Emergency Carpet Drying Techniques - A Homeowner's Guide
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Emergency Carpet Drying Techniques - A Homeowner's Guide

An emergency carpet drying technique for the homeowner.

A plumbing leak can flood a room and soak the carpet before anyone realizes there is a problem. Often the first clue there is a problem is when an unexpecting homeowner steps out of bed onto a squishy carpet. These leaks can become expensive when they happen late at night. Much of the cost comes from water-damaged furniture and drywall. Mold and mildew issues also become a problem when the water sits in the carpet or its padding for extended periods of time. Stopping the water leak is the first priority, followed closely by drying the carpet before the damage occurs.

1) Identify and stop the water leak. If you are not a plumber or cannot repair the leak imediately, turn off the home's water-supply valve or well pump. Turn a well pump off at its circuit breaker. A home usually has two water-supply valves, one at the water meter and another where the water-supply pipe enters the home.

2) Move all furnature off the wet carpet, including dressers and beds.

3) Remove as much water as possible from the carpet's surface as possible with a wet/dry vacuum. Start at the water leak and work toward the dry areas. Push the vacuum's nossle into the carpet's fibers. If the water leak occured in an area without carpet, dry that area first then move to the carpet. If you do not have access to a wet/dry vacuum, place several dry towels on the wet areas. Step on the towels, soaking up the water. Ring out the water and reapply the towels.

4) Lift the wet carpet off the tack strips along the wall. Roll the back until the bottom of all the wet carpet is exposed. Dry the back of the carpet and soak up the water sitting on the padding with the wet/dry vacuum or towels.

5) Roll the carpet padding onto the damp carpet. Use care when pulling the padding off the floor to avoid ripping it. The padding usually has glue holding it to the subfloor. Use a floor scrapper, a spatula will work in a pinch, to peel the padding from the glue. Dry the subfloor and the back of the padding. If the carpet has old padding that will not pull up without destroying it, tamp the padding to bring the moisture to the surface then suck up the water.

6) Place a fan in a corner of the room and point it toward the wet area. Rental fans designed for carpet drying work best, but a box fan will work in an emergency. Set the fan to its highest setting. Blow air across the subfloor and the back of the padding. Once the subfloor starts to dry, unroll the padding and lay it on top of the fan. Dry the top of the padding with the wet/dry vacuum, then dry the bottom of the carpet.

7) Lay the padding on the subfloor and set the fan on the padding's surface. Lay the wet carpet on top of the fan. Blow air between the bottom of the carpet and the top of the padding.

8) After 2 hours, set the fan below the padding. Continue to rotate th efan between the underside of the padding and carpet.

After drying the carpet, reinstall the padding with padding glue and attach the carpet to the tack strips. The carpet will need to be stretched once it has completely dried.

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