Categories of Water Damage

The following information are the standards used by Certified Water Damage professionals (IICRC) to determine how to handle the various types of water which may have damaged your home or business.

According to the IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500), there are three categories of water that cause damage in buildings. They are summarized as follows:

Category 1 Water – That which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans. Category 1 water may become progressively contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings or building assemblies (walls, decking, subflooring). Time and temperature, which promote the growth and amplification of microorganisms in water can cause Category 1 water to degrade. Examples: burst water pipes, failed supply lines on appliances, vertically falling rainwater.

Category 2 Water – That which begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans. As with Category 1 water, time and temperature can cause Category 2 water to become progressively more contaminated.

Category 3 Water – That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.

Over time, if the water damaging your home is not dealt with properly, the water damage categories can change. Category One will become a Category Two and Two will become a Three. Thus it’s very important to hire a certified water damage firm and get your home dried fast. The faster your home is dried, the better the chance they can minimize the damage.