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Small flood, how do I recover???

Hey guys,

Well, my water heater burst late Saturday night. I didn't hear it, and when we woke up Sunday morning, a quarter of our bedroom floor was soaked, and the entire floor of our new room addition had a 1/2" of water in it.

We live in South Florida, so it's a 2,300 sq-ft single story layout with no basement. The water heater is located in the laundry room inside the home. It leaked through the baseboards, into the bedroom (corner of the room) and into the new room.

That morning, I pulled the water and dryer out. Shut off the main water, drained the water heater, and had a new one installed by the afternoon of the following morning.

I spent all day Sunday drying and cleaning the floors. I vacuumed up all the water I could with a WET / DRY vac.

I pulled the carpet up in my bedroom and spent about 3 hours with a hair dryer and left a big box fan angled at the area.

I had an insurance adjuster come in just to "inspect". We're going to cover everything anyway, but figured we would have our insurance inspect the home for potential major damage since the service is free (they recommend it anyway).

The inspector said I did a good job of drying out the bedroom (floor is carpet), and most of the area around the washer / dryer. The inspector did say it was still a little damp (he used a device) around the base boards in the laundery room (floor is tile). The new room however, he said the baseboards are still wet according to his little meter even though it feels dry. The floor there is tile, and was laid about 6 months ago (so I'm not overly concerned about the tile).

Here's my question, what can I do to help prevent mold and to continue to dry the area in the new room and the laundry room to ensure that everything is dry and that mold does not form?

Any advice is appreciated.


Todd Jaspers
Fort Lauderdale, FL

A. Spruce
Re: Small flood, how do I recover???

Sounds like you were pretty thorough in your clean-up. To go a step further, you can remove the baseboards (assuming wood, leave if tiled ). You could spray the areas down with a bleach solution which will help kill any mold producing bacteria, but to be honest, it shouldn't be that necessary because it was a clean water source that caused the problem, not fetid water or sewage.

Before relaying carpets and pads, make sure they are 100% dry and don't already have a musty odor to them. If they have a musty odor, replace them.

Timothy Miller
Re: Small flood, how do I recover???

Howdy, get a box fan and run it for a few days pointing t word the wet base trim area and at the area where the carpet was wet. This will dry things out. Hope your homeowners insurance did not open a claim because they tend to count these against you.
If any smell you can have a carpet cleaning company spray a fungicide on the area for a minimum charge...

Re: Small flood, how do I recover???

Put a pan with a drain under the water heater so it can't happen again.

Re: Small flood, how do I recover???

Guys, I apologize for not responding back to your advice. I read everything, and I really appreciate it all!

I pulled back the baseboards in the areas where the water had hit the walls. I also bought a fungacidal spray which I used liberally in the area. I ALSO used a box fan like you guys suggested and had it in the area for some time (even after spraying the fungacidal spray). Everything looks good, and I'm going to repaint the area where the laytex paint pulled back when I removed the base boards (yeah... I should have known to use a razor blade to cut the top of the baseboard... I've only seen that a 1000 times on This Old House).

As for the drain pain, I did have an aluminum drain pan installed under the water heater. It does have a drain piece in there, but unfortunately, my house is built on a solid concrete slab (South Florida). No basements... :/

Anyway, thanks again for all the help guys... I appreciate it very much!!!


Re: Small flood, how do I recover???

I’ve seen Rich Trethewey show a sensor that you put in you water heater pan so that when it gets wet it automatically shuts off the water to the water heater. Try Googling “Water Heater Leak Detector”. Here’s one I found:

Water heater leak detector

This will at least limit the amount of water that leaks out if/when your water heater ever leaks or bursts again.

One other thing... there are services for hire that will dry out your house. They feed hot, dry air into your house and pull out the humid air. This will dry it out quickly and help minimize the chance of mold taking hold. But you should do this quickly.

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