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Water Damage Categories

Water damage in the home doesn’t have to come in the form of a severe flood or major storm in order to be a significant damage event.  The presence of long term water damage can be the cause of very expensive repair costs even if very little actual water is involved. Even a little bit of water can cause damage to flooring, drywall, ceilings, carpets, as well as electrical and HVAC systems. Regarding the latter, qualified technicians will have to be called in to make sure these systems are safe for continued operation.

They type of water damage involved will also dictate exactly what kind of water damage repairs will be needed to correct and remediate the problem. Water comes in three basic categories, and knowing the type of water you are dealing with will tell you exactly what steps need to be taken in order to prevent any future long term problems that may arise. These problems may include problems such as mold, which can establish itself in less than 72 hours following a water damage event. Mold spreads rapidly and may be very difficult to remove. Mold removal is almost always best undertaken by a professional.

There are three basic types of water damage that you may have to deal with:

Clean Water, also known as Category 1 Water, this is water that is uncontaminated from its source and poses no health threats to humans or animals if exposed to or consumed by them.  An overflowing sink or tub, or a broken incoming water line would be examples of Clean Water.  Clean Water may be properly treated through water extraction and the drying of all affected surfaces.

Grey Water, also known as Category 2 Water, this is water that may contain some contaminants at the source and may cause some discomfort or illness if exposed to or consumed by humans or animals.  Grey Water may come from washing machine or dishwasher discharge, toilet runoff (urine only), or sump pump failures.

Black Water, also known as Category 3 Water, this is water that is heavily contaminated at the source and may cause serious illness if exposed to or consumed by humans.  Black water is best described as grossly unsanitary and is almost exclusively comprised of sewage based components such as feces. Black Water will also contain any number of fungi, bacteria, viruses and parasites.  Black Water damage is extremely hazardous and will always require professional water damage restoration services to properly clean up.

Remember that none of these categories are permanent. Clean Water may become Grey Water if left untreated long enough, same for Grey Water becoming Black Water. The deterioration of the situation is one of the main reasons that any water damage problem should be promptly addressed. Damage restoration should always be carried out by a professional.

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