Carpet Cleaning and Mold Growth

Carpet cleaning and mold growth: it's a fine line!

Wet carpeting is an ideal mold breeding ground if it is not immediately dried. Carpet dries quickly if there is a low relative humidity air around it—and vice versa. If the air around it has high relative humidity, it does not dry. Within 24-48 hours mold spores become active.

According to the EPA, "The key to mold control is moisture control." Any wet-process carpet cleaning will always leave enough moisture in the carpet to grow mold. An effective drying process is necessary.

Effective drying can be accomplished in various ways:

"Natural" drying: if the outside air is warm and dry, open the windows. Moisture equalizes quite readily.

Adding heat: If the outside air is cold (below 50F), ventilating and heating the air quickly dries the carpet.

Proper Use of A/C: If it's hot, the A/C unit cools the air and removes some water. When the A/C shuts off (because the temperature is satisfied), an increase in heat must trigger the A/C to operate again. If the A/C unit is constantly providing low RH to the space, the carpet will dry. CAUTION - Improper use of the A/C can create ideal conditions for mold growth!

Dehumidifiers: Dehumidifiers are a sure-fire way to provide the dry air necessary to guarantee carpet drying.

In each case, fans will speed up the drying process.

*Simply lowering the thermostat to make the A/C operate can actually create condensation and increase moisture. For example, if the dew point of the outdoor air is 70°F, cooling surfaces below 70°F will cause condensation. To avoid this problem of "over cooling", an A/C unit requires 'reheat."

Therma-Stor manufactures a complete line of dehumidifiers including ducted and portable units. The portable units most commonly used for carpet drying or water damage emergencies are as follows:

The Phoenix 200 MAX is the powerful, rugged portable unit ideal for drying after carpet cleaning and/or other water damage. It's the most powerful unit (28+ gallons/day) that plugs into a standard 115-volt outlet (7.2 amps) and still allows air movers on the same circuit. It has built-in shock absorbers and offers high efficiency air filtration.

The Santa Fe Rx is a powerful, self-contained, portable unit designed specifically to be quiet. Wheel it in, run the hose to a drain (from the built-in condensate pump), and set the dehumidistat. The Santa Fe Rx is Energy Star rated as the most efficient unit in the industry -- using only 6.3 amps to remove over 10 gallons of water per day! It typically handles 2500 square feet and has the option of HEPA and/or charcoal/permanganate air filtration. The Santa Fe Rx is not a rugged unit like the Phoenix 200 MAX. It is quiet and can operate in an occupied space.