Leaks from plumbing and flooding can cause tremendous damage to your floors.
Not only are your floors at risk, but so is your health. Standing water that is not treated or dried in a timely fashion can cause mold growth. It is important for homeowners to be aware of any water coming into the house from broken pipes or flooding.
Being exposed to mold can cause a health risk, and may irritate the throat, lungs, and nose. Breathing in mold that has become airborne can also trigger symptoms for people who have allergies, asthma, or hay fever.
Unknown to most people, your house doesn’t need to be completely flooded to spur mold growth. Even just a small amount of water can do plenty of harm.
Leaky pipes during San Diego summers can be a strong catalyst for mold growth, especially summers like the one we are experiencing this year. What mold needs to grow and thrive are dark, warm, humid environments. Places most susceptible to mold could be cabinets under sinks, bathrooms, and places underneath the house, such as crawl spaces or basements. Knowing what areas of your home are most vulnerable to mold makes it easier to identify when problems arise.
Unfortunately, even knowing which areas in your home are most susceptible to mold and mildew growth might not be enough. Certain materials can be very absorbent, and it might be harder to identify sources of moisture and mold growth. Insulation in walls, rugs, and carpets are highly absorbent materials, and can turn into breeding grounds for mold if not treated properly.
Carpets that experience water damage are highly vulnerable. If not treated properly and immediately, carpeted areas can be breeding grounds for mold and mildew, and can ruin your carpets and cause a musty smell in your home. While we don’t experience much rain in San Diego during the summers, leaky pipes and faucets, spilled water, and flooded bathrooms and kitchens can cause similar damage to a flood.
How to Prevent Mold Growth in Carpets
If your carpet gets wet, the best thing you can do is start cleaning and drying immediately. It is important to understand that even if the top of the carpet feels dry, this might not entirely be the case. If there is enough water, or if the spill is left for too long, water can absorb into the carpet fibers and get underneath the carpet.
Water that is left underneath the carpet can spur mold and mildew growth, and that growth can happen quickly in humid, warm environments.
The best way to treat a spill is by using continuous natural airflow. Open windows in your home and use fans to circulate air throughout the house. Dehumidifiers are also a good tool to have to help wick moisture from the air around the spill.
If you do encounter mold, it is possible to treat, however it may require a bit of scrubbing. Bleach and cleaners can help eliminate mold growth, and prevent it from coming back, granted the source of moisture has been eliminated.
It is best to act fast if you know your carpets have received water damage. These steps can help dry carpets most effectively after water damage and help prevent mold from spreading.
1. Get the water out quickly
If your carpets experience extensive water damage, towels and sponges might not be able to remove all of the water. Wet/dry vacuums are made to clean up water spills, and can be effective tools for sucking water out of carpets. They can typically be provided by restoration companies that specialize in flood damage and carpet cleaning. The sooner the water is vacuumed out, the better.
2. Have fans running to help with the drying process
As mentioned earlier, fans are useful in providing airflow throughout the home. You’ll want to keep the fans running for about a week. This may seem like a long time, but even if you think your carpet is dry, it’s not. High-powered fans can speed up the process, and can be rented from local home improvement stores.
3. Use a dehumidifier
Dehumidifiers remove excess moisture from the air, making the air feel cooler. By drying out the air and the ground around the dehumidifier, drying time will become shorter for carpets and floors.
4. Get your carpets steam cleaned
While this may seem like were making the carpets wet again, the steam will actually deodorize and sanitize the carpet, providing an extra layer of protection against mold re-growth. The padding underneath your carpets will most likely need to be replaced, however, this is a much cheaper alternative than re-carpeting your entire home.
5. Clean and sanitize baseboards and walls
Make sure to clean all surfaces and hard-surface floors with soap and water. If flood water touches anything it should be sanitized. Using a solution of 1.5 cups of bleach to one gallon of water will help with cleanup. Safety first: make sure to wear gloves when working with chemicals.
6. Double check all your furniture
If your home experiences flooding or a large spill, make sure to move furniture from the affected areas. This allows for you to inspect carpeted areas that may have been previously hidden by furniture. It also allows you to check for water damage within the furniture, and treat what may have been affected before mold and mildew can grow.
Even by following all these steps, it is still difficult to completely get rid of water damage within your carpets. It is always best to have a flood restoration provider evaluate water damage in your home, and properly remove any mold. For any instance regarding a spill or flood in your home, give us a call at 619-284-4239 or contact us through our website at cleanearthrestorations.com. We have over two decades of experience in fire and flood restoration, and have a team specialized to treat, repair, and clean carpets.