First, you must understand that there are health issues and concerns that come with carpeting that has been exposed to a water intrusion. There are basically 3 categories or “types” of water intrusions that should be taken into consideration before you make this decision.
Clear Water – This type is caused by a leak from a “clear water” source, in other words it was “potable water”. Potable Water comes from a toilet holding tank, ice maker hose, interior water supply line, etc. This is the only type of water intrusion that you should consider attempting to save on your own.
First, get the water out…and by out we mean bail, wet vac, squeegee however you get it out it is essential that you get it out as FAST as you can. How much water? As much as you can.
Secondly, at the same time turn on the Lights! Keep the area lit until all the moisture is gone. Lighting the affected area helps to prevent mildew and mold growth…They like dark wet areas so deny them their natural breeding grounds.
Thirdly, as carefully as you can roll back your carpet from the tack-less strips and remove the cushion. Cut the carpet as little as possible (hopefully not at all) that will improve the chances of the re-installation looking like the original.
How much of the cushion should you remove? All of it; better to start fresh.
Finally, Air Flow! Specifically use fans and open windows (if available) to get cross breezes going since moving air promotes evaporation of the moisture.
Once you have removed the cushion and dried the floor unroll your carpet so it too can dry out. Even though most of the moisture was absorbed by the cushion it is important to start the drying process for your carpet ASAP or it will be ruined.
Do not remove any of the tack-less strips as in most cases they will dry out and be re-usable. Allow your professional installer to make that call.
Gray Water – This type of intrusion is typically from ground water (non-potable) or another contaminated source, such as discharge from washer hose, sump pump back up or floor drain back up etc. Bacteria counts in gray water are always higher then with a clear water source. This type is often the most misunderstood because we don’t “see “anything wrong with it and it can often appear clear. We do not recommend that you even consider trying to save the carpet or padding in this scenario. Total remove of all flooring material is the only safe option.
Black Water – Sounds bad, doesn’t it? That’s because it is really bad. This type of intrusion was a sewage source. Do not attempt to mitigate this problem without professional advice. We do not recommend that you even consider trying to save the carpet or padding in this scenario. Total remove of all flooring material is the only safe option.
One other safety precaution that we would stress – Be aware of the risk of electrical shock from outlets, extension cords, appliances etc. Always have a certified electrician ensure that the environment is safe for you to enter in BEFORE you do.
* Referenced material directly from IICRC S-520 water remediation standards and policies.