Whether your toilet overflowed, water heater sprung a leak, rain poured in through a hole in your roof, or some other flooding calamity occurred, wet carpet must be dealt with ASAP. Allowing wet carpet to remain soaked leads to numerous problems including: organic decay, fiber deterioration, delaminating, heavy soiling, mold, and a nasty smell that may never go away. If you have a soggy, smelly, stained carpet, you’ve got a big problem on your hands.
One of the problems with wet carpets that have been allowed to sit for awhile is that organic decay takes place. This is the breakdown of all the accumulated dirt and debris. As organic material decays it produces off-gases which you’ll immediate recognize due to the strong smell. This problem becomes worse when the water that flooded the carpet in the first place was contaminated such as sewer water.
As the carpet remains water logged, damage to the structure of its fibers is inevitable. Not only do the fibers deteriorate, the entire carpet can loosen, shrink, or become misshaped. If the pad beneath the carpet also got soaked, it will take longer to dry out further aggravating the problem.
Carpets that are glued to the floor run the risk of delaminating after the carpet’s been soaked. The longer the carpet remains soaked, the greater the risk of the glue breaking down. Soon, the glue holding the backing will fail and fall apart. What does this mean to you? The carpet is no longer firmly attached to the floor.
Another issue occurs with wet carpets – heavy soiling. Even if the water that soaked the carpet was clean water, if the carpet is not cleaned and dried properly, heavy soiling rears its ugly head. Not only is staining unsightly, a heavily soiled carpet is a nasty smelling-carpet. This is because organic decay takes place. All the dirt and debris that is held deep inside the carpet and its pad between cleanings works its way to surface causing stains. It also breaks down causing the nasty smell of decay.
Mold growth is a serious concern whenever flooding occurs. Mold spores are everywhere, indoors and out, just waiting for the perfect environment to grow. Your wet carpet provides them with just such an environment. In fact, it doesn’t take long before mold takes over; allowing your wet carpet to remain soaked for over 48 hours virtually ensures mold colonies.
Water restoration professionals classify water as: clear/clean water, brown water, and black water.
• Clear/clean water is your typical tap water. A clear/clean water issue might involve water from the refrigerator’s ice maker water line.
• Brown water is water that has come in contact with contaminates such as dirt or chemicals. For example, water leaking from a rusty water heater filled with sediment would be considered brown water. Brown water may appear clear but it is contaminated and could harbor nasty germs.
• Black water is contaminated water such as sewage. An overflowed toilet with human waste in it is considered black water.
When to Dry Out Carpet Yourself and When to Call the Pros
Clearly, drying out the wet carpet quickly should be a top priority. Should you do it yourself? Or should you call the pros? This depends on how extensive the flooding was and what type of water (clear/clean, brown, or black) flowed in.
Minor clean/clear water problems can usually be handled on your own. Simply soak up the water with a mop or absorbent towels and then open some windows and use a fan to accelerate the drying. A wet/dry vacuum can also be used to extract as much water as possible.
You also might be able to deal with brown water problems yourself. Only this time, you must add clean water and a mild detergent to the mix. Soak up the water and then thoroughly clean the carpet. Once again, extract as much water as you can and use a fan to facilitate drying. If the brown water damage is extensive or if staining seems inevitable, call a professional ASAP.
Black water problems almost always require professional help. In fact, you should replace carpet damaged by this type of water. It’s nearly impossible to clean carpets and pads soaked with black water. In addition, the risk of illness is extremely high. Just as mold flourishes in moist environments, so does bacteria.
Depending on the type of water and severity of the flooding, replacing the carpet may be the only option.