Exploring the different drying methods available
Drying is simply the process of removing moisture. Heat drying works by turning water from a liquid into a gas; the water evaporates and is then moved away from the area that needs to be dried. Dehumidifiers work by removing excess water vapour from the air. Refrigerant dehumidifiers use a condensing unit and desiccant dehumidifiers use an absorbent wheel.
Both processes are effective and can also be used in conjunction with each other. Each process relies on air being moved around. With heat drying the moist air must be removed from the area before it cools otherwise it will condense onto surfaces that are below dew point temperature. A dehumidifier used in conjunction with a heat drying system will remove excess moisture from the air.
Drying can take place naturally. The sun is often used to dry out various items. Many people hang out their washing to dry on a sunny day and in some countries food items are left to dry out in the sun. Equally the wind can be used to dry washing as it carries the moisture away from the clothing. In the same way, we can dry indoors by opening windows to create a flow of air.
Although natural drying works it is not very efficient. Drying out structures using natural drying would take a very long time and in the case of flood and water damage this is just not practical. In construction the weather conditions can have an adverse effect on materials by drying them too quickly or slowing down the process.
Fortunately there is equipment available to speed up drying whether by heat drying, dehumidifying or a combination of both. Construction and flood drying industries use these drying methods to dry out surfaces, materials or structures where natural drying is not practical.
As already discussed, heat can be a good way to dry out a surface or material. Heat from the sun is just one source. You can also use central heating or various domestic fires to dry out a room. Portable heaters can be moved around a room to dry different areas.
Heating has the advantage that you don’t need to seal a room. In fact you need to ensure that the room is well ventilated so that moist air can be carried away otherwise when it cools it will just turn back into water as condensation. A good example of this is when cooking in an unventilated room. Often you will see condensation on windows especially in the cooler months. This is because water vapor is being produced by evaporation but has nowhere to escape to. So when it come into contact with a cold surface, the air cools down below dew point, and the water vapour condenses back into a liquid. This is why building regulations require kitchens and bathrooms to have suitable extraction facilities.
Using portable heaters is effective for small areas, but as they only heat air within certain proximity it would take many heaters to dry a large room.
There are different types of dehumidifier available and they come in different sizes depending on the area that needs to be dried.
Refrigerant dehumidifiers work in a similar way to air conditioning units. Air is drawn over a refrigerated coil which causes condensation. With an air conditioner the warm air is removed from the room but with a dehumidifier the warm, now dry, air is pumped back into the room.
Desiccant dehumidifiers contain a humidity absorbing material that actually absorbs moisture out of the air. This type of dehumidifier is more effective at lower temperatures than refrigerant dehumidifiers.
Condensing type dehumidifiers may need to be emptied on a regular basis unless they have an integrated pump to remove the water out of the drying zone. Desiccant type dehumidifiers have a wet exhaust that is usually ducted out of the drying zone. With both types it is important to create a drying chamber by closing windows and doors so that the dehumidifier can work on the air within the chamber and not be affected by outside air that may have a higher humidity.
As we have established, both heat drying and dehumidifying depend on air being moved about.
Fans increase air flow so they can speed up the drying process when used in conjunction with heaters or dehumidifiers. Fans can be used alone to dry an area but are far more effective if used in combination with other equipment.
Using heaters can take a long time to heat up a large room, and if you are trying to dry a specific area such as a floor then you may have to heat the whole room up unnecessarily. The heat will be focused on the nearest area to the heater so this area will dry quickest. Plus hot air rises so drying a floor using just a heater can take a long time. One method of combating this issue is the use of heat mats. Heat mats can be used to focus drying on a specific area. The heat is evenly distributed across the area that needs to be dried. The downside of heat mats is that they aren’t very robust and can get easily damaged so it is best to use them in an area where there is no traffic to avoid them being damaged during use.
The Arxell system can be used in conjunction with heaters, dehumidifiers and fans and can be used with low airflow to protect delicate surfaces as well as very high pressure airflow where rapid drying is required. The air is focused directly onto the wet area and is evenly distributed. The key difference between heat mats and Arxell is that the Arxell units are hard wearing and load bearing so they are far more durable and its in-built ventilation system ensures that wet air is vented away from the surface evenly across the area.
Arxell units create a micro climate so areas are dried much faster than using traditional methods alone.
Most drying equipment is compatible with Arxell; you can connect fans, dehumidifiers and heaters to the units with ease. The units fit to any size space and you can connect as much equipment as necessary.
Because of the unique design of Arxell you have much more control over the drying conditions and drying speeds than with other methods.
Which is the right one for me?
When deciding which drying method is best you need to consider a number of factors to determine which method will be most effective.
What material are you drying? Some materials shouldn’t de dried to quickly and may be affected by heat or rapid moisture removal. Arxell allows you to control the drying conditions.
What is the size of the area to be dried? This will determine how much equipment is needed and which type. Arxell can be built to fit areas of any size and shape.
What ventilation is there? If there is no ventilation then dehumidifying may be better. If the area can’t be sealed then heat drying might be the best choice. Arxell creates a micro climate between the wet surface and the units so there is no need to seal an area or heat a large area unnecessarily.
Does the area need to be accessed? If you need access to the area during the drying process this could impact the efficiency of certain equipment. Arxell is load bearing and durable. You can continue working on and around the units whilst the drying takes place.
Arxell has been designed to work with traditional drying methods to improve their effectiveness and efficiency. The units can be fixed together to fit any sized area and can be used for floors, ceilings and walls or be built around an item that needs to be dried. The drying conditions can be controlled which makes Arxell ideal for construction. Arxell is much faster at drying than any other system available.
When you consider all the advantages that Arxell offers you will see that of all the drying methods it is the most efficient. If you want to dry an area, whether by heat drying or dehumidifying, then Arxell will facilitate the drying process ensuring the best results.