After natural disasters such as spring snow storms or heavy rains that cause basement or crawl space floods, excess moisture and standing water can quickly contribute to the growth of mold in homes, especially in low-lying areas such as basements.
If you were storing anything of value in the basement or using it as additional living space, it is important to dry this area as quickly as possible in order to prevent permanent damage to your belongings and the structure. Relative humidity levels rising above 60 percent stimulate the growth of mold, mildew, bacteria and other biological allergens, which can potentially create dangerous living conditions.
The first step is to remove all of the remaining floodwater as quickly as possible after you are sure the basement is safe to enter. Once the standing water is removed, the next step is to use a large capacity high efficiency dehumidifier to start drying out the basement. Drying rates are greatly improved by lowering relative humidity, adding heat and increasing air movement — all functions of a high powered dehumidifier.
Not All Dehumidifiers are Created Equal
The most effective type of dehumidifiers use a regenerative heat exchanger and high capacity fan, like the units offered by Santa Fe. These features are necessary for fast and effective drying and allow the units to remove 2-3 times more moisture per kilowatt of electricity than a conventional dehumidifier. Santa-Fe dehumidifiers are energy efficient and allow for high efficiency air filtration. All Santa-Fe units come with at least a MERV 8 filter, and most come standard with MERV 11 filtration capabilities. Santa Fe freestanding residential units are built with the same components as the company’s commercial units and as a result are able to remove up to 4 times more water than the units available at home improvement stores.
If you are unsure about how to clean an item damaged by a flood in the crawl space or basement, you may wish to consult a specialist. Specialists in furniture repair, restoration, painting, art restoration, carpet and rug cleaning, and water damage are commonly listed in phone books. Be sure to ask for and check references and look for specialists who are affiliated with professional organizations.