Water damage is water damage, right? Nope. It often comes as a surprise to homeowners that there are various types of water damage, each requiring a specialized cleanup process.
Read on to learn how varied the problem can be and what to do. And please make sure you have water damage, flood, and “Act of God” insurance protection going forward.
Types? What Types?
When it comes to types of water damage, some people assume you’re talking about HOW the damage was caused. What it comes down to is the type of water and what it has compromised.
Water damage and clean-up is broken down into three categories of water type. Each type requires a different professional water damage response.
- Category 1 – Clean
- Category 2 – Gray
- Category 3 – Black
Category 1 – Damage By Clean Water
Clean water damage is by far the simplest to deal with. Clean water is simply water that has not been treated with anything and is free of chemicals and bio-waste. It’s still very destructive, but doesn’t generally carry pathogens and immediate health dangers. Instances of clean water damage include, but aren’t limited to:
- burst pipes
- sink overflow
- bathtub overflow
- toilet stoppage (without waste)
- roof leaks.
Clean-up is about soaking up and removing the water, then drying out everything as quickly as possible. A professional water damage response service is the best answer because it has all the knowledge, experience and equipment to carry out remediation quickly. Slow response will inevitably lead to mold forming.
Category 2 – Damage By Gray Water
Gray water is in some way contaminated but not necessarily toxic (yet). This type of water damage can come from something like a broken dishwasher or washing machine, where the water contains stuff like detergent. It also includes water that has been sitting an extended period of time, so microbes may have had time to grow and reproduce, which could lead to mold and fungus growth.
Clean-up requires rubber gloves and a facemask. Again, professionals are the way to go because they can do the job faster and can check for areas where the gray water may have settled and soaked in. Excess water has to be soaked up before heavy-duty fans are put in place for drying. Accredited, bonded and insured professionals are who should deal with soaked flooring and baseboards, wet wood, damaged carpets and the like.
Category 3 – Black Water Damage
This is the worst. Of the three types of water damage, this is the one you should take no chances with and call the water damage experts immediately.
Category 3 black water comes from:
- natural disasters like floods
- broken sewage pipes
- blocked and overflowing toilets
- pesticide leaks
- oil spills
- anything that carries chemicals, toxins, sewage, petroleum products, etc.
The first thing to do is call specialists with an emergency response service. Cleaning up this kind of water damage is the most costly and time-consuming because of the health risks and because it will require more major restoration for your home. Talk to your insurance company as well. Say goodbye to carpets and other flooring (may include the plywood underneath it all), may also include wood studs and joists, basically anything that has been touched by the black water.
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