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Water Restoration 101: Water Damage Categories

Water damage and flooding of any kind can come from many different sources, and, depending on what the source is, the area will need to be cleaned, treated, and sanitized differently. Protect yourself and your family by understanding the difference in water damage categories and knowing when to avoid stagnant water.

Category 1: Clean Water

Category 1 flood damage refers to any type of water damage that occurs from a source that is non-toxic and not dangerous to humans. This includes water supply lines from faucets, dishwashers, washing machines, toilets, or water heaters. When treated quickly, flooding due to clean water can be a much easier clean-up and sometimes the flooring, walls, and other non-porous materials can be dried out and saved.

Remember, the best way to prevent further damage to your home is to clean up any water damage within 24-48 hours. For more information on our water restoration services call


Category 2: Gray Water

Gray water contains a significant degree of biological, chemical, and/or physical contaminant that can be dangerous to your health. Often times category 2 flooding comes from toilet bowls with urine, water discharge from washing machines or dishwashers, sump pump failures, or any other water that should go through the sanitation system. Areas that are contaminated by a category 2 flood will have to be properly decontaminated, dried out, and sanitized before it is safe to use these areas.

When in doubt, it is always best to avoid standing, walking, and coming into contact with stagnant water, especially when you don't know where it came from.

Category 3: Black Water

Category 3, black-water flooding comes from an unsanitary source that contains harmful bacteria and fungi which can make you and your family very sick. Black water flooding usually happens when there is a sewage back up in your sink or toilet, however, flooding from seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, and ground surface water can also be labeled a category 3 flood. This type of water damage requires specialized equipment and certified technicians in order to ensure the area is properly sanitized and safe for use.

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