What are the Water Damage Categories?

What are the Water Damage Categories

Water damage can be one of the biggest issues that homeowners in the Lexington region face. There are a variety of ways that water damage can occur given the many sources of water that could cause flooding in a property. Water damage can be caused by external flooding from a natural waterway such as an overflown river or lake but it can also come from sources inside the home. These can include burst pipes, faulty appliances and overflown sinks, tubs, or toilets. Sewer system problems are also a common cause of water damage to properties in the Lexington area.

Water damage can be generally divided into three categories that are based on the contamination level of the water. Whenever water damage does strike your property, you can count on the services of our team of water damage restoration professionals here at ServiceMaster Fire & Water Damage Restoration. We are the service experts that Lexington area property owners rely on the help them get their properties back to their pre-damage condition.

Since addressing water damage as quickly as possible is key, our services are available 24/7. You can count on us to use our extensive knowledge along with our vast number of resources to quickly assess the situation and put a plan together to tackle it.

Table of Contents

What are the Three Categories of Water Damage?

There are three categories of water damage that you should know about. They have been designated by the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC). The institute is a non-profit that sets standards for the inspection, cleaning, and restoration industries.

Category 1 Water Damage: Clean Water Damage

The first water damage category is clean water damage. The IIRC considers this to be the least severe of the three categories. This type of water damage is caused by water that came from the main supply lines such as sinks and bathtubs that have overflown or pipes that have burst. It can also include various appliance issues. The primary reason that this category is considered to be less severe/dangerous is that it involves relatively clean water free of toxins/sewage. The majority of items that have sustained category 1 water damage can be dried and restored without any potential side effects for the homeowner.

Category 2 Water Damage: Grey Water Damage

The second of the three water damage categories is grey water damage. This refers to water damage that was caused by water that originated from appliances such as washing machines and toilets. It also includes water damage that was caused by sump pump backups. Though category 2 grey water does not pose an immediate danger to humans, any items affected by it must be removed and disinfected completely. This is because the water could include waste and chemicals that could prove harmful at some point down the line.

Category 3 Water Damage: Black Water Damage

The final of the three water damage categories is black water damage. This is the most severe/dangerous of the three categories and requires rapid action to mitigate serious risks to your health. Black water includes water that originated from rising flood waters as well as water sources such as seawater, sewage, and groundwater. It can contain a wide range of dangerous waste products, chemicals, bacteria, and dangerous objects. If your property has suffered from category 3 water damage, all affected materials must be removed from your property. After your home has been dried out, it will need to undergo a significant, comprehensive disinfecting process.

What Should You Do If You Have Water Damage In Your Home

  1. Contact Your Insurance Company: The first step that you need to take after water damage has struck your property is to call your homeowners’ insurance provider. They will send out an adjuster to assess the damage that has occurred. You need to document the value of all items that have been damaged and take as many photos as you can before, during, and upon completion of the cleanup process.
  1. Take Steps to Protect Yourself as Well as Your Valuables: Ensuring that you and your family are safe is priority number one after water damage has occurred. You also want to take steps to protect your valuables and appliances. A few things that you can do include:   
    • Turn off your power
    • Wear protective gear      
    • Take steps to protect your valuables (Remove rugs from wet flooring, lift wood furniture off of wet carpet areas) 
  1. Begin Water Damage Mitigation, Repair, and Restoration Immediately: When possible, water damage restoration should begin within the initial 24 to 48 hours of you being given the OK to re-enter your home. Getting assistance from trained water damage professionals is essential in cases where the damage is too extensive for you to address on your own. 
  1. Take Steps to Dry Out Water Damage/Remove Humidity: If you decide to begin the process of drying your property out yourself, you should wear protective gear. You need to determine what is salvageable and discard any items too damaged to be saved. You can use buckets to remove standing water and mops to absorb it in hard-to-reach spots. A wet-dry vacuum is also a helpful tool as well as a dehumidifier. Floor fans can help you to dry out your property as well.
  1. Identify Any Mold Issues: Mold can begin to develop within 24 hours of water damage occurring. This adds to the importance of removing items damaged by water so that they can dry. If significant amounts of mold are identified, it is best to let trained professionals deal with it.
  1. Determine What Can Be Restored After Water Damage Occurs: It is often necessary to replace flooring and drywall as well as broken possessions after water damage occurs. In cases where major construction work is required, it is your best bet to hire professional service providers.
  1. Return to Your Home: As soon as your water damage restoration service provider, your insurance company, and your local government (if the damage was the result of a natural disaster) have given you the ok, you can move back into your fully restored, clean, and mold-free property!

Contact ServiceMaster For Help, Today!

If your Lexington, KY area property has sustained water damage, our team here at ServiceMaster Fire & Water Damage Restoration is ready to help. Contact our water damage mitigation, repair, and restoration experts today by phone or through our online contact page. We are ready to get to work helping you return your property back to its pre-damage condition!