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Written by Robert E. Sheriff, MS, CIH, CSP, President
November 21, 2018
The Case of the Flooded Carpet – Aggressive Action to Prevent Mold
One of the worst sensations a homeowner can experience is the “squishy” sound and feel of walking on a flooded carpet. In most cases, a water soaked carpet is a goner. This is especially so if the water came from a flooded stream or a massive storm. These waters carry silt and possibly sewage from flooded septic systems or overflowing sewage treatment plants. Water that has flowed across pastureland will be similarly contaminated. It is also important to remove it as quickly as possible to keep from damaging sub-floor or just to expose the sub-flooring just to get it dried out.
If the soaking came from a broken drinking water pipe, an overflowing sink or clothes washer (but not from a backed-up toilet), there MAY be hope. The key element is time: how long was the carpet wet? The longer a carpet is wet, the more time molds have to grow. So if the water source is clean or nearly so, and you want to try saving that wall-to-wall shag, here are some suggestions:
First, stop the flow of water. Second, remove as of the much water as you possibly can. Use squeegees, mops, towels; anything at all that can get water out of the carpet. Third, use a heavy-duty dryer/de-humidifier to quickly and thoroughly dry out the rug. A hand-held hair dryer isn’t going to cut it! If its that small, pick it up and put it in the clothes drier!
If you can get the carpet completely dry in a matter of a few hours even a couple of days, you have a good chance of saving it. There will certainly be more mold in the carpeting after the flood than there was before it. Prompt, aggressive action may keep the increase within bounds, so that you won’t detect any “musty odors” or see visible mold. It may, but don’t count on it! Incidentally the “musty odors” are from actively growing molds or dead mold “Caucasus”.
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