If you are like most people, you probably assume that all water damage to carpeting is the same and requires the same treatment. This simply isn't true. The source of the flooding determines the type of water damage your carpet has suffered and the best route for cleaning up the damage. If your carpets have fallen victim to water damage, follow these guidelines for identifying the type of water damage you have and what you need to do about it.
What are the types of water damage?
There are several types of water damage that may affect your carpets. Professionals categorize them into three main categories.
- Sanitary Flooding: This refers to water that is not contaminated by pollutants or bacteria. Typical sources include rain water or a broken pipe. You may experience sanitary flooding in the winter if your pipes freeze and subsequently burst and flood your home with fresh water from the pipes. Likewise, upsetting a bucket of water from the tap, or accidentally spilling a pot of cooking water can flood your carpet. While the carpets must be treated with a disinfectant to prevent the growth of new bacteria or mold, they can typically be saved.
- Unsanitary Flooding: This refers to flooding by water that contains pollutants or bacteria. The source may reside outside of the home or may come from inside the home. Overflows from the dishwasher, the toilet or a leak in a waterbed can introduce bacteria to the carpet. Unsanitary flooding can render the carpets unsalvageable, but it depends on the source and degree of contamination. A professional water restoration expert may be able to save a carpet that has been exposed to unsanitary flooding.
- Black Water Flooding: Black water flooding contains raw sewage and poses a health risk to you and your family. This may occur with a break in the sewer line or flooding from the outside that contains raw sewage. The carpeting needs to be destroyed and other porous surfaces may need to be replaced. Black water flooding requires the services of a professional to restore the home to sanitary conditions.
Can you restore your carpets from flooding yourself?
Under some circumstances you can take care of flood damage on your own, if the flooding is from sanitary waters. How successful your attempts are likely to be depends on the degree of flooding and how quickly you can get the work done. If you experience flooding from sanitary waters and want to take care of it yourself, follow these suggestions:
- Stop the flow of water.
- Remove the water. You can use a sump pump for floods in the basement to remove standing water. A good wet/dry vac can also be used to remove as much water as possible from the carpet. Do not use a regular vacuum cleaner, as it is not designed to remove water. Check that the wet/dry vac is approved for water removal and has the appropriate filters and attachments installed.
- Open the windows and doors to increase ventilation in the area.
- Spray the surface of the carpet with disinfectant to prevent the growth of mold and mildew.
- Place large fans in the area to further improve ventilation to dry out the carpets. If possible, open all doors and windows and use fans to suck the damp air to the outside of your home.
- Use a dehumidifier in the room to take extra moisture from the air.
To eliminate the risk of mold and mildew growth in the carpet, it should be thoroughly dried within 24 hours. If you cannot dry the carpet in this time frame, call a professional to finish the job. Water restoration experts from companies like Complete Restoration Services have the equipment and supplies to get the job done before mold and mildew gets a foothold in your carpet.