What should you do to dry your wet carpet to minimize damage to your carpet and pad?
First of all, there is some general information about carpets you should know that applies to all the myths .
General Information about Water and Carpets
Residential carpet usually has a pad underneath it. The pad can be anywhere from 1/4 inch to almost an inch thick. The pad provides cushioning and gives your carpet that comfortable, soft feel when you walk on it.
Commercial carpet in offices and stores generally doesn’t have pad underneath it.
Carpet pad absorbs water like a sponge: The problem with pad under a carpet is that it is a sponge and can hold many times it’s own weight in water.
Pad is designed to cushion your feet, so it is spongy by nature and will soak up water like the cleaning sponge in your kitchen sink.
Carpet doesn’t stop or hold much water:
Although your carpet may feel very solid under your feet, it offers very little resistance to water passing through it.
Carpet is actually like a sieve to water. A typical Lavado Alfombra Individual will not hold more than a few ounces of water per square foot of carpet before it is saturated. After these initial few ounces of water have entered the carpet, any further water filters straight through the carpet and into the pad.
Water likes to travel:Water doesn’t stay put, it is always on the move. The rule to remember is “Wet goes to Dry”. Water will automatically move towards a dry building material.
Water at the center of a room will flow through the carpet and across the pad to the walls. It will migrate to the edges of the room in a matter of minutes or hours depending on how much water was spilled.
When you touch the carpet at the edge of the room, it may not even feel damp, but the pad could be saturated. This can be seen using an infrared camera. An infrared (or Thermal Imaging) camera is useful in finding the real area that the water has damaged, even if you can’t see or feel it.
In general I would say that the actual wet area in any flood (found with professional water damage meters) is about twice the size of what the home owner reports.
An infrared camera will show how water travels under the carpet through the pad. Even in a ‘small’ flood, water can migrate through walls and end up 2 rooms away within 12 hours.
Bearing the information above in mind, here are some common myths about wet carpets and how to dry wet carpets
Myth #1. The carpet will dry by itself
This is actually true, just like it is true that you could win the lottery with one ticket.
Yes, the carpet will eventually dry by itself. However, will it smell bad or have mold on it by the time it is dry? What other damage will occur while the carpet dries by itself?
Unless you live in someplace like Arizona or the desert where you have high temperature and low humidity, there is VERY little chance that the carpet and pad will dry before mold starts growing or bacteria start creating that wet carpet, damp smell. Typically you have about 72 hours to dry wet building materials before they start growing mold.