The most stressful part of experiencing water damage in your home is dealing with a wet carpet. But, it is imperative to remove water from soaked carpet and padding as quickly as possible to prevent the growth of mould and other types of dangerous microbes. Once mould starts growing on your flooded carpet, there is nothing you can do to salvage it, except getting rid of it.
Here are some steps you need to take to effectively dry off your carpet after a flooding event:
It is understood that the combination of water and electricity is quite dangerous. Hence, it is always advised that you turn off all your electrical outlets before inspecting the water damage. You need to safely check the water levels beforehand to ensure that you do not get electrocuted during the cleanup. If the water level is high and covering an electrical outlet, you need to contact a professional for clean up services.
No matter the depth of the floodwater, you should always be careful and take the necessary precautions to prevent an electrical accident. Make sure that you wear rubber boots and wade carefully through the water to confirm that there is no possibility for electrocution.
This can be obvious, but it does not mean always. The cause of your flooded house could be a fast snow meltdown or six inches of rain. Hence, you need to find the source of the flood damage and make sure that there is no more potential for additional spoilage. If you feel that the problem is not obvious, you need to look out for leaks and broken pipes.
If you notice a leaky source like your bathroom shower or kitchen sink, you first need to fix the problem as fast as you can. Make sure that the water is still not coming in. Start your flooded carpet cleaning process once you fix the leakage. In case of heavy rains, start the cleaning and restoration process only after the weather condition calms down.
You cannot start drying your wet carpet unless you have removed all your personal furniture and items. As soon as the leaky pipe is fixed or the weather condition improves and you ensure that there is no risk of electrocution, you can start clearing out the furniture and other upholstery in the room, even when floodwater is still flowing in.
While removing the furniture, you need to be very careful and always keep wiping off excess water. Mostly, furniture made up of composite materials like particleboard will most likely soak up water and cannot be salvaged. On the other hand, materials made up of metal, plastic and hardwood are easily salvageable. Move them all in another room and let them dry off.
Once the flooding has stopped, you can start the process of removing the excess water. You can use a pump for clearing out larger amounts of water when the flood is deeper than an inch. A pump can be easily rented out by equipment rental companies.
Once the majority of the water has been removed, you can make use of a dry/wet vacuum to clear the remaining standing water. Systematic work is required to make sure that you remove as much water possible and vacuum as much as possible. Make sure that you go over your carpeting more than once. The goal of this process is to remove as much water as possible and leave the carpet just a bit more than damp.
You can make use of additional fans to circulate the air in the room and promote faster drying. While you can make use of the household fan in your room, they might not prove to be as effective as commercial air movers. The air in your room needs to be dried out as soon as possible to prevent the growth of mould.
If you live in colder places, cranking up the heat might not be the most efficient idea. In these cases, you can use a dehumidifier to pull out excess moisture from the air. Less moisture in the air means that your carpet will dry out quickly.
Most carpets today are fitted with carpet padding. While this underlay is made of a pressed foam material called rebond, there are older carpets that may have other types of padding like fibre or woollen. Once these materials get wet, they start falling apart and there are no chances of redemption.
If the padding cannot be salvaged, you will have to throw it away. If it is redeemable, you can dry it similarly to your carpeting. All you need to do is peel the backside of your carpeting and dry the padding under the fans. This will also help the flooded carpet to dry faster since it will not be wicking water from the padding for the time being.
Once you dry out your carpeting, you need to take a few preventive measures to limit future problems. Floodwater contains a lot of contaminations that can cause disease, damage, and odours. Once you dry your wet carpet, you can make use of steam and shampoo for additional fortification.
You can also make use of a bleach-and-water solution to clean the surrounding hard spaces like your concrete flooring, especially underneath the carpeting; however, bleaching is not so effective at killing off mould on drywall or carpeting. Additionally, extreme usage of bleach can also cause stains.
Drying wet carpet can be a tough task. While you might find a lot of consumer-grade equipment, effective drying of your carpet will take a lot of time and energy. However, it is important to get done with this task as soon as possible.
There is no doubt that your house will face a flooding problem once again in the future. You need to think of preventing measures that can help you avoid all this work again. You need to think of something that would prevent outside water from entering your premises. You could extend your downspouts and build a swale so that the rainwater gets deposited a few feet away from your house.
In case of flooding due to leakage, you need to make periodical checks on all the pipelines in your home. You need to fix any pipeline that you think might possibly leak in the future. Replace the damaged pipes and repair any plaster or drywall damaged in the leak. Small preventive measures like these will prove to be quite beneficial.
The longer you wait to dry clean your carpet, the less likely you will be able to salvage it. If this happens, a replacement will be your only option left, which is a lot expensive than cleaning your existing carpet. Also, floodwaters are very unsanitary and mould will start growing in less than 24 hours. Once the mould starts growing, it will continue to thrive as long as the area remains damp. Even after drying, the mould might still remain and will most likely return if you face another water problem.