Water damage on carpets can occur very easily, but the job of fixing it can be extremely difficult.
If water or moisture is left in the carpet for too long,mold can start growing in the carpet in 24-36 hours completely ruining your carpet!
Permanent carpet and underlay damage, floorboard rotting, joist rotting and ceiling/plaster destruction can happen very quickly.
If there is wiring underneath the flooded area this can cause other serious issues.
But do not despair, water damage on carpets can be mitigated and resolved with a few methods, which we will discuss below.
Can a Dehumidifier Pull Water From Carpet?
Dehumidifiers are primarily for removing moisture from the air, they can also be used however to remove water from soft furnishings and carpets, if implemented correctly.
The effectiveness generally depends on the amount of water present in the carpet.
Spilled a drink or knocked over a vase of water? A dehumidifier could be a perfect tool to use, after the majority of the water from carpet is mopped up using towels or tissue.
Another situation might be that you have just cleaned your carpets, and some of the water is still there.
In this case a dehumidifier would be perfect, as the water will be spread over the entire floor, making localised mopping difficult
Flooded and Water Damaged Carpets
There are limitations to a dehumidifier, however, one of these is if you have experienced a serious flood. This may be because a tap was left running, or a pipe burst.
Either way if the carpet is seriously water-logged, you will need to implement a much faster acting and vigorous method of cleanup first before using a Dehumidifier to avoid further damage!
A Dehumidifier is meant as a Final Step of Completely Drying your Carpet and should not be used as the Only tool!
Furthermore, if the water has been sitting for a while, your carpet may be beyond repair, and mould and bacteria could have begun to grow.
In this case a dehumidifier will only remove the moisture, leaving the potentially dangerous elements behind!
Also, if the water has entered via a sewer or from flooding, then it may be time to remove the carpets anyway – dirt and germs from these sources is not something you want to be living around, and a dehumidifier will be unable to help with that.
How to Use a Dehumidifier to Remove Water & Moisture from Carpet
So if you’ve had a spill or leak on your carpet of fairly clean water, and are able to get a dehumidifier into the room quickly, here’s how to remove the water!
1.Fix the Leak!
The first thing to make sure of, is that no more water is going to enter the area. You don’t want to waste time cleaning and drying a carpet if you’re unsure on whether the leak will develop again.
Common leak sources are faulty heating pipes, leaking baths or sinks, and ingress of water through doors or windows.
Water always flows down, but can sometimes be soaked upwards if the carpet is absorbent enough. So take some time to isolate and contain the leak.
2.Prep the Area
Once the leak is stopped, you need to ready the immediate area for effective removal of damp.
The first thing to remember is that dehumidifiers work by taking in moist air, and expelling dry air.
This means the unit needs good ventilation around it, and to be as central to the mass of damp as possible. I.e. don’t place the unit in the hallway if the bedroom carpet is damp!
3.Assess the Size of Dehumidifier Needed
In simple terms (this is covered more deeply later on) you need to select the biggest dehumidifier you can get. This will mean the moisture is taken out as fast as possible, reducing further damage.
Get advice from your local DIY or rental store based on your room dimensions. To calculate the room dimensions simply measure across the room both ways, and times the numbers together. For example a room 20 feet by 30 feet will be 600sq feet.
4.Seal it up
The moist room should be contained as much as possible.
If the room is particularly draughty, if for instance in a garage or outbuilding, seal off the gaps around doors and windows to stop the entry of moisture from outside when the dehumidifier is working, thus reducing the amount of moisture it will remove from the carpet.
5.Warm up the room.
Water evaporates into the air easier in warm conditions. If possible, turn on a heater or use the central heating to increase the temperature.
Be careful using electric heaters in damp conditions; follow any safety advice on your unit.
6.Remove Excess Water and Debris
To make the job easier, any puddles or pools of water from the carpet should be soaked up by towels, or alternatively a wet vacuum. These can be rented fairly cheaply but most shop-vacs have this option.
This will remove water much faster than the dehumidifier and allow for the Dehumidifier to completely dry the carpet much faster.
If there are any solids, eg mud, silt or paper on the carpet floor, remove this immediately. This will be both retaining moisture and preventing moisture from evapourating from the carpet.
7.Run the Dehumidifier
Set unit to run constantly on its highest setting initially. Assess the water container regularly to see how much water is being removed from the carpet and room.
Make sure to empty the reservoir as regularly as you can and to never let it get completely full. If this happens the machine will shut off and stop drawing moisture from the air.
Ensure the room is kept sealed, warm (if possible) and the machine has good ventilation around it. This will maximise the amount of water removed.
Once you feel the carpet is dry, you can begin to lower the power on the dehumidifier. Some units have a ‘humidistat’.
This device will draw moisture from the air until a certain humidity is met, check online for a reasonable humidity level in your area.
Before returning the dehumidifier, check for any stains, water marks and other dirt on the carpet.
If you need to scrub this, use your normal carpet cleaner to clean these. You can then run the dehumidifier again to dry the residual moisture.
It is also advisable to check under the carpets for underlay and floorboard damage, especially after the carpets are dry.
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How Long does it Take to Dry Carpet with a Dehumidifier?
Renting a dehumidifier? Then you’ll need to know roughly how long its going to be needed, we’ll discuss this below, there are a few factors you’ll need to consider.
Amount of Water Spilled
Naturally, a larger amount of water will take longer to dry. If you have any way of estimating this, you’ll have slightly more information to give an estimate of the time taken.
Feel the carpet, is it slightly damp, or does water pool around your hand when you apply pressure. (if its the second one, it’s probably too wet for a dehumidifier!).
A rough estimate is that a slightly damp carpet will take 1-2 days with an industrial sized dehumidifier.
This will go up or down depending how powerful your unit is.
Area of Carpet Damp
If the room is very large, it may take longer to remove the same amount of water, due to the speed of air circulation.
This can be improved in an extremely large room by introducing a box or pedestal fan, to make sure the air around the dehumidifier is as moist as possible, increasing effectiveness.
Air-Tightness of Room
As mentioned above, if the room has draughts around doors, windows and floor joints, the dehumidifier will be trying to remove humidity from the surrounding areas as well as your carpet.
Just like having the AC on in a car with the windows open!
How to Choose a Dehumidifier for a Wet Carpet
Dehumidifiers have a rating, the amount of water they remove per hour.
Cheaper, domestic appliances may be in the region of 5 litres per day (approx 1 gallon). This is contrasted by industrial units at up to 30 litres per day.
For large rooms above 400sq ft, it would be recommended to opt for a dehumidifier of at least 10litres per day. This can be adjusted depending on room size.
Capacity of Storage Tank
The water removed from the air and carpet gets stored in a tank. This will need to be emptied as once full, the unit will stop working.
This means you should select an appropriate dehumidifier based on how often you will be able to tend to the unit while drying your carpet.
If you’re around all the time, it won’t matter having a 10L tank, if you need to set and forget for a few days, it’s best to get a machine with a much bigger tank, or better yet a piped drain option.
This uses a pipe you can route to the outside or a large container, be careful though as this will overflow if not watched, ruining your hard work!
Desiccant or Compressor
There are two main types of dehumidifier, Desiccant and Compressor. Compressor types operate actively, in a very similar way to an air conditioning unit.
They tend to use less energy than desiccant types, but they generally remove more water per hour.
Another variable to consider is temperature, compressor units require a certain amount of heating before they work, and will struggle to maintain effective working in cold conditions (sub 3°C).
If Noise is an issue, a desiccant type would be best suited, as compressor dehumidifiers usually contain a small fan that will run continuously, but most manufacturers should state the operating noise.
Fan vs Dehumidifier
In some cases it may be possible to dry a carpet just as well without using a dehumidifier, we’ll discuss this below.
Water evaporates faster with heat, so if you live in a warmer climate, you may find the carpets will dry on their own.
This will be made faster by a fan, as the moist air can be moved from the room continuously.
If however you’re in a cooler part of the country, very little moisture is likely to leave the surface of the carpet. In this instance a fan will do little to aid in the drying process.
If your climate is warm enough to encourage passive drying, you will need to ventilate the area well.
This is to ensure the moist air leaves the room and replaces it with dry air.
This can be done with a fan, and an open window. This is not always the most convenient option, though and a dehumidifier might be a better choice for your carpet.
Is it Safe to Put a Dehumidifier on a Wet Carpet?
Care should always be taken with water and electronics, fortunately the manufacturers of most dehumidifiers will be well aware of their usage, and that most people will be using them in damp conditions
For this reason the units are often ‘double insulated’ meaning they have a ground pin on the plug, and the electronics are isolated from the case of the machine.
This makes it virtually impossible for an electric shock to occur if used correctly on the carpets and the dehumidifier itself is not submerged in pool of water.
However, always read and follow your instruction manual carefully, and if in any doubt, ask your retailer or hire center.
How Much Do Industrial Water Damage Dehumidifiers for Carpets Cost?
The cost of hiring a dehumidifier for carpets will depend on the type, size and capacity of the unit. It will also depend on the amount of water, and time of rental needed.
Often there are extra costs involved with renting equipment as it will be uncertain how long the unit will be required for.
It may often be more expensive to rent and operate a unit and not have complete job completion, rather than getting in a professional that knows exactly what amount of work is required.
Extra costs of hiring a dehumidifier to remove water from carpet include the electrical charge for running the unit, and the possible inconvenience of having the unit operating for a long time.
The dehumidifiers are not loud but not silent, they may cause a nuisance in an apartment or shared accommodation.
It’s always best to get a local quote, but a rough guide is between $50-60 per day to rent a Dehumidifier suitable for wet carpets.
When to Call in a Professional?
It may be hard to decide when the job is too much, but with the high risks involved in mistakes when rectifying flooding on carpets, it may be best to get professional advice early on.
A consultation with a professional may well save time and overall money when an amaterur or DIY de-humidifier does not work and you let the moisture sit in your carpet for too long!
Other factors include transport, liability and time.Industrial dehumidifiers are heavy and cumbersome, professionals come equipped with enough staff and lifting gaids to get them into your home.
It is also best to check with your home insurance provider, as even if you fix the issue successfully, you may not be able to make a claim for your expenses if a professional has not offered their opinion.
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