The significance of temperature in cleaning and restoring materials, assemblies, systems, and contents of any affected areas cannot be overstated. However, it is essential to consider additional factors to ensure a comprehensive and effective cleaning and restoration plan. This includes analyzing the specific characteristics of the materials, assemblies, systems, and contents by assessing and investigating the potential impact of the cleaning and restoration process on the structural integrity and functional performance of the affected areas. Failure to take these factors into account will result in inadequate cleaning and restoration services along with wood damaged such as warping, swelling, shrinkage, buckling, popping, and twisting to name a few things.

In the cleaning and restoration industry, some professionals claim that the temperature of the air is the primary factor for effective drying. They often compare the drying process to a clothes dryer to support their argument. However, this analogy is flawed as a clothes dryer simply pumps dry air into the drum and removes moisture by pulling it out. In contrast, a structural drying plan and dryer (e.g., industrial, commercial, and residential) rely on energy to circulate dry air around materials, assemblies, and systems. Both contents and clothing require energy to pass over and through them to reduce the moisture content (i.e., standing, free, and bound moisture.) The drying process can be affected by blocked or clogged air inlets and outlets, which can limit airflow and hinder performance of air movers and air filtering devices (AFDs). Therefore, it’s crucial to clean air movers and AFDs regularly to ensure optimal drying performance.

This narrow view of drying ignores some very important truths:

  • Air is not a great conductor of thermal energy. This fact is commonly observed in homes, commercial buildings, and industrial facilities through the use of pink or yellow bat insulation. This type of insulation restricts the movement of air in crawl spaces, attics, voids, and cavities, thus creating insulation by trapping air in a stagnant state.
  • To heat 1 pound of air by 1 degree Fahrenheit, it requires only 0.24 British Thermal Unit (BTU) of heat energy. The factor 1.08 includes the specific density of air (0.075 pounds per cubic foot or hour). The specific heat is measured per pound of air, while air is measured in Cubic Feet per Minute (CFM) or Cubic Feet per Hour (CFH). However, one must remember how many cubic feet a pound of air transfers this minute amount of energy from sparse gas to dense material. In addition, evaporating 1 pound of water requires 1,061 BTUs, not to mention additional BTUs needed to heat other moisture-holding materials, assemblies, systems, contents, and clothing. It is inefficient to use air to transfer thermal energy to wet materials.

Measuring the thermal temperature of hygroscopic materials, assemblies, systems, and contents in a drying chamber is crucial for calculating their vapor pressure. However, assuming that elevated temperature within the drying space automatically means the high temperature in material, assemblies, systems, and contents is a disastrous approach that can lead to poor or even hazardous drying outcomes.

Such a conclusion disregards the various factors involved in creating an effective drying plan. It’s important to consider all elements of the plan to achieve successful results.


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