Basement Leak? Here is How To Dry Wet Basement Carpeting

By Dave Jacobs

Warm weather rain and melting snow may cause basement leaks. And can create damp carpeting.

If a basement leak has led to damp carpeting it's important to dry the carpeting quickly. Mold can form in as little as 48 hours, leading to musty smells, ruined carpeting and possible health concerns.Here's how to dry wet basement carpets after a basement leak.

Start by assessing the damage due to the basement leak: What type of water caused the damage? How soaked is the carpet and padding?

In the event the water soaking your floor covering is clean, attempting to dry the carpeting is an excellent option. If the water is dirty or muddy or contains sewage, your better option could be just to replace the carpeting completely.

If your basement leak has led to the entire carpet and padding being soaked, you may want to lift it up and carry it outside for drying. Be careful, wet carpet is very heavy so make sure you have enough muscle power to get the carpet outdoors. If you've gotten to this point, you may want to call in professionals. They have equipment to dry the carpet in place so you don't have to move it.

Should you choose decide to do-it-yourself, once the carpeting is outside create a tent-like form with the carpeting so drier air will reach both top and bottom of the carpeting and will dry it more thoroughly. You can use lumber, plastic storage bins or lawn furniture to assist tent the carpeting.When the carpeting has completely dried out, you may need professional help from carpet layers to ensure it is reinstalled correctly. Finally, clean the carpeting with a carpet cleaning machine or hire an experienced carpet cleaner to do it for you.

If the carpet is only damp or just soaked in spots, you can definitely dry it out yourself.

Start by opening any windows in the basement. Remove as much furniture and other items in contact with the wet carpet as you can. If you to file an insurance claim, make sure you take photos of the damaged items before you move them. If you can pull up the carpet to get at the carpet pad, you may want to cut out the wet portion of the pad and set it outside to dry. This works best for smaller leaks in corners or along walls. Once dry, you can reinstall the cut out piece of pad with duct tape.

If you have basement leak problems, you should invest in a wet-dry vacuum. Use the wet-vac to draw up as much of water as possible. If you don't have a wet-vac but have a carpet shampooer, you can use that to suck the water from the carpet. Never use a regular household vacuum cleaner.

In the event you don't have a wet-dry vac a carpet shampooer, you can rent one from rental shops, carpet cleaning services as well as hardware stores. But wet-dry vacs are low priced enough this it is probably worthwhile to just purchase your own. They have a lots of other uses at home such as workshop and car cleaning - not just helping dry leaky basements.

One trick that can speed drying up basement leaks is to use towels, rags or old t-shirts to blot up as much water as you can after vacuuming. Simply lay them on wet area and walk over them to soak up as much water as possible. Next, place fans in various areas off of the basement and try to direct air flow over the carpet. While box fans will work, your best options are desktop, osculating fans placed at floor level. These will not only move air back and forth, directing the air flow over a wide area, they also can be tilted down and aimed at the damp spots.

Fans will eventually dry the carpet , but it can take several days. The best way to speed drying to use a portable home dehumidifier. If you have a problem with basement leaks, you probably have a dehumidifier already. If not, seriously consider getting one. A good basement humidifier will go a long way towards eliminating the musty smell and mold issues that basement leaks usually cause long before actual water damage occurs. Plus adding a basement dehumidifier to your fan set up can reduce the drying time for wet carpeting to a day or so.

One important precaution with fans and dehumidifiers: Be aware of the chance of electric shock. Set them up and off wet carpeting in order that the wires and housings don't contact the wet carpeting.

When the carpeting is dry, clean it with a carpet-cleaning machine. If you don't own a carpet shampooer, sprinkle baking soda on the carpet, let it sit for a while, then vacuum it up.

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