Concerned about water in basement

Asked August 10, 2014, 10:17 PM EDT

Our water heater cracked and died and spilled 15-20 gallons of water (our plumber estimates) in the hallway and bedroom across from the utility room where it was housed. He loaned us a vac that sucked some out but that too died . We are also borrowing his commercial fan to air it out for what he recommends the next three days. We are running the AC Fan continuously to also dry it out. We only vacuumed the wet spots - do we need to do the whole bedroom and go beyond the wet spots in the hallway? What can we do right now to prevent any mold happening?

Cass County North Dakota

1 Response

For relatively small amounts of clean water, the appropriate procedure is to rapidly dry the material. The general recommendation is to dry it within 24 hours. Much of the water can be removed with a vacuum as is used by a commercial carpet cleaner or possibly one you rent from a store for do-it-yourself carpet cleaning. Next the materials need to be rapidly dried. If most of the water has been removed such as is done with carpet cleaning, operating a fan above the materials may be adequate. The recommended procedure is to lift the carpet and pad, so fans can blow air onto the wood floor and the underside and top of the carpet and pad. It is best to verify that the area is dry using a moisture meter. A meter is available for loan from the county extension office. If the carpet remained wet for more than one day, then the carpet should be lifted to look for mold growth.

Since this is in the basement, the carpet may be on a concrete floor. Since concrete does not support mold growth, the mold concern will only be in the carpet. The recommendation is still to lift the carpet to move air on both sides of the carpet.

Mold growth will only occur where there is moisture, so only the carpet that got wet is in danger of supporting mold growth.

There is more information on the NDSU Extension Service Flooding website that may be helpful.