Knowing the Different Types of Water Damage is Important…
Water damage is best defined as any one of the numerous possible losses caused by the intrusion of water. Water can attack and destroy a material or system through the rotting of wood, rusting of steel or metal, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, as well as the destruction of heating and electrical systems. It can also provide the necessary platform for mold growth. Water damage may occur quickly as the result of a flash flood, or slowly over time as the result of a leaky pipe or broken window seal. Either one can cause significant damage if not treated promptly.
It can be clean, dirty, or anywhere in between. Knowing what kind of water problem you have will go a long way towards telling you how to fix it. You should understand the various categories of water and why they are classified as such.
Water Damage Categories…
The type of water damage you have and its treatment depends largely on the category of water involved. According to the IICRC S500 Standards and Reference Guide for Water Damages, water damage is typically defined by one of the three following categories:
- Category 1 Water Also known as Clean Water, this is water that is uncontaminated at the source and as such does not pose a threat if exposed to or consumed by humans or animals. Broken water lines or overflowing tubs or sinks would be examples of Clean Water.
- Category 2 Water Also known as Grey Water, this water may contain some varying degrees of contaminants at the source and may cause discomfort or illness if exposed to or consumed by humans or animals. Examples of Grey Water would include toilet water with urine present, sump pump failures, and discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.
- Category 3 Water Also known as Black Water, this refers to water that is highly contaminated at the source and may cause serious illness or even death if consumed by humans or animals. This water contains grossly unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, and is usually the result of sewage based spills. Other sources may include seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water.
Keep in mind that no Category is permanent, and Category 1 Water may become Category 2 Water if left untreated long enough. Likewise, Category 2 Water should be considered Category 3 if left standing and stagnant for more the 72 hours. Water damage containing Category 2 or 3 water is best handled by a professional in order to avoid potential health issues