Water Heater Leak Damage

Hello:
I had a 10 year old gas water heater located in the garage which sprung a small leak. I don't know when it leaked exactly but what happened was that I suddenly noticed the leak because it was large enough to actual hear the water leak flowing. So once I realized what was happening I replaced it yesterday. It might have been leaking for a while.
However, the gas heater was sitting on a stand in the corner of the garage. The stand itself was enclosed with drywall, except for a small door underneath the stand which leads to a hollow cavity between the garage drywall and the inside house drywall and is filled with insulation. On the other side of the insulation is the drywall which is on the inside of the house itself. The floor is quite wet and part of the insulation is soaked. The whole cavity seems pretty damp and wet. |----- R13 Wall Insulation Inside of House V -------------- | I R13 Insulation | | Inside of House ---------| | | | Stand| | |-----| | <-- small door underneath stand leading to "cavity"
Can I just let it dry out in time or should I rip up the drywall and insulation? I hate to do that cause that's gonna be a lot of work and/or money to rebuild that whole corner section and I have no skills or experience with that kind of work.] However, an entire drywall cavity damp with water letting it dry naturally in time might lead to problems.
What's the advice on what to do? Thanks
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ex snipped-for-privacy@mail2world.com wrote:

wet and part of the insulation is soaked. The whole cavity seems pretty damp and wet.> Can I just let it dry out in time or should I rip up the drywall and

My avice it to remove all water damaged material otherwise you run the risk of mold problems that you don't want and cant' risk. You absolutley want to remove it and open up every damaged cavity to the studs. then you get one or more big fans pointed in the direction of the wall cavities for a day or two to get it as dry as possible before reassembly You defintilely want to replace the water heater or at least have somone look at it.
The demolition part requires little skill other than the motivation and desire to perform a nasty task. Wear long sleeves and pants. cover your head and eyes. A dust mask is recommended. You might have to hire some help to put the wall back together but it's not so hard, i assure you, to do a basic repair with new isulation and drywall. there are many resources for those topics.
Lawrence
Lawrence
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Remove and replace all wet insulation and wallboard, bleach and dry the framing, replace insulation and wallboard removed with new. ex snipped-for-privacy@mail2world.com wrote:

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On 2 Aug 2006 14:04:58 -0700, ex snipped-for-privacy@mail2world.com wrote:

I only have experience with one house, but even though Baltimore Maryland is usually rather humid, my house seems to be pretty dry. I've been in your shoes with leaks, and everything always dried up. On two occasions in the basement, I got mold on one part of drywall, or another, and both times the mold stopped growing when the place dried (One was wet for a long time because the cement trough at the bottom of the downspout outside had tipped backwards, and it kept the lowest foot of drywall wet. There I kept applying bleach, thinking it would kill the mold and turn the wall white again. I guess it killed the mold, if it wasn't dead already, but I had to paint to get it white again. In the other location, it was hard to paint and I didn't bother to apply bleach, and it's still black on parts of the drywall below the work bench, but it doesn't grow.
I don't know if the mold would have bothered anyone when it was still growing, but it didsn't bother me.
I've gotten the first floor carpets very wet and they never molded.
And like I say, there was only mold 2 times out of more than 10 times that I've had moderate to big floods. (almost always for different reasons each time.)
Although fiberglass won't be a good insulator as long as it is wet, I don't think mold will grow on it either. I am a gambler, so I guess I would try to spray some full strength** bleach on the parts of drywall that are wet. Maybe I'd remove the fiberglass to do this, if it wasn't hard to do, and let the fiberglass dry separately, before I stuffed it back in. If I did remove it, I'd leave it out for a couple weeks or more to let the sheetrock dry.
**On another occasion, I diluted the bleach according to instructions and used it to kill moss on the shady parts of my fence. It didn't work so I did it again with full strength and that worked. It may have bleached the wood itself, but that's ok.
Personally, I think the more things children are exposed to when they are young, the less things will bother them when they are older. Kids who don't play outside, and who never cut themselves, when they are kids face some of the biggest risks. Of course there are always a few who react very badly even as kids, so people look at the immediate risks, even if they are low, and have a hard time planning for a lifetime of risks, especially when it's not fully clear how much cuts and infections and playing in the dirt and facing mold spores will make them more resistant when older.
I'll admit that if I weren't lethargic, I would have done more in a couple of these cases, but even if I had loads of energy, not in the cases where it was going to be a lot of work. I've never paid any price for not doing more to dry things out. Maybe the atmosphere in that part of your house is different from mine, though in none of these cases did I have the air conditioner on.

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