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Carpet Water Damage

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Water intrusion affecting carpet and other floor coverings is among the most difficult situations faced by a homeowner or building manager. There is no standard procedure for dealing with every flooding situation. Each crisis must be evaluated on a case by case basis. Every flooding situation will have its own distinguishing problems. There are a number of standard questions that must be addressed in evaluating the proper protocol for returning the carpet to its pre-flood status. The primary question that must be addressed is the type of flooding that has occurred, sanitary, unsanitary, or black water.

Sanitary Flooding

The carpet must be treated with a disinfectant following extraction of excess water. Most homeowners insist that the carpet should be replaced in all flooding situations but this is usually not necessary in the case of sanitary flooding. A few simple guidelines may be followed to insure the carpet can be returned to pre-flood conditions.

  1. Traffic on the wet carpet should be kept to a minimum until the carpet is completely dry. The latex that holds the primary and secondary backings together is weakened when wet. Excessive traffic on the carpet may cause delamination. The latex should regain most of its strength after drying.
  2. Action should be taken immediately to shut-off and control the source of the water. It may be necessary to punch small holes in the drywall to release any standing water that has accumulated within the walls. It is impractical to begin restoration efforts prior to identification and elimination of the water source.
  3. Quickly remove any furnishings that may stain or damage the carpet.
  4. Immediately contact a professional restoration technician to perform the work.
  5. Extraction of excess water should begin immediately and the carpet should be completely dry within 12 hours following intervention. Failure to follow these recommendations may allow for the development of several types of bacteria and fungi that may negatively affect human health. To reduce the possibility of this occurrence, the application of a disinfectant to the face fiber is recommended. Many of these treatments will destroy stain resist treatments.
  6. To expedite drying, the carpet should be removed from the tack strip and the carpet padding (carpet cushion) always should be discarded. Carpet should be elevated and fans should be utilized to speed drying time. In circumstances where high humidity may delay drying time, dehumidifiers should be secured to assist in drying out the environment.

Unsanitary Flooding

If the water can be identified as unsanitary, there are few safe options. Anytime the water intrusion is a result of water with some degree of contamination, the water source can be classified as unsanitary. Examples of unsanitary water intrusion include dishwasher overflows, toilet overflows with urine present, punctured water beds, or other water sources that may contain biopollutant contamination. It is recommended the carpet be discarded due to bacterial concerns. If the decision is made to restore the carpet, disinfectants must be used to protect human health. In situations associated with unsanitary water intrusion, the primary concern should be protecting public health. The classification of unsanitary water versus black water contamination is dependent upon time. Unsanitary water that is left untreated for significant periods can change from unsanitary to black.

In dealing with unsanitary water sources, you must always assume there is a significant threat to human health. Rubber gloves, boots, goggles, and other protective clothing should be used. Anyone with cuts or open sores should avoid contact with the flood waters.

Black Water

Black water can be described as any water that contains raw sewage. Sea water and any water that comes in contact with the ground may also be classified as black water. Black water is considered highly unsanitary. This type of flooding can produce serious health effects. When black water is involved in flooding situations the facility must be evacuated to protect public health. All floor covering materials must be discarded and other surfaces should be carefully evaluated. It is recommended that all porous surfaces are removed and discarded. The facility should be evacuated by inhabitants until the environment can be returned to pre-flood conditions. Worker safety precautions similar to those utilized in dealing with unsanitary water should be used for black water.

* Information above was gathered from www.carpetbuyershandbook.com

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