Flooding and water damage can be devastating to your home and belongings. Many people do not consider the fact that there are different types of problems related to flooding and different causes. The type of damage caused by water in your home will determine the appropriate course of action to get the problem resolved so you can go back to normal life in your home. One of the first considerations is how the flooding occurred. Flooding can happen in storm periods or near bodies of water from the outside environment surrounding the house. Flood damage is a common problem after a fire, because the water necessary to put out the fire affects multiple areas in the home. However, flooding can also originate within the home, from broken or malfunctioning plumbing or pipe work.
When you find the source of the excess water, you can determine the type of water causing damage in your home. There are three main categories of water: clean, gray, and black. Clean water has very few harmful substances in it, such as when water supply lines are broken, spilling forth clean, fresh water. It can still cause water damage, but there is little chance of bacteria or chemicals causing disease in the wake of the flooding. When sinks or tubs overflow, the water is also usually considered clean.
Gray water, formally known as category 2 water, can cause sicknesses and physical problems because the level of contaminants in the water is significant. These contaminants may be chemical, biological, and/or physical. Gray water will have micro-organisms present as well. Some examples of water damage with category 2 implications are sump pump failures, discharges from dishwashers, malfunctioning washing machines, or overflowing toilets (containing urine but not feces). Black water, or category 3 water, has a severe level of contaminants and is very unsanitary. This water is highly disposed to cause physical problems, diseases, or discomfort.
Black water has bacteria, fungi, chemical contaminants, and other dangerous substances. Category 3 water damage may come from lakes, streams, rivers, seawater, ground surface water, sewage leaks, overflowing toilets with feces, and stagnant water that stands for 48-72 hours after a category 1 or 2 flood problem. The stagnancy of the water increases its dangerous contaminants. Black water clean-up requires the use of protective gear and special equipment to prevent disease or health problems as well as preserve the structure. Trusting clean up and restoration to professionals can help you get your home back quickly and safely.