Unusual source for moisture all over carpet on 3 levels of a home.

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wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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#1
I did a very small job for a lady today who recent had a toilet back up due to heavy rains in her lower level of a split level home with 3 floors. Due to the fact it's been there too long and mold is growing. I will not attempt to clean that part for her and I think it really needs pulled and replaced. This water was only in one small area of the basement hall right next to the bathroom where it backed up and got sewer water into the carpet. I pulled out my moisture meter just to see how far it spread even though I was not there for the water damage as she intends to replace it and I agreed. The weird thing is I kept getting moisture readings everywhere I checked. That includes not just 2 rooms and hall in the basement, but 2 flights of stairs and the carpet on the main level and upper level also gave significant moisture readings pretty much all over. Although she does have a dog it didn't explain what I was seeing in there.

Here's what I am pretty sure caused it. She uses a little Hoover Steam Vac machine on a fairly regular basis. I am pretty well certain that machine has been leaving behind too much water in the carpets and letting it soak into the padding. This has been going on for at least several years. Everywhere she has cleaned with that machine sets off a moisture probe. Only the areas where she has never cleaned with it did not. It's even on all the steps going to the basement and to the second level. That machine must be doing a lousy job of extraction to leave the carpet that wet for that long. There really is no other explanation I can come with for what I saw today. She said she has used this machine about every other month for several years.

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OldCarpetVet

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#5
Randy....Just a thought....old pet urine in carpet pad will register a beep with a moisture detector as well and long after the carpet was treated with a pet stain remover. Did she ever have pets? Is she the original owner of that carpet?
I find it hard to believe someone could use that Hoover machine successfully on steps. But hey, ya never know right? Good detective work. Process of elimination buddy.
 

OldCarpetVet

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#6
Ahhh.....Just noticed that machine does have a hose attachment so yeah....I sse what you mean about her using it on the steps.
 

sbsscn

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#7
I think youre on the right track.
I have also ran into a similar situation except it turned out the customer was using salt, and diatomaceous earth which where attracting moisture ( a desiccant)
 

wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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#9
Ahhh.....Just noticed that machine does have a hose attachment so yeah....I sse what you mean about her using it on the steps.
Yes the machine does have a stair and upholstery attachment. Every single step going to both levels had moisture. Don't think I can blame the dog for that one! :) Virtually all open areas in every room gave me a moisture reading no matter where I put it accept for areas blocked off by furniture. I have seen severe dog urine contamination many times and I use a moisture probe on almost all urine jobs. This was different in that the dog would either have had to literally urinate thousands of times or the machine, because of weak vacuum, was actually spreading the urine around rather than removing it. At any rate, if she'd called me at least a couple times a year she wouldn't have all that moisture in there. I've never seen anything quite like this one. She claimed it has been at least 3 weeks since she used the machine other than perhaps the area with the toilet backup. I have seen situations where the customer tried to clean it themselves with a Rug Dr. or something and just spread a bunch of urine contamination around making the moisture probe useless, but I don't think that happened this time.
 

wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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#10
Yep. It's difficult to get customers to understand they arnt really helping by doing it themselves.
Believe me, I've seen many people do more harm than good by trying to do it themselves with both store bought and rental machines. Either they soak the carpet so bad it stays wet for days or they have a bright idea to use some cleaner never intended for carpet in the first place.

I'll never forget one in particular. She was a renter and tried to get all her deposit back. She rented a machine and tried to clean it herself. Keep in mind, this was fairly new nylon carpet in very good condition. Hadn't been down even a year I don't think. She decided for some unknown reason to put Joy dish washing liquid and bleach in the machine to clean that nylon carpet. :eek: I think you probably know what happened. The landlord wanted me to save it, but it was impossible.
 

Luky

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#11
Just in recent days I has situation, when I spend 3 hours cleaning 3 rooms. Granted, they were bigger ( over 400 sqf). Carpet wasn't done in 18 years( that's a record for me)
Family refused my offer to clean stairs and second floor bedrooms( remodeling allegedly) As I was collecting my air movers and try to make my way out through the bunch of stored furniture in the foyer, someone pulled shampooing " device" and asked me to set it up for them. I have politely declined. I was told that they used " ideal" mix with a vinegar, dish detergent and water. Finally, my question, why was my machine choking up on foam I didn't put down in the first place, was finally answered.
 

OldCarpetVet

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#12
Believe me, I've seen many people do more harm than good by trying to do it themselves with both store bought and rental machines. Either they soak the carpet so bad it stays wet for days or they have a bright idea to use some cleaner never intended for carpet in the first place.

I'll never forget one in particular. She was a renter and tried to get all her deposit back. She rented a machine and tried to clean it herself. Keep in mind, this was fairly new nylon carpet in very good condition. Hadn't been down even a year I don't think. She decided for some unknown reason to put Joy dish washing liquid and bleach in the machine to clean that nylon carpet. :eek: I think you probably know what happened. The landlord wanted me to save it, but it was impossible.
Randy....I had a customer that tried using Brillo pads to get spots out, so there is nothing that I won't believe anymore. I mean....how are some peoples brains working??????
 

wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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#15
Just in recent days I has situation, when I spend 3 hours cleaning 3 rooms. Granted, they were bigger ( over 400 sqf). Carpet wasn't done in 18 years( that's a record for me)
Family refused my offer to clean stairs and second floor bedrooms( remodeling allegedly) As I was collecting my air movers and try to make my way out through the bunch of stored furniture in the foyer, someone pulled shampooing " device" and asked me to set it up for them. I have politely declined. I was told that they used " ideal" mix with a vinegar, dish detergent and water. Finally, my question, why was my machine choking up on foam I didn't put down in the first place, was finally answered.
I cleaned a carpet in the early 90's that according to the customer had NEVER been cleaned since it was put down in 1962 If I remember correctly. She was the owner and had lived there the whole time so I guess she knew what she was talking about. That's my record! I hope I never break it cause that thing was incredibly hard to remove all that oxidized soil.
 
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crash1big

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#16
Might be that they sprinkled baking soda and that might be why the probe encountered moisture. I'd be interested in knowing what the humidity levels are in those areas.
 
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wandwizard

Randy Dockins
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#17
Might be that they sprinkled baking soda and that might be why the probe encountered moisture. I'd be interested in knowing what the humidity levels are in those areas.
I just called her about what you said and guess what? You NAILED IT!!! What you said did make a lot of sense when I read it and it turns out she's been sprinkling Carpet Fresh all over that carpet, including the stairs, FOR YEARS! IMHO, that stuff is near impossible to really get it completely out even with a really good vacuum followed by a good, thorough cleaning. No telling how much is down in the base of that carpet.

I think that when she uses her little machine it's re-wetting the Carpet Fresh that has not been removed either by vacuuming or her cleaning and that is why it's staying damp for so long. She has no unusual humidity problem in her home from what I can tell. I instructed her not to use either the Carpet Fresh or do anything with her little machine other than maybe occasional spot removal. She also purchased a dehumidifier that may help eventually. I don't think there is any quick fix to this problem other than replacing all the carpet which I don't think she can afford at this time.

Btw, the only humidity reading I have is what her dehumidifier gave which was 45%.