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It’s easy to feel at a loss, overwhelmed, and frazzled when the unexpected occurs and your home or business is hit with an unexpected water damage emergency. Knowing what to do and in what order is extremely important. It can save you time, energy, and headaches.

When we receive calls for emergency water damage restoration in San Jose one of the most common questions we get asked is how to fix water damaged carpet. Home and business owners alike want to know if anything can be done, or if it’s a lost cause?

Don’t fret. In this post we will outline some of the options you have when dealing with water damaged carpet in your home.

First & Foremest: Take an Assessment of the Situation

Before you break out all of the towels in your linen closet and get to the business of drying your carpeting you must first assess the situation. Do you know where the water is coming from? If the source of the water has been identified, has it been remedied to the point that flooding will not continue in the immediate future? Is the water on the carpet fresh, clean water? If not, are hazardous chemicals or dangerous waste present?

In order for any carpet to be salvaged the water must be from a fresh water line. What does that mean exactly? Your home has a fresh water supply commonly referred to as a mainline. The mainline is responsible for the flow of fresh water from the city or county’s water supply to your home. Your home also has a sewer line. The sewer line is reponsible for transporting used, nonpotable water from your homes sinks, drains, and toilets, out of your home and into the city or county’s sewage system.

If a sewer line ruptures, cracks, or leaks into your home this is an emergency and requeires specialized equipment and a team of trained experts to remedy. How will you know if it’s the sewer line that is responsible for the leak? Foul odors!

Once you have made the determination of the source of the flood water and know exactly what you’re dealing with, you can start to follow the steps below to begin the carpet drying process.

We still highly recommend calling a professional water damage restoration company to restore the wet carpet and ensure the affected areas are dry.

Drying Wet Carpet is The #1 Priority

Water damaged carpet does one thing very well, it grows mold. Mold is dangerous, infectious, and can cost $1,000’s of dollars to remove from a home. In order to give your carpet any chance at being salvaged, you must have it dried completely within 36-48 hours!

For traveling homeowners or homeowners with negligent renters this may not always be possible. When water damage has persisted a 48 hour window we highly recommend calling in a professional. The only thing worse than wet carpeting is wet carpeting that leads to toxic mold growth. Use your best judgement and know when to call in the pros!

What’s The Best Method For Drying Wet Carpet?

On the off chance that you have access to a wet-vac, you’re in better shape than most! If you do not, they can be purchased from big box stores like Wal-Mart or Target for around $65-$85. Although this method is inexpensive, it is very time consuming and requires a tremendous commitment to being thorough.

Pro tip: Use long, slow strokes with multiple passes over all affected areas. If you use a wet-vac in the same way you would use a regular vacuum, you’ll not remove the water effectively. Instead, you’ll push water around from affected to non-affected areas, increasing the surface area of damaged carpeting.

Next up, air blowers, dehumidifiers, and fans should be used to aid in the drying process. Circulating air around the environment is hugely important in helping water damaged surfaces to dry. To aid in this process further, doors and windows can be opened up, assuming it is not extremely humid or rainy outside.

Final note: These instructions will work very will for carpeting that is not laid over a carpet pad. If your home or business’s carpet is in fact equipped with carpet padding, follow the next step below.

What To Do When You Have Carpet Padding Underneath Your Carpets

At this point you’re likely wondering, “Can I dry and reuse the padding that is currently underneath my carpets?” Unfortunately the answer is no. If you had to equate carpet padding to any other item you are familiar with, you’d have to equate it to a sponge. In fact, that’s really what it is. Your homes carpet padding is a soft, spongy, super absorbant material that serves the function of providing cushion to your homes flooring. Similar to a sponge it will not dry out completely for an extended period of time. This means that the dampness and underlying moisture will lead to mold and mildew growth in your home.

Remember, mold growth can extremely dangerous, cost you $1000’s to remediate, and an unnecessary issue to have to deal with if professionals are called in early to fix your water damaged carpets.

Let’s take things a step further and assume you insist on fixing your water damaged carpeting yourself even in though carpet padding is present.

The next think you will need to do is pull up your carpet to expose the padding. From there, remove the entire section of padding that was affected by flooding. Gloves are a good call here. Carpets are dirty, pads are filthy. Once the padding has been successfully removed, toss it out. Then repeat the above steps including removing water with a wet-vac, and utilizing blowers, fans, and dehumidifiers to completely dry your carpets.

Finally, Use Your Best Judgement When Dealing With Water Damaged Carpeting

For about 80% of all water damage cases that require a homeowner to search online for a solution, a professional water damage restoration company is needed to perform the correct drying procedure if there is to be any real hope of saving carpeting. In virtually all cases, a professional company is needed to perform at the very least, an on-site evaluation to determine whether professional dehumidification and drying is needed to ensure no mold or mildew growth occurs. In conclusion, it simply isn’t enough to just dry carpets once they get wet. The team here at H&L Restoration in San Jose is at the ready to help dry your carpets, prevent mold growth, and save you thousands!