Know Your Enemy - Types Of Water Damage


If there is one thing that has been well established since the inception of this blog, it is the fact that water can be one of the most, if not the most, damaging elements that can affect your home or business.  Water can cause even more destruction than fire, primarily due to its nature as the gift that keeps on giving; water can continue to cause damage for as long as it is allowed to remain untreated.  After a period of only days, your home may be beyond repair.  It therefore becomes vitally important to act quickly.

As difficult as water damage restoration can be, it can become even more so if you\'re not familiar with the type of water you are dealing with.  Most of us mistakenly believe that there is only one kind of water, namely the wet kind, and plowing full speed ahead without all the facts could only serve to make a bad situation worse.

Basically, water is broken down into three distinct categories:

Category 1 Water – commonly referred to as Clean Water, this is water that possesses no contaminants and presents no threat to humans if exposed to or consumed.  Clean Water is normally the product of broken water supply lines, sink or tub overflows, or appliance malfunctions involving water lines.

Category 2 Water – commonly referred to as Grey Water, this is water that may have a certain level of chemical, biological, or physical contaminants, and can cause discomfort or sickness of exposed to or consumed by humans or animals.  Grey Water is the product of toilet bowls with urine, sump pump failures, and discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.

Category 3 Water – commonly referred to as Black Water,  this is water that is highly contaminated at the source, containing unsanitary agents, bacteria, fungi, or parasites, and may cause serious illness or even death if consumed by humans or animals.  Black Water is the product of sewer systems, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, or standing, stagnant water.

Keep in mind that no category is constant….Clean Water may become Grey Water if left untreated long enough, and Grey Water may become Black Water for the same reason.  Typically, these changes can occur if the water is not properly treated within a 48-72 hour window. 

Each category has its own requirements for proper cleanup.  Small Clean Water spills may be effectively remediated by the homeowner; however, Category 3 spills of any size should be addressed by professionals trained in water restoration techniques and procedures.

Of course any kind of water damage can pave the way for additional, long term problems such as mold.  Mold establishes in as little as 48 hours following a water damage event (sooner if you\'re dealing with Category 3 Water), spreads rapidly, and can be the source for all kinds of health problems from mild allergic reactions to neurological disorders, lung disease, and in rare cases, even death.

Water Damage exists for one reason only, to take care of your water damage problems, dry everything out and get your home back to its pre-loss condition as soon as possible.  From water removal and drying, to carpet cleaning and mold removal, to structural repair and restoration, Water Damage providers have the training and experience you need to have your life back.

Don\'t let water or flood damage be the end of your home or business.  Call the professionals at Water Damage today.

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About the Author

Billy D Ritchie is the Director Of Content for LeadsByFone, LLC, a lead generation company servicing the water damage restoration industry.

When not writing and educating folks about the perils of water damage, he is also a freelance writer, sometime actor, and formerly professional musician.  He also enjoys spending his weekends building and flying model rockets.

Visit him online at

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