The Categories of Water Damage
The first thing to do when you have a water damage is to determine the source of the water. It is important to know if the water source is from a clean water source or a contaminated water source. This information determines the category of water damage your home has. The categories are described numerically, between 1 and 3, one being clean water and three being contaminated.
Category 1 Water
Category 1 water, or clean water, is water that has been treated and doesn't contain waste. The sources of clean water include defective appliances, burst or broken pipes, and overflowing sinks. Clean water is water that has not been used. Carpets and carpet pads that have been damaged by clean water can be salvaged in some cases.
Category 2 Water
Category 2 water, or gray water, is water that has been used, but does not contain human waste. The sources of category 2 water can include sinks, showers, baths, washing machines or dishwashers. This water can cause health effects when humans are exposed to it. Carpet pad saturated with gray water must be replaced. Carpet that is saved must be cleaned thoroughly.
Category 3 Water
Category 3 water, or black water, is unsanitary water. The sources of category 3 water include sewage backups, flood waters, and toilet water. Contaminated water can cause health effects in humans. Carpets and other porous materials must be replaced when contaminated with black water.