Costly decisions on water losses – turning off drying equipment

Hands off!

Avoid a costly mistake by understanding the drying process.

Recently, one of our Project managers was standing in my office expressing his frustrations about a client who kept, “turning off our equipment”, and, “opening all the windows”, on one of our larger, time sensitive projects. Unfortunately, this is not an uncommon topic to come up around here.

restoration drying equipment

Whether the water loss is in residential or commercial property, dehumidifiers cause temperatures to rise and fans are noisy. The Project Manager wasn’t ranting, but he was giving me an education about how the drying process works, why it’s costing the client money when they shut off equipment, and how the end game — turning the building back over to the owner, dry — is being delayed.

On all of our jobs, the equipment needs to run overnight. The temperature in the building was rising. It was 85 degrees and humid outside, typical for summer in Wisconsin, and averaging between 85 to 90 degrees, with low humidity, inside. No one inside could escape the heat.

thermal imaging camera for measuring moisture in wet wallsWhen we left that night and came back the following morning the dehumidifiers were turned off and the windows were wide open, causing all of the outside humidity to come pouring in. Our Project Manager was told, “The walls felt dry,” and, “It’s too hot in here,” and that’s why the occupants kept turning off equipment and opening windows. This is what prompted our Project Manager to give me a lesson about how commercial interior walls dry.

When you touch a wall, it may feel dry – on the surface. But there are two problems with the “touch method,” one is that humans are 100% wet and the other – humans are very bad moisture meters! No one has enough of a magic touch to know whether or not the insulation and studs are dry on the inside. Unless you’re us: us meaning we who have the tools to properly check moisture content levels inside the walls. These tools are specially designed to detect the approximate moisture levels of “buried” insulation and studs. These moisture readers allow us to precisely adjust our equipment in the room to keep hot, dry air on the inside and outside of the wall to continue to penetrate the wall and dry the insulation and studs.

It’s important to remember that professionals hired to perform work on your home or business follow proper protocols to prevent future problems from arising, in this instance – mold. The last thing you want to deal with is your water damaged walls filling with mold.

So, before you hit the “off” switch, keep this in mind: making adjustments to any equipment can add time to a project. Time is money, as we’ve all heard, and in this case, it’s not money back into your pocket. If you are finding conditions uncomfortable, or in this case – hot, ask the crew if there is anything you can do, or they could do, to make conditions more comfortable. Moving equipment or worse, turning off equipment, will often times cause the project to take longer; and that always means increasing costs.

If you have a question you’d like us to answer, please email us at We are always happy to help.