A water soaked carpet can be a real mess. Especially when it’s in your basement and it’s soaked from possibly contaminated sewer water. Yuk! Every moment you delay, your carpet’s survival is under threat. At the same time, there’s little purpose in trying to do anything while the water’s still coming in. This is definitely no time to be rash. You need a cool head here. Here in Toronto, between the weather and the age of many of our homes, basement flooding is quite common. If you do experience a basement flood, and your have carpet down there, here are a few tips for you to follow.
Turn off the Water Supply – If a basement suddenly develops a leak, it’s quite possible an appliance down there has developed one too. Turn off the water at the entry point. Just don’t go below because it might not be safe to do so yet.
Switch off the Electricity – Don’t mess with this one. Your life could be at stake. Turning off the main switch is only good enough if the basement’s correctly wired. Rather ask an electrician to make your basement electrically safe for you.
Inspect the Area – Now you can take a good look around the basement, and hopefully find the root cause of the problem. Check the ceiling and the walls for obvious signs of running water. Look at every plumbed-in appliance carefully. Then examine the carpet for water-intrusion from beneath. The darkest, wettest spot is likely where your problem lies.
Salvage the Carpet
If the carpet is cheap, or clearly ruined, don’t waste your time with it. Put in an insurance claim and have a new one fitted. A carpet that isn’t cleaned and dried properly is a great candidate for mold. However if you have a high insurance excess and consider it worth salvaging, here are two alternative solutions.
- If the carpet is recoverable but really water-sodden (or you need to uplift it anyway to attend to an underground leak) clear the basement and use a commercial wet-vac to mop up as much water as possible. Then remove the carpet (watch out for rusty nails on edging strips) and take it someplace where it can dry out in the sun.
After that, you can find a carpet fitter to relay it for you. Don’t waste time trying to salvage the underlay though. It’s relatively cheap, and will stretch and tear as you take it up in any case.
- If the water spill is localized and clearly not welling up from below, all you may need to do is mop it with the commercial wet-vac (don’t press down hard) and then turn on several large fans plus a powerful dehumidifier. Don’t rush things. When it’s finally dry, you can shampoo it clean.
Ignore a damp carpet in a basement, and you’re inviting mold to settle down there, from where it could gradually migrate upstairs and affect your family’s bronchial health. Should you be unable to take any of the steps we recommend immediately, then it’s time to call in a commercial carpet cleaning service urgently.
Clearly, there’s little point in reinstating a carpet until the root cause of the flooding has been solved. Depending on your skills you may be able to sort out a plumbing problem yourself. However, if you’re faced with water intrusion you’re going to need advice from a basement water-proofing specialist, because that’s probably a more serious concern that will require a professional inspection.
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