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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Tips To Dry A Water Damaged Carpet

7/30/2020 (Permalink)

photo of air movers pointed underneath a water damaged carpet and a dehumidifer Above is one tactic to dry a wet carpet.

When you experience flooding in your home - whether it is from a toilet overflow or broken pipe - the damages can quickly become overwhelming. Something many homeowners struggle with after water damage is figuring out how to dry their wet carpets, whether or not it can be saved, and preventing carpet mold.

Here, we will outline some tips and tricks for when you're dealing with a water damaged carpet.

Tips To Save A Wet Carpet

- Stop flooding as soon as possible.

The less water that continues to flow into the room, the less cleanup and damage there will be.

- Move items out of the affected area.

It will be much easier to begin the drying process once furniture or other wet materials are moved out of the way.

- Use a wet-dry vacuum to remove as much water as possible from the carpet.

You can usually rent a wet dry vacuum at a place like Lowes or Home Depot, but this equipment is also handy to keep around the house for these exact types of situations. If the carpet is extremely saturated, a household shop vacuum will likely be unable to extract all or a majority of the water from it.

If you find this is the case while taking this step - it may be better to completely remove the carpet, or to call a water damage restoration company to save it using a commercial grade water extractor.

- Pull up a portion of the carpet to check for moisture.

To pull up the carpet, start in a corner and grab the carpet with pliers and pull to detach it from the tack strips that keep it in place along the walls. Then, use your hands to pull it up a bit more.

From here, inspect the padding underneath the carpet (if it has one). Check to see if it is also wet. This padding usually cannot be saved, even if the carpet is.

After inspecting the padding, pull a portion of that up as well to take a look at the sub floor. Has the water reached it? If so, you will have to worry about more than just drying out your damp carpet. A water-damaged sub floor requires professional restoration to prevent it from rotting out or deteriorating over time.

- Inspect for mold while looking for moisture.

Mold can begin to grow on a saturated carpet in as little as 24-48 hours after getting wet. If you did not address the moisture immediately, it's extremely important to check for the growth of mold or mildew. If you find mold, you will likely have to throw the carpet away.

It's also important to check the sub floor for mold as well, especially if moisture has migrated down to it. If you find mold on the sub floor, you will likely need to call a mold remediation company before putting down a new carpet - or else mold will infest the new one as well.

- Begin the drying process.

There are a few options for drying out a wet carpet. If there is no padding underneath it and the sub flooring is concrete, it can be sufficient to set up fans and dehumidifiers on top of the carpet - but this way may be the most likely to put you at risk for the growth of mold.

The most popular way to dry out a carpet is to "float" it. Here, you would pull up a corner of the carpet (remove the padding if there is any), and then position a fan underneath the carpet in the corner that you pulled back. This way, you can be sure that the carpet is fully dried underneath as well as on the surface, and that the floor underneath it is properly dried as well.

After setting up fans, you should also set up dehumidifiers to remove any other lingering moisture in the affected areas. Be sure to empty the tank every so often so that it doesn’t leak and ruin your efforts.

If you find that you're having a hard time getting the carpet dried with your own household equipment, you likely need to call a water damage restoration company to come and dry it out completely and properly for you. Companies like SERVPRO of Greater Hunterdon County have commercial grade equipment that can get the job done much more quickly.

- Clean and sanitize all flood affected areas.

This step is important to prevent the growth of mold or mildew, as well as the development of unwanted musty odors in your home.

Common Questions

How long does it take for carpet to dry?

Well, that depends on a number of different factors, including the type of carpeting, how thick it is, how wet it is, and whether or not there is padding underneath. With household equipment, it will take considerably longer to dry out a carpet - but regardless you shouldn't expect it to only take a few hours to dry. If you call a water restoration company, you can expect your carpet to be completely and properly dried in about three days.

If my carpet smells, should I spray it with an air freshener or other odor removing sprays?

The answer is no, you should not. If your carpet smells after you've dried it out, then that's a big sign mold is likely growing in the carpet fibers or underneath it. Spraying it with odor removing sprays will just let the mold problem get much worse, and eventually your home will smell even more.

Will insurance cover a flooded carpet?

This is hard to answer because it depends on the cause of your water damage. If the damage was caused by something like a broken pipe, a detached washing machine hose, or your HVAC system leaking, it will likely be covered. Times where it may not be covered is if the flooding is directly your fault or is from something like groundwater entering your home.

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