“How to Prevent Mold from Growing After a Flood in Your Home” Part 1 Water Damage – Water Extraction what to do?

Water damage to building and contents happen frequently and are not limited to natural disasters as often as they are thought to be. In the majority of cases water damage is caused by broken pipes and plumbing fixtures.

Safety Note – It is important to note that water containing sewage and/or other contaminants like oils and fuels, or water that originates from over land flooding or water from rivers should be left to be cleaned up by professional restoration personnel as this type of contaminated water is known to be hazardous to human health.

  1. The first thing that one should do in the case of a sudden an unexpected water escape affecting the inside of a building like your home or your business is too extract standing water, this includes extracting water out of materials like carpets furniture and contents. It is extremely important to extract standing water as soon as possible to limit the migration of water through building materials and contents. The longer water is left on surfaces the more materials will become affected as water migrates and in almost every case this translates into more costs and damage.

Water can be extracted from hard surface flooring by Absorption using mops, towel, paper towels, clothes, and other absorbent materials, and/or using a proper wet vacuum/shop vacuum. The migration of water can be limited when using absorbent materials as a dam. Damning standing water will limit the water from spreading and affecting more materials.

Safety Note It is important to configure a wet vacuum/shop vacuum properly prior to extracting water. wet vacuum/shop vacuum are meant to vacuum water without a vacuum bag. Improperly configured wet vacuum/shop vacuum can cause electrical shock and electrical hazards that may result in fire, personal injury and even death.

Safety Note – Avoid handling any electrical devices that are plugged in and have sustained water damage. Turn off electrical supply at the breaker panel prior to disconnecting electrical devices in the water damaged area. For safety it is best to turn the main breaker switch off to ensure that no power is flowing throughout the water damaged building. Some buildings have multiple breaker panels it is important to identify these panels so that you know which Areas are electrically charged.

Extracting water from Carpet will be a little more challenging and will require a wet vacuum/shop vacuum.

First it is important to determine if the affected carpet has a cushion backing or under-lay/under-pad.

Carpet without under-pad and/or Cushion-back Carpet can be extracted using a wet vacuum/shop vacuum. It can be helpful to compress the carpet using a compression roller to squeeze the standing water from the carpet while extracting.

Carpet with separate Under-pad should be disengaged and the wet under-pad disposed of.

Important Note: because carpet under-pad is relatively inexpensive, in almost every case it is far more cost effective to dispose of under-pad as opposed to drying. Other complexities that arise from trying to dry out carpet under pad include but are not limited to bacteria and possible fungus growth which can be harmful to human and pet health and will causing unpleasant odors.

When removing the under-pad, it is important to not damage the carpet by folding or crinkling it, it is better to roll the carpet up to ensure not to damage the carpets backing structure.

Carpet with polypropylene and latex backing structure can delaminate (come unglued) when wet and especially when they are folded, creased, or crinkled.

Make sure to inspect the carpet backing for delamination after the carpet is dried. Carpets that have delaminated will appear to have the (secondary backing) backing grid material separating and therefore no longer properly adhered to the backing. This can cause rapid wear to the carpet after reinstallation if not repaired.

Re-laminating a carpet backing can be done by purchasing the latex glue (available at a flooring supply store) The glue can be simply rolled on to a carpet back using a paint roller and tray. It is important to lay the carpet and the delaminated backing flat and allow it to remain undisturbed until the latex has dried.

Once the latex is dried the carpet can be re-stretched/re-installed.

Important Note: You Have 12 hours!

Carpet is absorbent by nature and will hold water for a long time before drying out naturally, if this is allowed to occur the carpet will go” sour”.

Bacteria and fungal growths will occur, and the carpet will have an unpleasant odor essentially rendering the carpet unsalvageable.

Although it is possible to get rid of contaminants such as bacteria and fungus along with soils, the cost of the disinfecting procedures required to save a water damaged carpet that has gone sour will far exceed the value of the carpet itself. It is for this reason that the carpet needs to be rid of moisture as soon as possible. This is the first thing to do if you want to salvage your carpet.

Stay tuned for our Blog post (Finding What’s Wet) for tips on the next step

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