possible.
Most humidifiers extract water to about 50 or 55% relative humidity before an automatic shut-off, so when you have a leak, you could run the device for days before it shuts off for any other reason than a filled basin.
In short, the best answer is the simplest one: Keep your dehumidifier running until the area is dry.