This is not the first time I have had this happen. The first brew we made had the stopper and air lock completely blown off the carboy. Thankfully this time, the air lock has kept itself in the carboy. I did my best to clean around the air lock to prevent any type of infection. I decided to leave the air lock on for the night. I took the cap off the top of the air lock as the small holes were all clogged up (seen below).
I read several posts yesterday about clogged air locks. Most of the posts said to throw away the air locks as they are pretty much useless during primary fermentation. As for the one I have, the S-shaped air lock, experts say it is impossible to clean out properly once clogged.
The best method I read that is used for primary fermentation is to wrap aluminum foil around the top of the carboy, or use a blow-off hose for the first few days. Once fermentation seems to die down, then put a air lock on the carboy (I can see why...). I will be doing one or the other with the next batch (maybe even tonight).The good thing... this happens all the time, and it does not ruin the batch. This happened because we have a very active fermentation and very active yeast. There is so much CO2 coming out of the carboy, that there is no chance of any contaminates entering the carboy. Since fermentation should be nearing its end, I think it will be ok leaving the air lock on top, as long as it does not clog more.