In this edition of Ask the Home Flooring Pros we tackle the daunting question of how to dry wet carpet after a water damage event, whether it be a burst pipe or external flooding. Although the sight of saturated wet carpet can be overwhelming there are steps you can take to rescue the situation.
When you come home and find wet carpets, the most important thing to do is to react quickly to fix the problem. Getting the water out of your carpets as fast as possible can help prevent further damage to furniture, subflooring and walls, as well as prevent the growth of dangerous mold. Prompt water extraction and removal is key to the health of your home and family.
Here are the steps you need to take:
1. Locate the source of the water leak (if that is the cause of your wet carpet) and turn it off if possible. If, for some reason, you can’t, get a professional to help as soon as possible. Emergency call out costs are high but will save you money in the long term.
2. Remove any furniture or household items from the wet areas. Getting furniture out of the way makes it easier to deal with wet carpeting, and it also prevents further damage to both the furniture and to the carpeting.
3. If the wet area is small, you can start by using towels to absorb the water. Put it over the area and walk over the towel. Wring out or replace the towel as necessary.
4. If it’s a larger wet area, such as in a basement, a wet vacuum can begin to get some of the water out. Use large commercial fans and dehumidifiers to help with water extraction. The drying process can take between 24 – 48 hours if the carpet padding has gotten wet but not soaked. Commercial sized fans and water extraction vacuums can be rented to help remove most of the water.
5. Diatomaceous earth, which is also referred to as cat sand, can be applied generously to carpeting in order to aid water extraction. This substance, which is natural, is non-toxic to humans and pets and will absorb much of the water. Once you lay a liberal amount of it down, you can use a rake or a large broom move it around until the area is no longer wet. Diatomaceous earth can be swept up, dried, and used again as long as there is no other debris in it.
6. To help inhibit mold growth, you can sprinkle the laundry additive borax over the carpet. This substance is also natural and tends to be gentle on most carpets.
7. Here’s the test to see if your carpet is dry. If you hear a sloshing sound or feel wetness or squishiness under your feet, there is still water present beneath the carpet in the padding or even in the subfloor. Both of these can cause damage and mold when left untreated. If in a small area, you can lift the corner of the carpet and use fans to dry the padding and sub flooring. If the soaking is extensive, then the carpeting and padding must be removed to either dry or to be completely replaced.
8. In many cases, the best course of action is to call in a professional to help deal with wet carpets instead of doing it yourself. Many homeowners’ insurance policies will cover such a service depending on how your carpet got wet in the first place. A homeowner’s policy may cover the price of the service and the cost of replacing the carpet, padding or baseboards if necessary.
A company specializing in water removal will know just how to dry a wet carpet, as well as floors, walls and other areas, safely and prevent any future mold growth. Before making a choice of who to go with, be sure to check to see if their service is guaranteed to dry the carpet, padding and floors. It’s a good sign if they are bonded, affiliated with any professional organizations in their industry, have testimonials on their website, or will offer references.
Remember, wet carpets left untreated will lead to mold growth! For the safety of your home and family, dry wet carpet as soon as possible.
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Today’s advice comes from water and flood damage pro Michael at www.serviceproslocal.com