My Carpet Flooded! What Do I Do?

What to Do about Flooded Carpet.

Your carpet flooded?  I’m very sorry to hear of your troubles.  Here’s what you need to know.

The Danger

The main risk when carpet floods is mold.  Mold smells terrible, and can cause adverse health effects including but not limited to: allergic reactions, asthma, and respiratory infections. Some molds can produce toxins.  It is essential that we do not allow mold to grow or exist in our indoor living areas.  While mold exists everywhere in our environment, excessive moisture causes mold to multiply quickly.

Wet carpet can also cause other problems such as delamination.  That’s when the excessive moisture weakens the glue that holds the primary backing to the secondary backing and they separate.  There is no effective fix for this when this happens.

Nevertheless, the primary danger is mold.

How Fast Do I Need to Act?

You need to act right away.  The EPA says to have the carpet (and padding) completely dry within 48 hours of it first getting flooded to protect yourself from runaway mold growth.  Drying that carpet will take time, so if you delay, the likelihood of saving the carpet is diminishing quickly.

What Do I Need to Do?

For ALL carpets

  • Address the cause of the flooding and fix it.
  • If the flooding is caused by sewage or other toxic waste, stop.  Get professional help from someone who does restoration.  They will dispose of the carpet and clean the area so it is safe to reuse.
  • If you smell a strong mildew smell, stop.  Get professional help from someone who does restoration.  They will clean the area so it is safe to reuse.  The carpet may need to be discarded.
  • You may want to get professional help anyway.  Saving a flooded carpet is a lot of work.
  • If you have standing water, use pumps to get the water out. Buy or rent if necessary, and speed is essential here, as standing water will affect not just carpet, but wallboard and everything else it contacts.

If Your Carpet is Glued Down

  • Use a wet-vac to carefully and thoroughly remove as much water as you can.  Slowly moving the nozzle over each area will remove more water than quickly sweeping back and forth.
  • Use fans and blowers to circulate air over the carpet.  If weather permits, open windows to reduce excess humidity and speed the drying process. Use dehumidifiers to further reduce humidity.

If Your Carpet is Loose with No Pad

  • Use a wet-vac to carefully and thoroughly remove as much water as you can.  Slowly moving the nozzle over each area will remove more water than quickly sweeping back and forth.
  • Use fans and blowers to circulate air over and under the carpet.  If weather permits, open windows to reduce excess humidity and speed the drying process. Use dehumidifiers to further reduce humidity.

If Your Carpet is Loose with a Pad Under It

  • Remove the pad and dispose of it. Pads act like a sponge and are very difficult to dry out within 48 hours when they are flooded.  While it may be possible to save the pad, we suggest new pad.  Padding is relatively inexpensive, especially compared with the effort of drying it within 48 hours.  It is safer and healthier to get new pad.
  • Use a wet-vac to carefully and thoroughly remove as much water as you can.  Slowly moving the nozzle over each area will remove more water than quickly sweeping back and forth.
  • Use fans and blowers to circulate air over and under the carpet.  If weather permits, open windows to reduce excess humidity and speed the drying process. Use dehumidifiers to further reduce humidity.

If Your Carpet is Professionally Installed Over Pad

  • Use gloves to protect from cuts.  The tackstrip at the edge of the room has many steel nails sticking up.  You do not want to puncture your hand with these nails when you already have a less than sanitary situation.   If you do puncture yourself with one of these nails, consult your doctor about Tetanus. Are you sure you want to be doing this?  Professional help is a phone call away.
  • Carefully pull up the carpet to avoid damaging it.  Use a pair of pliers to firmly grip the carpet at the corner.  Once you have the carpet started, it should lift away from the tackstrip.
  • You are pulling up the carpet so you can remove and dispose of the padding that is underneath the carpet.  Forget about trying to save the pad.  It can be replaced for relatively low cost compared to your carpet.
  • Once you have the padding removed, lay the carpet back down flat.  You don’t want the carpet bunched up.
  • Use a wet-vac to carefully and thoroughly remove as much water as you can.  Slowly moving the nozzle over each area will remove more water than quickly sweeping back and forth.
  • Use fans and blowers to circulate air over and under the carpet.  If weather permits, open windows to remove excess humidity and speed the drying process.  Use dehumidifiers to further reduce humidity.

Blowers

We recommend commercial centrifuge blowers to dry carpet quickly.  Commercial blowers can be placed to blow air underneath loose carpet, which greatly speeds drying.  They also move much more air than household fans.  You may be able to rent commercial blowers locally.

Monitor the Drying Process

You want to monitor the drying process to be sure your carpet dries quickly. It may be necessary to re-position fans and blowers so the carpet dries evenly.

Once the Carpet is Dry

Once the carpet and floor is dry, you can replace the pads.  If your carpet was installed, you can now re-install the carpet.  We suggest professional carpet installers for this work.  Re-installing previously flooded carpet is a lot of work as the carpet is often stiff and hard to stretch.  Since carpet is a textile, there are some cases where the carpet will have shrunk.  It could be impossible to re-install the carpet if it has shrunk too much.

Be sure to empty and clean the interior of the wet-vac.  Never leave standing water inside a wet-vac.

I sincerely hope your effort to save the carpet was successful.  I’ve helped many clients, and when someone needs to replace a carpet that was flooded, it is no fun for anyone.  My client’s are stressed.  The entire process is stressful.

Usually when people are buying new carpet, they are redecorating and the whole process is joyous and fun.  Let’s hope I see you only during one of these fun and joyous times!

 

 

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