Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Why Pay? Flood Damage to Carpets

For far too long I believed that it was best to have “The Professionals” come to my home to fix what ever problem arose.  I was convinced,  in my Ignorance, that I couldn’t handle any major repair to my own property.

Then, one terrible day about 5 years ago, we had a full basement flood (no flood insurance).  The downstairs carpets were completely soaked through.  I immediately called “The Professionals” to come out with the hopes that they could magically take this problem away…after all, they’re “Professional,” right?

Well,  all they did was suck a little water out of the carpet, rip the carpet and padding up and away from the walls and set up 3 fans to try to dry it out.  The next morning we went to check on the progress and discovered a full algae bloom with a musty stench that would knock you out!  Five days later, ”The Professionals” came back to remove the fans and left me with their bill and a phone number of another ”Professional” that would replace my carpet padding and restretch the carpet to the walls.  Cleaning was not part of the deal – only drying and re-stretching the carpet.  Long story short, the bill came to over $1000 and the carpet  still needed a deep cleaning.  The additional cleaning put the bill to $1300.  By the time it was over, we realized that we would have been better off just buying a brand new carpet!

When the next year came around and the darn basement flooded again, I had a moment of Frugal Clarity!  I immediately ran out to the home improvement store and picked up a LG Dehumidifier ($125.00) and a Hoover Steam Vac ($160.00).  I figured this flood was going to be $1300 for certain, so why not spend $285.00 and take a chance on fixing it myself?

 Turns out that was a very smart move!  I spent most of that day just going over my carpets with the vacuum setting of the steam cleaner, pulling out gallons of muddy water.  That evening, I set the dehumidifier in the center of the room and two fans on either side.  By the morning, the carpet was only “damp” and there was no smell of mustiness or algae bloom.  I kept a rigorous schedule of emptying the dehumidifier and within 3 days the carpet and pad was totally dry, albeit filthy from the muddy water.

The following week I tried the shampoo and steam clean function on the Carpet Steam Cleaner. Wow!  The dirt that came out of the carpet was amazing!  I fully cleaned the carpet three times that week- it took three times for the water to come out clear – and it was like new by the time I was finished.  I kept the dehumidifier going during this process, and there was never an odor or too much moisture in the room.

I try to think of this experience every time bad luck comes our way.  When a disaster strikes you can bet “The Professionals” will be there to rescue you… but at what cost?  They’ll charge you whatever they want because they’ll see you in a desperate position.  Next time, try to keep calm and think about how you might be able to fix it yourself.  Sure, you may still have to fork over some dough, but it will likely be less and you may walk away with some extra tools to maintain your home.

I am now the proud owner of a great Dehumidifier and a super Steam Cleaner!  I can now maintain my carpets myself with minimal cost and I can see the grime being removed.  I also have the luxury of being able to clean the carpets four times a year instead of two, making it a much healthier place for my family to live.  The Dehumidifier also comes in handy when we want to switch off the air conditioning and hang out in the basement on hot days – takes that stickiness right out of the air!

The Fake-It Yourself Breakdown:

Fake Stanley Steemer Carpet Repair ($125 Dehumidifier, $160 Steam Carpet Cleaner)

 Total Fake-It Cost $285.00
 Real Stanley Steemer Flood Damage Repair (Drying, Relaying & Stretching $1000, Cleaning $300)
 Total Fake-It Yourself Savings $1,138.00


  1. What kind of steam cleaner do you have? I have three dogs and really need to do this!


  2. We also had a double disaster flood each 8 months apart. First one was covered by insurance because it was a sewer back up. Professionals were needed. Second one was a broken dishwasher hot water line. We figured insurance would be canceled that soon after the first flood. A friend told us she doesn't know why but if you can suck most of the water out of the carpet , you then purchase the humongous bags of Arm and Hammer Baking Soda from Costco or Sams and sprinkle liberally on the carpet. Add fans and dehumidifier and Presto! no mold or stink! It worked!

  3. Well, I think the problem in the first place is that the professional you hired didn’t do what he was supposed to do. When you seek professional help, it would be advisable to do extensive research not only about the quality of work they do, but about the reputation of the company as well. That way, you would know that your money is worth it. Anyway, it is good that you can clean the carpet by yourself. That would certainly save you a lot of money.

    @Jackelyn Lippard

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

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