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Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Posted by livvysmom (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 22, 07 at 18:02

I will try to make this short. Visited my vacation condo on the beach in FL last week and discovered about 1 inch of water in the foyer and nearby carpet. Came from the AC airhandler above (the drain pipe was clogged). I don't know how long ago it started (pest control was in their on Sep 5th) and the rug by the door was mildewy. Got the AC fixed easy, mopped up the vinyl flooring but the problem was the adjacent carpet was damp (maybe a 3' x 4' section).

I used a powerful wet dry vac and got up 5 cups of water (yes, I did measure it). We stepped on towels to soak up moisture and I ran fans for the 3 1/2 days I was there.

All the carpet dried but one area. It is still damp coming out in a straight line (about 3 ft long) from the wall. The strangest thing is it isn't even adjacent to the vinyl flooring where the flood occurred.

I continued to step on the area with towels under my feet and even took a blow dryer to it. Every time I think it was drying it would be damp again.

My theory is there my be a seam in the padding there and maybe the water soaked in more there because of it??? Or a low spot in the floor? BTW, it is concrete under the padding.

Anyhow I had to leave to come back up north so I set the therostat to AC 74 degrees. The housekeeper will check in a few days.

If it is dry by then is all ok?? I did not leave the fans running because I was too afraid too with no one there. When we visit at Christmas we can pull up the carpet and replace the padding if necessary but we do have renters for the month of November so I want to make sure I am not making any big mistakes.


Follow-Up Postings:

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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Wanted to add that the padding is red and seems to be plastic on top. Doesn't seems like it would be absorbant on the top but maybe where a seam occurs.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

First and foremost...water problems never go away on their own. I know you've fixed the source of the problem, but don't assume the residual water will just go away.

In my job as an insurance agent, I've spoken several times to restoration/cleanup people about stuff like this. Basically they've said to pull up the carpet and toss the pad underneath. It's basically a big sponge that will do exactly what you're describing. Once you get the pad out, I'd rent a couple of commercial sized dehumidifiers in concert with a couple of fans blowing air across the floor. You need to keep the air moving to get the humidity/moisture out.

One thing I wouldn't have done...especially in FL...is to leave it as you've described. I realize this is a seasonal house, but this WILL turn into a bigger mess (read:MOLD) and subsequently an insurance claim. Given the current state of the FL insurance market, that could lead you down a path you won't like!!

What should you do now that you've returned home? If it's me, I'd call a ServPro type place (cleanup company) and have them get in there and do what I've described above (they'll know what to do). Hopefully all you'll need is a drying out, which shouldn't be too expensive. If you wait, you'll wind up replacing the rug and several feet of sheetrock around the room to combat the mold.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

You have 48 hours to get the materials dry. After that, they should be removed to prevent the formation of mold.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Don't leave it like this. Get commercial mitagation and restoration people in there ASAP. You're looking at a couple of grand for mitigation, removal of materials and restoration. If you don't do it, you WILL have problems down the road. The mold thing has emerged as huge issue for owners, tenants, and insurance companies. Not something you want to leave alone. It will seem OK for a while but will return to bite.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

I agree that you shouldn't have left it in that condition.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Wow, interesting stuff. Yes, the "mold thing" has emerged, but I wonder why? Is it the millions of dollars being generated by scare tactics? Is it the fact that school libraries are foced to destroy all of their books after half a dozen are identified as having mold---or having each page of each book "remediated" by "specialists" to ensure no mold growth? I agree that water damage should be taken seriously. It concerns me in this case that water continues to seemingly come from nowhere after presumably, the problem has been solved. It makes me wonder if that's new water they're seeing, or if it really is the original leak that seems never ending? In any event, assuming the source of the water problem was arrested, residual water WILL go away. It's called evaporation/drying/dehumidifying, etc. It dries up. Thousands of homes are flooded by muddy rivers every year and this has been the case for hundreds of years. We had a home in the 1972 Northeastern Pennsylvania flood. Included in the mess were dead fish, frogs, mosquitos, mud, old tires, you name it. Before the days of "mold remediation specialists" people tossed the carpeting and padding let things dry out by mother nature, and rebuilt on the existing frames. The vast majority of the thousands of homes in that flood still have the same siding and framework, they did before the flood. There are certainly a few cases of mold/mildew---I'm guessing---but the vast majority of these homes pose no health risk, and they did not have the benefit of Service Pro or six foot fans and commercial dehumidifiers. It's common sense stuff. By the way, carpet padding can be dried out, sprayed with disinfectant and safely reinstalled, but I think most of the time, it's easier to just replace it. Carpeting can be cleaned (microbial cleaner???) and dried. The key is making sure the source of the water problem really has been addressed.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Angelmom, are you serious?

You say the water "WILL" go away and in the next breath say you're concerned the water hasn't gone away. You got flooded 35 years ago and now your pontificating like an expert...that's irresponsible. Think I'm wrong...try this. Take the sponge in your sink, soak it completely but don't wring it out. Put in on the counter and lay a hand towel over it. Now take you blow dryer and go crazy for an hour. When you finished, lay that whole thing on your nicest hardwood floor and stand on it with your favorite pair of socks...not happy are you?

Do I think mold has turned into what pitbull dogbites were in the 80's...constant front page news...absolutely. Do I think a bucket of bleach, TSP and water will solve most mold issues...absolutely. Do I think it's a good idea to leave an unsolved water issue in a Florida petry dish...absolutely not.

I've got a question for you...which do you think will happen first, the pad will dry out or the mold will be 3' up the walls?? Why on earth would you advocate keeping a $1/ft carpet pad on the risk of the alternative. Northeast PA is not Florida.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

I live in an arid climate. You can trust me when I say it happens here, too. Perhaps more to the point, if 72 hours passes between the event and mitigation services insurers start bucking the claims. Plus any unmitigated situation must be disclosed in sale offerings.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet.. Compact Flourescent L

Spanky: You're right about replacing 1.00 a foot carpet pad---and I didn't mean to advocate being penny wise and pound foolish. But I stand by my assertion that in many, many cases, there is an overreaction to water issues fueled by people and companies who take financial advantage. I said the water can be dried out effectively---but I was questioning if the source of the leak was really addressed. You even acknowledge that this is mold thing is overblown to an extent by the media. As for Hurricane Agnes and the '72 flood, it definitely did not make me an expert, but the point is that people managed to rebuild and the overwhelming majority have sound properties now that are not mold and health hazzards. This all happened before we were "so wise" about "the necessity for mold remediation." Actually, I think you and I are pretty close on this---it's that we should use common sense to evaluate the problem and do what is necesary to fix the problem and prevent future issues. Two quick points: If someone knocked over a 15 gallon fish tank against the wall, what do you do? There was a time when you would grab a mop and bucket, clean up the best you could, let carpeting dry if it got wet---check the lower level to see if water came through the ceiling/wall, and that would be it. Same goes for leaving a shower curtain outside the tub by mistake and having water leak down a level. It's unfortunate, but not a total disaster in most cases. You certainly wouldn't be calling in mold experts and paying a couple thousand dollars---you'd be doing everything practical to get things dried out though. Other example is something totally different: Those new compact flourescent light bulbs have mercury in them and are supposed to be disposed of carefully. If you knocked over a lamp in your house, would you call the EPA to find out who could come in and do clean-up, or would you try taking care of it yourself? If the answer is that we need an expert to come in, these bulbs should not be on the market.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Angelom,

Very funny comment about compact flourescent light bulbs and the small amount of mercury present in them. I have met some people who would actually do as you decribe and who have no common sense whatsoever.

What ever happened to common sense in this country? I have even met people recently who seem to have no idea which end of a hammer is the working part.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Glenn: No joke about those light bulbs. I heard on the radio that a lady broke one of them and to make a long story short, that room of her house (kid's bedroom) is now closed off as a toxic area pending toxic clean up. Apparently, it's costly and she's not in a financial position to pay for it. On the same broadcast, it said that if she had vacuumed the floor and then used the same vaccum cleaner in other rooms in her house, the whole place would need to be detoxified. It was as serious story---I'm going to do a web search to see if I can find it. If it's true, it makes me wonder about using these things. My wife and I have been replacing our standard light bulbs with these for a long time---and I noticed that it says they need special disposal arrangements right on the bulb itself.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

I guess I don't get the part about the vacuum - since when do vacuums exude anything at all? I DO remember when I was a kid and my bro. & I broke a thermometer and played with the merc. drops for a short time til my mother just came and got rid of it... we managed to grow up ok (well, some might debate that :-) and mercury free!


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Lucy: You're dating yourself. We broke thermometers in school---not often, but I remember more than once. Guess what? We played with the mercury too, then probably left it on the floor. Now, if the same thing happens, the school is evacuated and experts come in to detoxify the area. Amazing. I did check the web about that light bulb story. It's true, but the articles also said that there was an overreaction by the agency the woman called and in truth, there was/is no need for a $2000.00 clean up. It did say you cannot vaccum broken fluorescent bulbs---you're supposed to use duct tape or masking tape to try to pull up the glass chards then a wet cloth to blot/clean up and throw the cloth away. I guess in doubt, you can call in experts to clean up and pay through the nose. Funny thing is that people opposed to the new bulbs left the story at it's worst---huge cost for clean-up, but didn't disclose that it was deemed unnecessary. But just as ridiculous, the environmentalists who love these bulbs missed the point that people with means are being scared out of their mind and they're able and willing to pay huge sums of money for clean-up that is unneeded. Maybe Edison's incandescent bulb is a better choice???? The light is brighter and the bulbs are much cheaper, that's for sure. As always, the truth doesn' lay with either extreme.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Angelmom, my guess is you're correct...we are allot closer than it probably sounded from my initial reaction. From the insurance side, I'd much rather have my clients break out the mop and bleach. People today have this kneejerk "I paid for this insurance, now dammit I want to use it" mentallity. Problem is, insurance was NEVER designed to handle all claims. As I advocate to my clients, owning a home comes with responsibilities. Don't buy one if you're going to do the Ostrich every time something happens.

I don't think the OP was trying to create a bigger problem on purpose. I do think she was heading for one by not 100% resolving the issue before she left...especially in a FL climate. Also, as I said, if I lived in FL today I'd only be calling my insurer if I had a palm tree in the middle of my living room, or the place had just burned to the ground. As anyone in FL can attest, the insurance market down there is a disaster and filing small claims will make it much much worse for the individual.

Whaddaya mean mercury is dangerous? I loved playing with that stuff in school...does that make me old?? :o)


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Spanky: With insurance claims, is it usually true that if you file a claim your rates go up? Does it depend on what the claim is? I remember my wife owned a townhouse and landscapers hired by the homeowners association PROBABLY were responsible for damage to her siding. We think that while they were mowing, stones flew out and put a couple small dents in her siding. To make a very long story short, ironically, it was the homeowners association who insisted that she fix the siding since her house was prominent because it bordered guest parking. Of course, they said there was no proof that the landscapers caused the damage and it was my wife's responsibility to get the siding replaced. It was expensive because they ended up replacing a lot of siding (based on not being able to spot treat the dents and wanting to make sure all siding matched correctly). It was a couple thousand dollars. My wife's insurance company said it would not affect her premium but then her rates did get raised. In fact, I've heard that even if you call to inquire about filing a claim, and then decide to pay out of pocket, the insurance company can still raise your rates based on you being a higher risk because you had an incident. Is this true?


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

It really does depend on the state and the insurer. I encourage all my clients to call me first whenever they have a claim. I would tell some one they couldn't file a claim, but sometimes it's in their best interest to pay it out of pocket. The reason is, there are surcharges on home owners insurance and some can be quite big. It's almost always smarter to write your own check for a $1500 claim than it is to submit it. Some surcharges are upwards of $300/yr for 3 years.

Your claim sounds a little strange to me. Isn't the association responsible for damages to the outside of the building? That's the reason for a master policy in the first place. How specifically are you (the owner)suppose to be able to tell exactly where your unit ends and your neighbors begins from the outside??? Every master policy I've ever seen covers everthing from outside to somewhere around the sheetrock inside your unit. Your responsible for everything else. Maybe I missed something in your description.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Well, it was actually a townhouse, not a condo. So you're responsible for everything, except common areas of the community. You're definitely responsible for your own yard, sidewalks, siding, windows, roof, etc.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Around here we sort of use condo and townhouse interchangeably. To me a condo is a 1 level unit with units above and below. A townhouse is a multi-level unit, but still having other units attached on either side. It sounds like your unit was a stand-alone unit...correct? If so, I can see where you'd have something more resembling a standard house insurance policy, not a condo type policy.

To your other question about whether just beginning a claim, but not actually collecting any money and whether that could raise your rate. It does sound plausible under one line of thinking. There's a general rule of thought among insurers that there are 2 kinds of clients...those that file claims and those that do not. That insurer may operate on a model that says that first claim is most probably a harbinger of things to come. They may also think that a rate surcharge will accomplish one of two things. First, a higher rate will bring you back in line as a projected "profitable" client. Or two, you'll get pissed and switch...either way they're happy. In my experience...while this won't make anyone happy...this line of thought tends to be pretty accurate.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

No, the unit wasn't stand alone, it was a town house end unit. But there weren't "condo fees" just a nominal homeowners association fee. Residents were responsible for interiors and exteriors of their homes and their yards. Note that the parking area, kids playground, runs of grass, etc. were considered common area---so if any of those things needed maintenance, the homeownwers association would handle it. But if your roof, your siding, your windows, even your fence needed work, you paid for it yourself and of course that included all interior things too, such as furnaces, carpeting, etc. I think that's pretty common in Maryland and DC. The apartment style condos you refer to are different---usually you pay a high condominium fee and then the association does take care of most exterior things.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

That's very interesting. How do you determine where your unit ends and your neighbors begins? I realize this particular damage was probably clearly definable, but in other cases this must be a nightmare. It must also make for some interesting fights between insurance companies.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Well it's easy to tell. Each house front/rear is well defined.


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RE: Flood occurred -- carpet and pad wet - pls help

Well, we will be down there the day after Christmas -- we will pull up the carpet in that area to check the padding even though there is no obvious smell.

I understand the alarm when I say the condo is in FL but really the air is running constantly and the condo is cool and dry.

If I remember, I will post again in early Jan.


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