The 3 Different Types of Water Damage

If your business has sustained water damage, you may not give much thought as to what type of water caused the harm. All you want to think about is how to get your space back to normal.

In fact, the type of water that caused the damage is a critical element of creating the right restoration plan. If your floors and furniture were soaked by contaminated water, the procedures used during cleanup will differ from those used when clean water is involved. Read on to learn more about the three types of water damage a business can sustain and how they are treated.

Category 1 Water Damage

Category 1 water is also referred to as “clean” water. It can still do a lot of damage to your property, but there are no underlying environmental concerns when you experience flooding or leakage from clean water. What produces clean water? Sources include:

  • Water heaters
  • Pipes
  • Toilet tanks
  • Refrigerator water lines

Clean water can soak through floors and damage drywall. Mold may start to form in just 24 hours, so you need to seek assistance immediately to dehumidify and dry the area. Once it is dry, you can begin cleanup.

Category 2 Water Damage

Category 2 water damage comes from so-called “grey water,” which is no longer clean due to the presence of chemical or biological contaminants. If someone drinks grey water, they will get sick. Sources of grey water include:

  • Dishwashers
  • Showers
  • Washing machines
  • Feces-free toilet water

The drying process is similar to category 1 water damage. Category 2 also requires cleaning and disinfection, focusing on sterilization of any area that has had contact with the grey water. Once these zones have been sterilized, with bacteria and other contaminants removed, final cleanup can begin. Taking quick action on grey water will save you headaches down the line. If it sits for more than 24 hours, category 2 water can become “black water” and grow even more harmful.

Category 3 Water Damage

Category 3 water damage is caused by black water, which contains toxic things such as disease-causing organisms, pathogenic substances, dangerous chemicals and other harmful materials. Sources of black water include:

  • Sewage
  • Ground surface water
  • Runoff from hurricanes or other weather events
  • Flooding from streams or rivers
  • Toilet water with feces

Black water can cause the worst damage to your business. Cleanup requires the use of personal protective equipment, with your priority becoming the extraction of the dirty water from the room.

Next, the affected areas should be dried and any mold buildup extracted. The whole area must be sanitized, but some things will not be salvageable. Soaked drywall, rugs, upholstery and carpeting, as well as any other porous materials, should be thrown out. You could get very sick or even die from ingesting black water, so approach it with caution.

Better yet, get the restoration assistance you need from a professional. At URI, we have dealt with all types of water damage and can help with restoration. Get in touch today to learn more about our services.


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