You've already stopped the flooding and gotten the issue fixed. Whether you had an overflowing toilet, a malfunctioning dishwasher or a natural flood, there's still one more thing you need to consider: your carpet. After any flooding event, water extraction is important to reduce the possibility of future damage and potential health issues.
Why Is Water in Your Carpet Dangerous?
After a plumbing emergency (or even a natural flood), one of the major problems isn't the water itself, but what was in the water. Water often contains sewage and bacteria, both of which are unhealthy to be in contact with and can easily make people sick. Bacteria and pollutants will continue to increase until the carpeting is either professionally cleaned or entirely removed.
Moisture itself is also dangerous. Lingering moisture leads to mold - and there are types of mold that are dangerous to inhale. While "toxic mold" is not a single type of mold, mold spores in general can cause allergic reactions and illness. Mold doesn't always spread visibly; it can be growing underneath a carpet while the exterior of the carpet seems to be fine.
Why Does Water Need to be Extracted?
Carpeting generally consists of three parts: a moisture barrier, padding and the carpeting itself. At the bottom, the moisture barrier prevents moisture from coming up from below - such as from a concrete foundation.
Between the barrier and your carpet, padding provides comfort. But when your carpet has become saturated, these layers become a problem. The moisture barrier prevents liquid from flowing down to the concrete - excellent for preventing staining and further damage, but a problem when it comes to evaporation.
The padding also soaks up and retains water and can remain damp for many days, all while the carpet gives the illusion of being completely dry.
Because water can settle above the moisture barrier and within the padding, it may be impossible to completely dry your carpet with traditional means. Simply blotting the area or running fans isn't enough, as the exterior of the carpet may have already dried. This is why water often has to be extracted.
How Is Water Extracted Following Flooding?
Most people treat water flooding by blotting the carpet, but while this removes the moisture from the surface, blotting doesn't remove the moisture from beneath. A professional extraction is often required to ensure that the entirety of the floor is dry. Professional extractors use powerful vacuums to pull the water up from the bottom.
However, even an extractor will not be able to remove all of the residual moisture. You will still need to use a combination of dehumidifiers, fans and airing out the room. If the water that flooded the area was dirty, you will also need to deep clean the carpet before the water is extracted.
In more serious situations - such as situations in which the water was standing for some time - the carpet may need to be pulled up and the concrete below treated with bleach. Even if the carpet itself can be reclaimed, the padding will likely have to be replaced to remove the bacteria. A professional can help determine whether the carpet can be recovered or if it will have to be entirely replaced.
Ultimately, wet carpeting should not be dismissed following any flooding situation. Carpeting can become a serious health hazard. Even if the carpet doesn't grow bacteria or mold that will affect health, your carpet may continue to stain and have an odor if it's not properly cleaned and dried.
At Floodmasters, we can help you reclaim your carpeting through the process of professional water extraction, in addition to helping you with other emergency flood needs.