Water damage can be devastating to any home. Depending on the category and source of the water, it may or may not be covered by homeowners insurance.
Understanding the different types of water damage is essential to properly mitigate and restore your property. The following information will also help you determine whether or not your water damage is covered by insurance.
Category 1 water damage is clean and poses no significant health risks. This includes the water from a broken supply line, rainwater, overflowing bathtubs and sinks with no contaminants, melting ice or snow and toilet tank or bowl overflows without feces.
Over time, however, category 1 water can become progressively more contaminated due to the materials it comes into contact with and its exposure to temperature changes. This is why it is so important for experienced professionals to follow strict IICRC mitigation standards.
Also known as gray water, category 2 water carries bacteria, toxins and other contaminants that can cause illness in humans if ingested. This includes water from dishwasher or washing machine overflows, laundry room flooding, sump pump failure and fire protection sprinkler systems. Although this is a more serious issue, there is still a chance that affected porous materials can be salvaged when the proper response steps are taken in time. This type of water damage requires immediate attention from a certified professional to ensure safety and prevent further complications like toxic mold growth.
Category 2 water damage involves contaminated water that could cause illness if ingested. This type of water comes from situations like toilet overflows containing urine but not feces, washing machine drainage, and sump pump failures. There is less of a chance that items damaged by category 2 water damage can be saved compared to category 1 water damage, but it’s still possible if the right steps are taken.
This type of damage requires an ANSI/IICRC S500 trained professional who can use anti-microbial solutions and industrial drying techniques to treat the affected areas. It also requires that extra safety precautions are taken for those performing the work, as there is a higher risk of pathogens and other bacteria present in this type of loss. This is also when a written work contract should be completed by the water damage restoration Minnetonka contractor. This will ensure that all necessary steps are followed to mitigate the loss. Then the appropriate documentation can be provided to the insurance company.
Category 3 water damage, which is sometimes referred to as black water, is grossly contaminated and carries serious disease-causing microorganisms that can cause illness or even death to humans and animals from exposure or consumption. This type of water is typically from sewer backups, toilet overflows containing urine but no feces, and flood waters from rivers or streams.
Clean water events that don’t get remedied quickly can deteriorate to Category 2 or 3 within a short period of time. This happens because of the presence of contaminating bacteria, viruses, fungus, and other microorganisms.
While clean water damage isn’t necessarily harmful to your family, it is important to have it cleaned and dried as soon as possible to minimize health issues, structural damage, and cost. Porous materials that are soaked should be removed and discarded, including drywall, insulation, carpet, and furnishings. Water damage in these areas will require longer drying times and specialized cleaning techniques.
Category 4 water damage, also known as black water damage, is the most serious and most dangerous. This type of water damage is contaminated with sewage and other dangerous microorganisms and poses a severe health risk for anyone that comes into contact with it. Black water damage typically results from flood waters, seawater and river water that has come into your home.
The IICRC water classification system divides the different types of water damage into four classes. Each class reflects the level of toxicity and where the water came from that caused the damage.