Air movers are one of the best tools in the industry for homeowners and business owners that help with water damage. Air movers are the tool that provides directional and focused air circulation in any location. They are used to help dry out areas and surfaces that were affected by spills, broken pipes, flooding, or carpet cleaning. Essentially, they are an efficient and effective solution for any ventilation task that any home or business owner comes across. However, because air movers have many different components choosing the right one can be a difficult choice.
Types of Air Movers
When it comes to air movers, they can be broken down into three main groups: Axial, high-pressure axial, and laminar. Each group has its own specifics and components, and choosing the best one for your specific task is essential to drying water quickly. Here is a short break down of the three groups.
Axial: The axial air blower offers the highest CFM (Cubic Feet per minute) ventilation. It also provides the lowest amount of amp (ampere) draw of the three groups. They are not built to focus air specifically but are ideal for the deliverance of a constant amount of higher volume of air circulation on walls and floor surfaces. Also, please note that these particular units have low static pressure, therefore the unit is not capable of ducting.
High-Pressure Axial: The high-pressure axial units are built to perform at the max capacity and are great to use for specific applications. They offer extremely high-pressure air circulation and have a high CFM. Due to their extreme pressure deliverance, they come with a downside of amp usage and are also noisier than the rest. The best places to use the high-pressure axial unit are places like a crawlspace or areas that are more contained. They are capable of attaching to ducts in order to help with pulling and pushing air circulation to more defined places.
Laminar: The laminar units are more commonly used in businesses and in homes that need focused directional air. They have the lowest amp draw and offer a medium CFM pressure rate. They are fantastic at providing a focused airflow that is directed in a straight line. They are built with a snout and provide static air pressure to dedicated areas. In addition, these particular units have the ability to attach to TEX boxes or wall injections and are perfect for floating carpets to get a constant ventilation solution.
What to Consider When Choosing the Ideal Air Mover
Finding the right air mover for the situation or task that is on hand is essential for optimal performance and a reliable solution. A home or business owner should first evaluate the situation before making a final choice on the air mover.
For example, if you have a wall that has corners, you may want to use the laminar units for focused airflow as it will be faster to dry out the specific areas like the base of a wall. While the axial units are better at distributing circulated air over larger and wider areas that are not defined locations.
To start with certain considerations and factors of choosing the right air mover, consider the ampere (Amp) draws. The amps are the amount of electricity that is needed for the unit to turn on and work. The draw is the amount of electricity that is needed for the unit to consistently operate while running.
Not all situations will require units with a higher amp draw. The best way to consider what amp draw to use is to understand how many BTU’s you will need for the unit to perform accurately, and if you need a stronger unit or if one with less amp draw will get the job done.
When you look at the movers, the CFM is another factor to consider. CFM is the measurement of the overall volume of air that the mover is pushing out. Many consumers will use an anemometer to consider the velocity and the CFM that the air mover will use. However, the readings will adjust around the openings of the units. The CFM number is the actual output of the air mover. Determining the amount of CFM can help you decide what unit will be best for your task.
The next consideration is the overall air focus that you need. A good way to see the airflow speed is with an IR camera. They show the heat signatures that the units provide. This is vital to see where the air is focused in order to dry the water at the surface to allow for faster results. Focused air is based on speed and energy transfer. Through seeing the heat signatures you will notice if the CFM is effective in the placement of the unit.
Lastly, how many air movers you will need is a good consideration to acknowledge. If you have too many the amp draw can become strenuous to the building through overheating the electric line. And on another note, if you have too few, the drying job will take longer than needed.
A good thing to remember is the amount of heat that is transferred to the designated wet area is the key element to accomplishing the job. The amount of airflow that is sent to the wet area will allow for faster drying times and an overall successful job completed.
- The ideal amount of air movers to each job is 1 air mover every 10-16 linear feet.
- There must be air circulation on each wet area or surface.
- Rooms with more shapes, like closets and corners, require more air movers.
Angles and Corners
Laminar air movers provide a straight line of focused air. If you place and adjust the unit accordingly it can change the direction and velocity of the airflow that is used. The one thing to remember is the location of the water, and how to get the airflow directed exactly to the wet surface or area.
Each angle of an air mover affects the number of air movers that are required. Sharper angles allow for the movers to be placed closer together. Shallow angles allow for the movers to be spread out.
If you place the air mover near the wall at a 45-degree angle, you will notice that the air will move up the wall but have less velocity down the sides. However, it will create a good pressure basis on the base of the wall allowing for more define locations to dry faster. The 45 degree angle also has the ability to focus on areas that have more than 24 inches in height of water damage. They are fantastic at providing directional circulation for the wall cavity. The suggested use for an interstitial cavity is one laminar unit with a 45-degree angle every 10 feet.
Air movers angled at 15-degrees are better for shallow points. The air will move up the wall, just not as high as the 45 degrees, however, it will reach farther down the length of the wall. The best use for the 15 degree angle is when the water damage is lower than 24 inches high.
If you need a corner of a wall dried, the best placement for the air mover is at the actual corner of the wall, the airflow will be split down the middle giving focused circulation on the corners. This is great at drying openings and corners that have dense materials as well.
Ideal Placement and Application of the Air Movers
The air movers each have their own use for any water damage situation. However, placement and application are essential for the accuracy of performance. Putting your water damage into a class category will help determine where to set the air movers, and how many to get. Therefore, start with putting the your water damage situation into a class loss category for more refined environmental variables, then consider the applications.
Class 1: The first loss category will contain water damage that has less than 24 inches up any given wall. It also will contain surfaces that do not have any carpet, cushion material in the desired area. The best unit that can be chosen for this is the laminar air movers. They have the ability to focus the air on the base of the wall, however, there are some situations that the axial units are used for a Class 1 category.
- Using a Laminar mover with a 15-degree angle every 12 feet is ideal for a Class 1.
- Or using an air mover with a 15-degree angle every 16 feet will fit into a Class 1 if there is drywall present.
Class 2: If you have water damage that is still under 24 inches up the wall but the carpet or padding are wet, you would put your situation in the Class 2 category. Those that need a directional airflow under carpets, also known as floating carpets, using a laminar unit will be ideal for these situations. They are also great at focused air on wall corners and bends that are streamlined.
- Using an air mover with a 15-degree angle every 12 feet is ideal for a Class 2.
Class 3: If you notice water damage on every surface such as walls, floors, and ceilings, then the Class 3 category is where your situation is placed. Class 3 can also include carpet and pad that contain water. In this particular category, the axial units are the best choice due to their distribution features. They are capable of delivering a wider range of air circulation that can hit many surfaces at once.
- Using an axial air mover with a 30-degree angle every 10 feet is ideal for a Class 3.
- Or using a laminar air mover with a 45-degree angle every 10 feet for a Class 3.
Class 4: This class is dedicated to those who are looking for specific needs. Hardwood, plaster, or even concrete drying needs are usually placed in the Class 4 category. It depends on what type of drying process that is needed to be placed in the Class 4 section.
- Using an air mover with a 15-degree angle every 12 feet on surfaces like ceramic, hardwood, plaster, and in crawlspaces is ideal for a Class 4.
- If you are looking to float plastic on tenting flooring, this would also be set in Class 4.
- Crawlspaces on average require one air mover every 150 square feet.
Once your chosen class is determined, next is application usage. This is vital to the success of the drying process and the overall outcome of using an air mover.