A flooded basement is stressful enough without having to worry about the replacement of expensive carpeting. If you act quickly, you may be able to save your carpet while waiting for the restoration and cleanup crews to arrive.

Before you even enter the basement to check on the damage, make sure it's safe:

  • Turn off the circuit breaker that powers the basement. Water and electricity do not mix.

  • Make sure the water is turned off to the basement or house so further flooding isn't a concern.

  • Unplug all electrical devices and appliances.

  • If wiring or other electrical devices are wet, leave the power off while working on the carpet.

Determine the Source of the Water

Whether you can save the carpet or not depends on the source of the flood waters. A burst pipe or clean water from rain or snow doesn't pose a hazard. If the water is from a sewage backup or burst soil pipe, stay out of the basement and let the professionals handle the cleanup. You won't be able to salvage the carpeting if a sewer leak was the culprit.

Save the Rugs First

Loose carpeting and rugs are the easiest to save. Remove them from the basement and dry them out. If it's warm and sunny, you can do this outside. Prompt drying, even if you can't clean them right away, will at least prevent the rugs from mildewing.

If the rugs are machine washable and your washing machine is in a location where it's safe to use, wash the rugs immediately instead of drying them first. After washing, machine or line dry. Carpet and dry clean only rugs can be take to a professional cleaner for a thorough wash down and drying. The quicker you act, the less chance of permanent damage.

Extract the Water

For regular wall-to-wall carpeting, your first order of business is to get it as dry as possible so mildew or mold doesn't occur. The best way to do this is with a water extractor. You can usually rent these from carpet cleaning stores or place that rent tools and equipment.

If you don't have access to an extractor, you can use a wet-dry vacuum to suck up the excess water. This doesn't pull up as much water as the extractor, so some dampness may persist and you will need to go over the carpet many times to get it reasonably dry.

Turn on the Fans

Damp carpet is lost carpet, especially if it will some time before you can get a professional in to finish the flood cleanup. After extracting as much water as you can, turn on the fans and dehumidifiers to help finish drying the space quickly. You may need to run extension cords into the basement if the power must remain off.

Although your carpet is dry, it will still require professional cleaning to remove any mildew spores or stains that resulted from the flood. Your restoration technicians will handle the cleaning so your carpet will be as nice as it was before the flood.

To learn more, contact a company like Rapid Dry Inc. with any questions you have.

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