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Thread: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

  1. #1
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    Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Toilet overflowed the other day (lovely) and a decent amount of water drained into the floor vent. Now, my wife thinks the bathroom smells like standing water and we're obviously concerned about mold. But I have no clue what to do other than trying a wet-vac??? Any Bob Vila's out there that know what to do?????

    Thanks!

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  3. #2
    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Can you get into the ductwork to see if there is any water in there? I would suggest a dehumidifier to suck the moister out of the room. At the very least, keep the air in the bathroom moving to help wick the moisture out.
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  4. #3
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Been there, done that Ed.

    Why did the toilet overflow? Has that problem been rectified?

    If you had much standing water then there is a good possibility that the sub flooring, which is just plywood and acts like a sponge when wet, will retain that water and contribute to the smell.

    It's very hard to get that dried up.

    We had to rip it up in our older home one time when this happened and completely replace the sub flooring and then linoleum.

    It's really not that hard to do. A one day job at most.
    Last edited by GAC; 02-17-2008 at 09:29 PM.
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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    With what's at stake-possible mold-I'd call a service that specializes in water damage.

    Most have an infrared camera that can show you exactly where there is water.

    Then they will set up huge fans to dry it out.

    If they can dry it out you may not need to replace anything at all.

    The first step should be to locate where that water is, and a camera is the only way I know of to find it.

    I would not just let it go as it will never dry on its own.

  6. #5
    I hate the Cubs LoganBuck's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Happened last month here, my two year old son decided to try to wipe himself and flushed about half a roll of toilet paper. He flushed and then my wife found him not knowing he had already tried to flush, and then she flushed, whamo.

    I ran fans up stairs and down stairs, there is no false ceiling in the room below the bathroom in the basement, shop vac-ed the water, and dried everything up. Everything seems ok.

    If it smells swampy that is a bad deal, what GAC described is pretty much worse case, but Dom takes it one step farther and explained the mold. When my brother in law bought his house he discovered the tub had a small crack in it, and the floor in the bathroom was completely ruined, he even had to repair floor joists.
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    Potential Lunch Winner Dom Heffner's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Edskin, just know that you can't see any of this stuff with your eyes. Don't take the chance with water damage- it can have nasty ramifications if you ignore it or think you got it all.

    A Wet-Vac is fine, but it can't get it all.

    If you do anything by yourself, rent the wet-vac along with a heavy duty fan to dry the mess up.

    When our pipes had a leak at the house, the water soaked into the drywall 4 or 5 feet high and we couldn't even see it. They let the fans run all weekend to get it dry.

    Without seeing it, I don't want to make it out worse than it is, but I'd hate to see you do the typical guy thing and think, ehh, it will be alright if I don't do anything, because you never know with water.
    Last edited by Dom Heffner; 02-18-2008 at 12:30 PM.

  8. #7
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    What the guys above are describing/suggesting is absolutely correct. I guess it depends on how much water was flooded onto the floor, and how long it was standing.

    When you say it drained into the floor vent, are you describing the heating vent? Because if there is any residual water in that vent/piping, then any type of air flow will circulate the smell until you get it clean/dried up.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  9. #8
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Thanks for the help everyone.... the floor itself is fine. It's a tile floor and I cleaned up the water immediately-- it didn't stand for more than 30 seconds. My concern was that some water leaked into the heating vent on the floor as GAC mentioned. Yesterday, I took the off the vent lid and stuck my arm down the vent hole as far as it would go. I didn't feel any standing water. I then took a wire hanger and shoved it as far down the vent duct as possible-- came back dry. There was a lot of dirt and debris in there though-- is that an issue? Kinda feels as if the duct itself has fallen apart a bit-- pretty standard I'd imagine for an older home.

    So, from what I can tell, I don't appear to have standing water anywhere near the vent opening-- not to say it isn't standing farther down the line though. I called a heating and air company and they said to pour some bleach down the vent if I was really concerned.

    I think I'm going to leave it for now and eventually get someone out here to look at all my ducts, airways, etc... at once.

  10. #9
    First Time Caller SunDeck's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    I still think it's worth it to rent a dehumidifier for a few days to be on the safe side. You have a confined space and if you run a dehumidifier in there, it is likely to dry it out pretty well.
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  11. #10
    Be the ball Roy Tucker's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by SunDeck View Post
    I still think it's worth it to rent a dehumidifier for a few days to be on the safe side. You have a confined space and if you run a dehumidifier in there, it is likely to dry it out pretty well.
    I'll echo this.

    We had a flooded basement a few years ago. After water-vacuuming the place out, I rented a couple industrial-strength dehumidifiers, cranked those babies up, and let them run a couple days.

    When they were done, the basement was *dry*. We're talking Death-Valley nose-bleed dry.

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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    I too would go with the duhumidifier.

    You could probably buy one cheap enough. Not sure if you would have any use for it beyond this one time. They are great in basements for full time use, if you have one.

  13. #12
    Moderator Tommyjohn25's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    This is my business. I am partial owner of a "Servpro" franchise. As a matter of fact, I just moved to Charlotte, N.C. a few days ago for it. Servpro is a Home Restoration business, ours specializes in water, mold, and smoke damage. The first thing you want to do is contact your insurance company if you believe what has happened is severe enough to file a claim. If so, especially in the case of toilet water (black water), you will want to have it extracted and dried immediatly because of the health hazards involved with water from a toilet, and the possibility of mold. A wet/dry vac should have been sufficient on the tile floor, as it is non-porous and should be easy to dry, however, anything else the water touched, be it a wall, carpet, or clothing should be given professional attention asap as it may need to be removed from the home depending on how "dirty" the toilet water was. The drying process does involve industrial air movers (fans) and industrial de-humidifiers. Most of the time it requires a few of each.

    As far as the ducts go, it depends on you. Do you think that enough of the water got into the ducts to be harmful? If the water was "dirty" then it needs to be addressed. Now I'm not talking about replacing your duct work, but it may need to be professionally cleaned with duct cleaning equipment using "negative air". Which your insurance company, usually, would not have a problem covering due to the health hazards potentially involved with black water.

    Of course this all depends on you. Water can be a sneaky thing, but if you are SURE that it wasn't that much and that it didn't get into the duct work then you are probably fine. If you have doubts, contact your insurance company, even if you don't go with the local Servpro. Do it just for safety sake.

    If you have any other questions, just ask.
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  14. #13
    THAT'S A FACT JACK!! GAC's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Quote Originally Posted by Edskin View Post
    my wife thinks the bathroom smells like standing water
    Do you smell it? Not that one shouldn't trust their wives - but everything smells bad to them - get a second opinion.

    It sounds like the floor, which is tile, is OK. Can you reach this ductwork, other then with a coat hanger? Does it run down through the basement or a crawl space?

    Duct work that old will have dust and dirt in it. If that gets wet then there can be the source of your smell. Pouring bleach can help; but if you can reach the duct work yourself and take a section or two down, then you can save yourself some money and clean it yourself.

    If it's down in the duct work I don't see how a dehumidifier is going to address that problem.
    "panic" only comes from having real expectations

  15. #14
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    TJ- First of all, thanks for the info/advice.

    GAC-- I do not have a basement. As I said, the water didn't stand on the floor for more than 30-60 seconds-- and it never got to the carpet/walls, etc.... so I'm not worried about that. I also don't think very much of it made it down the vent-- my guess is that the dirt and sand I felt when removing the cover probably absorbed most of what did fall in there.

    I never smelled anything , and my wife thinks the smell is pretty much gone. Here's another question...if the smell is gone and we'll assume any water has dried up/evaporated, is there really anything left to do?

  16. #15
    breath westofyou's Avatar
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    Re: Need Home Repair Help FAST!!!

    Do you smell it? Not that one shouldn't trust their wives - but everything smells bad to them - get a second opinion.
    Preach on brother... my wife has a nose that a bloodhound would envy... or so she says.


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