Article by David Selter
It’s possible many times to dry wet carpet in place while saving the padding with today’s drying technology. The key is advanced weighted water extraction devices and using dehumidification and air moving fans properly. And the proof of the validity of this approach is that water restoration companies have successfully used this technique, even in high humidity areas of the Texas like San Antonio.
Wet carpet drying using this technique saves the expense of replacing the carpet padding and re-laying and restretching the carpet. Properly using dehumidifiers and air movers also eliminates needing to remove baseboards to effectively dry the walls and wall cavities, which saves additional money by removing the need to reinstall and paint the baseboards.
Before advanced technologies of the new extraction machines, water was removed from carpet using a typical carpet cleaning wand. But no matter how powerful the vacuum was, there wasn’t sufficient pressure to pull the water out of the carpet and pad. The next advance in technology was simple weighted tools that did force more water out of the pad and through the carpet, but when pulled to the surface some of it was vacuumed up with the rest running off and back into the carpet next to the vacuum head.
The new weighted water extraction devices are also designed to literally pull the water out of the pad and wet carpet and force it to the surface, but then it’s trapped and immediately pulled directly to the vacuum intake. Clear sections of vacuum tubes allow the operator to see when the water flow from the area the machine has stopped, showing that all excess water has been removed. Only then does the operator move the machine. The machines are usually slowly self-propelled across wet carpet dictated by the time it takes to remove excess water.
In places like closets and stairs, smaller, manually operated machines are used. The new equipment extracts so much water from the wet carpet and pad that the remainder can be evaporated by using appropriate drying equipment.
While new extraction devices are vital to in-place carpet drying, using the right dehumidifiers and air movers are still critical. The use of dehumidifiers with low grain refrigerant (LGR) technology, as well as high-volume air movers, is very important for thoroughly drying carpet, padding, and structure, including walls and wall cavities. LGR dehumidifiers remove a lot more moisture from the air than older models. The drier air produced speeds up evaporation of the moisture in the carpet, padding, and structure. High-volume air movers also increase the evaporation rate compared to older lower-volume models. The combination of the two makes it possible to dry the structure without more costly invasive actions like removing and replacing baseboards, drywall, and insulation. When used with the new weighted vacuum devices, they also make it possible to perform Houston carpet drying in place without removing and replacing the pad. The advances in drying procedures are saving property owners and their insurance companies much of the headache and cost of drying water damaged structures.