If you have recently experienced water damage at your home or business and your carpet is wet, quickly cleaning and drying the carpet is essential if you want to have any hope of preserving the carpet. In most cases, carpet cannot be salvaged if it has experienced any kind of significant flooding unless you act quickly–and if it is flooded by anything other than a burst water pipe, it can never be salvaged.
There are several methods used to improve drying time, but at the end of the day, carpet drying is all a matter of physics. Water can only evaporate if humidity levels are low, so it is vital that you create an environment in which water can quickly and efficiently be evaporated from the carpet and removed from the structure.
Ceiling Fans – ceiling fans help to circulate the air. Moving air will help with faster drying times. Box or Stand Fans – like ceiling fans, these will help move air around, decreasing drying times. Open Doors & Windows – opening doors and windows will help to reduce the humidity in your structure and circulate the air, improving drying times. Dehumidifiers – dehumidifiers will remove humidity from the air, allowing your carpet to dry more quickly. If humidity levels are high, water will not be able to evaporate into the air.
Space Heaters – space heaters can warm and dry out the air, speeding up drying times. Be careful not to place space heaters in areas that are saturated with moisture, however. Of course, none of these methods will be nearly as effective as the equipment used by professional water extraction and water damage restoration companies. If you have major water damage, do not attempt to extract it yourself. You will not have the equipment necessary to thoroughly extract and dry the carpet before serious damage has occurred.
If you have a small area rug or carpet that is wet, the best thing to do it is remove it from the floor and hang or lay it outside until it dries completely. However, if you are dealing with wet wall-to-wall carpet, or a carpet piece that is too large to remove, you may need to try to dry it where it is.
Dealing with wet carpet, especially padding, is a situation that needs immediate response for health reasons. Once mold is present in the carpet and padding, the best advice is to discard these items. Mold can and will pose various respiratory illnesses. While one may feel frustrated at the cost of removing the floor coverings (especially the padding), in the long run you will be much better off. The most important action taken in a flooding is to locate the source and act quickly to remove the water.