When you wake up to a flooded bathroom, you may not be thinking about what caused the water damage, but this can entirely change the nature of the cleanup and how it impacts your health.
There are three categories of water damage, which are based on the source of the water. While all are serious and need immediate intervention, some should only be handled by a professional water damage restoration team, while others are safe to interact with by the average person. No matter the type, though, working with professionals like TN Flood Kings is your best bet for peace of mind.
In this article, we’d like to provide you with a brief overview of the water damage categories, some example sources for each, and what you should know about the cleanup process.
Why Do You Need to Know About the Different Categories of Water?
Even if you’re never going to be a water damage restoration expert, it’s essential that every homeowner or business owner have knowledge of water damage categories in order to know how to protect themselves should they come across flooding or a burst pipe.
This can ensure that you take the appropriate precautions before calling TN Flood Kings so that you don’t face any adverse health risks.
The Three Categories of Water Damage
There are three categories of water damage, each of which comes from different places. While the sources are diverse, we’ll list some of the common potential sources.
Category 1 Water: Sanitary (Clean Water)
This comes from a sanitary water source and is now being pumped into your home. You can assume that clean water is relatively safe for you to interact with, and you won’t need to take special precautions during the water damage cleaning process. Here are the most common sources:
- Leaking pipes or water supply lines
- Broken toilet tank
- Overflowing toilet without contaminants
- Melting ice or snow
Category 2 Water: Significantly Contaminated (Grey Water)
This water damage has significant contamination, either from microorganisms or detergents, and can pose serious health risks if handled by humans. Don’t handle it on your own – TN Flood Kings technicians have special protective equipment to deal with this water damage. Common sources include:
- Sump pump failure
- Ground water seepage in basements or foundations
- Appliance malfunctions, like from a dishwasher or washing machine
- Overflowing toilet with urine
- Sprinkler systems on a commercial property
- Fire hose water
- Leakage from water beds
- Broken aquariums
It’s important to note that Category 2 water may not actually appear contaminated, unlike Category 3 water. You need to consider the originating source, rather than appearance, when determining if you need protective gear to address the water damage.
Category 3 Water: Grossly Contaminated (Black Water)
In this category of water damage, we have water that is severely contaminated and poses a substantial risk to humans’ health. It may be contaminated with harmful agents like pathogens, detergents, or toxic chemicals, and you should never interact with it unless you have IICRC certification like technicians at Flood Kings.
Category 3 water requires significant sanitization and is much harder to restore.
Common sources for black water damage include:
- Sewage or septic backup
- Wastewater backup
- Runoff from farms or chemical plants
- Flood waters
- Rising water from streams or rivers
- Overflowing toilet bowls with feces
- Rain from hurricanes or tropical storms
If you encounter black water, you need to decontaminate yourself immediately and call in experts who have the proper training in handling Category 3 water damage.
Whether Category 1 water from a broken pipe or structural damage from flooding, our IICRC-certified technicians have the right training and equipment to handle any type of water damage!
Fast intervention can limit the damage caused, so we encourage you to take action immediately and call your Flood Kings if you experience water damage.
Specialty Drying Situations
When our Flood Kings are making an action plan for a water damage situation, we consider whether we’re dealing with Category 1, Category 2, or Category 3, but we also think about the affected materials.
While many affected materials can be salvaged, particularly with Category 1 water or Category 2 water damage, some will need more extensive drying and may need to be thrown away.
Insulation and carpet padding are two materials that almost always need to be tossed, as they are incredibly difficult, if not possible, to dry out, and they can encourage mold growth.
Drywall also needs to be thrown away if it experiences water damage. Thankfully, these materials are relatively inexpensive to replace
Plaster, brick, and concrete require special drying techniques because they are relatively porous; it takes time and expertise to fix the water damage.
When it comes to black water damage, almost all of the affected items have to be thrown away. Category 3 water is nothing to mess with and should always be dealt with pros like TN Flood Kings.
Category Deterioration and the Importance of Cleaning Fast
Clean water doesn’t stay clean for long: Category 1 water will quickly degrade into Category 2 water if not dealt with immediately.
Never let standing water sit for long as the contamination will get worse. It will also seep into all materials it touches, which can cause structural damage to your walls and floors. Call TN Flood Kings right away when you see standing water.
What Types of Water Damage Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Insurance companies don’t consider categories of water when determining coverage from water loss; instead, they think about the cause of the water damage.
Most of the time, your policy only covers water damage that was “sudden and accidental,” meaning that you didn’t cause it.
For example, if your washing machine broke down because you kept overloading it, that wouldn’t be covered, but if it suddenly malfunctioned even with good maintenance, that can be covered.
Flood Kings will always work with your insurance company to ensure you get everything covered that should be.
Flood Water Damage Is Usually Not Covered
Because the water damage caused by flooding is so extensive, this is usually not covered by insurance. This unfortunately means that you will probably have to pay out of pocket for water damage from flooding unless you have flood insurance.
Fortunately, FEMA has a National Flood Insurance Program that offers affordable but comprehensive coverage to help those whose property is at risk for flood water damage.