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How to Dry a Wet Carpet
By Sarah Anderson
The solution to wet carpets may seem simple – dry them. In the case of wet area rugs and small carpets, the drying process is easy since all you really need to do is take the rug or carpet and bring it to a dry area where it can be aired out. When it comes to drying wall to wall carpeting, however, the task becomes more difficult because of the size of the carpet and the fact that carpets are highly absorbent so it gets very heavy when drenched with water.
Most carpets have a soft pad or cushion underneath and while this padding creates a soft and comfortable surface to walk on, it also acts like a sponge when it becomes wet. When it comes to drying wet carpets properly, removing both the carpet and padding is done to expose the subfloor, which is the most crucial to treat.
It is very important to note that wet carpet pads need to be discarded and replaced. Carpet pads absorb and trap water so effectively that not all of the water can be extracted even when a commercial grade water extraction machine is used. Since it cannot be dried completely, the padding has to be replaced or it would be very unsanitary otherwise, becoming a breeding ground for molds and causing wooden floors to rot.
To treat the subfloor, the following steps are taken: First, all standing water is extracted. After this, fans will be used to air dry the subfloor and dehumidifiers will be used if there is still any moisture left. To help prevent mold growth, antimicrobial sprays will be applied on the floor. Once these steps are done, a new carpet pad will be installed.
Types of Water Damage
When drying wet carpets, one very important factor is the type of water that has affected the carpet. It will determine how the cleaning specialists will proceed with their job. There are three types of water based on its source: Category 1 is clean water that comes from a broken water supply pipe, for example; Category 2 is gray water that contains biological or chemical contaminants such as water coming from kitchen sinks; and Category 3 is black water which is heavily toxic and is basically domestic or industrial water waste.
Unfortunately, there is no saving the carpet if it is affected by Category 2 or Category 3 water since these types of water contain contaminants and pose serious health risks. Likewise, the carpet must also be thrown out and replaced if mold has begun to grow on it. On the other hand, if the carpeted floor was flooded with Category 1 water or there is no mold development, it can be cleaned and reinstalled after being completely dried.
Hire an Expert
Obviously, drying wet carpets as described above requires a lot of work and is something most homeowners would rather hire someone else to do. Fortunately, there are many water extraction and water damage restoration specialists who would not only be glad to do the job for you but, more importantly, has the training and equipment to do it properly.
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