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What are the Categories of Water and Classifications of Water Damage?

Water damage is one of the worst disasters that can strike a home. It is not just your belongings that can be severely damaged, but there is also a direct risk to your health.

There are multiple sources of water damage. It could be something inside the house such as a broken pipe or a clogged toilet, or a result of a natural disaster like a flood.

The longer the water stays inside a building, the more difficult it becomes to restore it to its pristine and safe state, which is why detecting a plumbing leak early can save your home. Categories of water and water damage also directly determine how complicated (and costly) the water damage restoration process will be.

Fortunately, not all water damage is catastrophic but however big and serious it is, we should all know how to classify it, take action accordingly, and eventually commit to restoration with the help of experienced professionals like KIC Restoration.

There is a number of different scenarios depending on the type of water and the extent of the damage. That is why, when talking about water damage, there are three categories of water and four classifications of water damage.

In this article, we will explain how to categorize and classify water damage.

The Three Categories of Water

Categorization deals with how dangerous water is to humans, and depending on the amount and type of contamination, according to IICRC, it can be divided into 3 categories

First Category

This is your standard, sanitized, drinkable water that poses no direct threat to health, but depending on different things it might come in contact with, there is no certain guarantee that you are absolutely safe from category 1.

Second Category

This category of water has been contaminated and direct contact with it is not recommended. It is a breeding ground for microorganisms and in fact, it might contain matter of both chemical and organic origin.

Third Category

The highest level of contamination. This water is very harmful and it might contain toxins, pathogens, pesticide, toxic waste, heavy metals, toxic organic matter, etc. According to the CDC, contaminated water could contain dangerous diseases like Salmonella, Hepatitis A, E. Coli, and others.

We can’t stress how important it is to stay away from such water enough. If you really have to come in contact, then the proper equipment is required.

The Four Classifications of Water Damage

This part of the article deals with the amount of damage done to the property. According to IICRC, it can be divided into 4 classes.

Class 1 Water Damage

The smallest amount of water in contact with materials with good absorption. Only a small area is affected and the water can either be absorbed or evaporate. It only affects a part of a room, and it can be dealt with quickly to prevent further damage. The cost of water damage restoration for a Class 1 Water Damage is usually inexpensive.

Class 2 Water Damage

This is a bigger amount of water where the whole room is affected. Woodwork suffers the most damage. The entire floor is affected and the water starts climbing the walls, but it does not go higher than 24 inches. It takes a bit longer to dry out moisture from structural materials or any space beneath the flooded area. Apart from that, repairing Class 2 Water Damage is more costly than the previous category, due to the fact that it affects a larger area.

Class 3 Water Damage

The highest amount of water which usually comes from above, for example, if a pipe breaks and starts leaking, or a big flood. These situations pose a direct danger to human lives. Water pours in quickly and the best course of action is to evacuate as quickly as possible and contact authorities for help, as well as your insurance company.

Because of this, Class 3 Water Damage restoration should be done by a professional. Otherwise, you might risk your own health due to the development of bacteria and mold as a result of the exposure to the water. Therefore, Class 3 Water Damage restoration might also involve calling in mold removal experts, further ramping up the price.

Class 4 Water Damage

This refers to water that has stayed in an area for a long time and affected materials which are usually more resistant like hardwood, concrete, stone, etc. The amount of exposure is in this case enough to endanger the structure of a building and can result in a ruined property.

The moisture levels are also critical at this point, and a professional water damage restoration company needs to dry it using special equipment.

When it comes to dealing with water damage, time is not on your side and the longer the water stays in one place, the more it becomes susceptible to various elements. It can go from category 1 to 2 or 3 in a matter of days.

However big water damage is, it is important to react quickly and contact professionals and authorities to help you find the best water damage solutions. The longer you wait, the worse it gets.

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