If you find that your floor and part of the walls in a room are wet because a water heater failed or because a pipe leaked, a flood of water may not be the real problem. It's the damp carpet, damp cement under the padding, and damp drywall that you have to worry about. If you don't dry these out fast, mold can take over and make your home unlivable. But merely aiming a fan at the damage isn't going to work. You need to call a water damage cleanup service because there is far more moisture present than you realize.
Drying Leads to Evaporation, Which Leads to Humidity
Once the water stops flowing, and any excess water is removed, the moisture left in the floor and walls will start to evaporate. That vapor will make the air very humid, which in turn will make it harder for more moisture to evaporate. That leads to stale air that isn't moving and a humid environment that allows mold to grow. To clean up the moisture, you need to get the air moving and dehumidify the air.
A Blower Moves Humid Air and a Dehumidifier Removes Humidity
A service person from the remediation company will peel back the wet carpet and remove all of the padding that got wet. They'll then take readings with a special meter that tells them the amount of moisture in the walls and floor in the area that was affected. They'll set up a blower, which is a huge fan that blows warm air at ground level, and a dehumidifier, which will remove the humidity from the warm air that the fan is pushing around. A hose leading from the dehumidifier to a sink will allow water to drain as the moisture pulled from the air is condensed back into liquid form.
Once the blower and dehumidifier are set up, keep all doors and windows to the room closed. You can open them briefly to retrieve things, of course, but don't leave them open for longer than the few seconds it takes you to get into and out of the room. You'll notice that the water running through the hose from the humidifier to the sink will lessen daily.
It Can Take Time to Get Everything Dry
With large machinery operating constantly in the room where the water damage is, you'd think it wouldn't take long for the moisture to disappear. That's not the case. The service person setting up the equipment will return in a few days to take additional readings to see if the moisture level has fallen to an acceptable number. If it hasn't, you'll have to deal with having the blower and dehumidifier continue to run for another few days. This will repeat until the service person gets acceptable readings. Be patient, and know that this is all for the best. When it's done, the service person will remove the equipment, replace any carpet padding that was removed, and clean the carpet.
If you've had part of your home damaged due to a leaking pipe, water heater, or another source, you can have the water damage repaired. It may take time, but once the process is done, you'll be able to move on.
Reach out to a company like ServiceMaster Restore to learn more about water damage cleanup.