Water Damage Restoration

How Serious is Your Water Damage?

This is why it’s important to get professional help in a water damage emergency.

Because of the seriousness associated with health effects and water damage, The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning, and Restoration Certification (IICRC) categorizes water damage based on the cleanliness of the water, to help water damage restoration companies, home owners, and all other interested parties make decisions on what action would be appropriate. The first priority is to provide for the health and safety of everyone involved and then to restore the home to its pre-loss condition.

Here are some of the changes that can take place in a water damaged environment:

  1. chemical and microbiological off-gassing
  2. mold and bacteria growth
  3. in some cases, virus transmission
  4. parasitic infestations

Obviously you will want to prevent this. So first you need to understand what category of water damage you have.

Here are the three categories of a water damage:

  1. Category 1, refers to “water originating from a source that does not pose substantial harm to humans. Also referred to as ‘clean water’.”;
  2. Category 2, refers to “water containing a significant degree of chemical, biological and/or physical contamination and having the potential to cause discomfort or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans. Also referred to as ‘gray water’.”; and,
  3. Category 3, refers to “grossly unsanitary water, containing pathogenic agents, arising from sewage or other contaminated water sources and having the likelihood of causing physical distress or sickness if consumed by or exposed to humans. This category includes all forms of seawater, ground surface water and rising water from rivers or streams. Also referred to as ‘black water’.”

Some people ask, if they have Category 3 water damage, does that mean they have hidden mold?

Remember that the Category of water is referring to the cleanliness of the water not the presence or absence of mold.

So how do you know what Category of water damage you have, and whether or not to get all of this demolition and reconstruction done that a water damage restoration company may say you need?

You can have your building materials tested and screened to diagnose the condition of your water damaged environment, and provide you with a recommendation.

The good news is that you can do things to help avoid water damage in your home or office with routine maintenance. Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Regularly check and secure water supply lines, such as those under sinks, around toilets, tubs and showers, the dishwasher, washing machine, water heater, and refrigerator.
  2. If you have one, make sure to test your sump pump before the start of each wet season to make sure that it is working properly.
  3. Battery-operated back-up sump pumps and/or a generator can also be used to protect against power failure or failure of the primary pump.
  4. Check your water heater for signs of rust or moisture or leaks.
  5. Have your HVAC system serviced by a qualified contractor, making sure they include in their inspection and cleaning the condensation pan drain line (keep it free of obstruction).
  6. Consider installing a water alarm. These systems can be set up as individual appliance systems or whole house systems. Some systems can be set up to sound an alarm when moisture is sensed, others can shut off the water to the building when leak is detected.
  7. Repair running or leaking toilets quickly.
  8. Get help if you see any water stains on walls or ceiling

But if you have the unfortunate experience of having a water damage in your home or office, make sure to CALL A PROFESSIONAL to process the damage quickly and completely. Water damaged environments can be impacted by mold and other microbes as quickly as 24 – 72 hours.

So it’s important to get help quickly and avoid further damage or an unsafe health environment.


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