Types of Water Damage

Many people don’t realise that water damage can be categorised into different types – some more dangerous than others. It’s vital to determine which type of water damage is affecting your property so you can ensure the job is handled properly. Below, The Squeaky Clean Team outlines the three types of water damage you need to know about.

Category 1 – Clear Water

A Category 1 water damage situation refers to a situation where water has originated from a relatively clean source that does not pose substantial harm to humans. Examples of Category 1 water damage can include:

  • Broken/leaking hot water system
  • Burst internal pipe
  • Rain that has come inside through an open window

If not promptly removed, clean water has the potential to deteriorate in its cleanliness. This is because microorganisms will start multiplying as it comes in contact with structural surfaces and mixes with other contaminants. If the water is left unattended for more than 48 hours, this can result in an odour and the potential for mould growth.

If attended to within 48 hours, subsequent contamination can be kept to a minimum, and your property – including carpet – can be fully saved and restored. It’s important to remember that despite its innocent sounding name, clear water still requires prompt extraction and drying.

Category 2 – Grey Water

A Category 2 water damage situation is classified as a situation where water has originated from a grey water source. Examples of Category 2 water damage can include:

  • Discharge from a dishwasher/washing machine
  • Overflown toilet bowl that does not contain faeces
  • Overflow from a bath, shower or sink
  • Leaking fish tank
  • Leaking or burst waterbed

Grey water generally contains microorganisms that have the potential to be pathogenic. Varying on how it is stored, grey water can undergo changes in quality. This means that exposure to a grey water source can potentially lead to infection or disease in humans due to the varying levels of microorganisms. If a grey water situation is not rectified promptly, the contamination levels can increase substantially – and if left unattended for a period longer than 48 hours, it could even turn into a Category 3 black water situation. This is why grey water damage requires prompt extraction as well as application of an antibacterial treatment, followed by drying.

Category 3 – Black Water

Category 3 water damage refers to a situation where water has originated from a black water source. Black water poses a very significant threat to human health, as it can contain a wide variety of undesirable pathogens and elements. The severity of the health threat depends on the degree and extent of penetration into the building environment. Examples of Category 3 water damage can include:

  • Sewerage contamination
  • Flood waters that have come into the house from outside

Fast clean-up is of the utmost importance to minimise exposure to the inherent health issues. Total decontamination and sanitisation of all affected surfaces is a must. Many affected surfaces and possessions contaminated with black water can be restored – but you need to know how to decontaminate properly. Fortunately, our experts are equipped with the right knowledge and tools to get the job done.

When black water is present, a site is classified as a biohazard site. It requires extraction and antibacterial treatment of all affected surfaces that are cross contaminated (complying with OH&S recommendations). After decontamination, all affected surfaces should be professionally dried before being reinstalled and recleaned.

Have Questions? Our Team is Just a Call Away

If you’re unsure what type of water damage you’re dealing with, The Squeaky Clean Team is just a phone call away. We can advise you on how to determine the type of water damage, in addition to providing a fast response for professional water damage restoration. We also offer free advice if you’re taking a DIY approach. Call us now on 1300 682 563 to benefit from our experience and expertise.