Water damage is a problem that most property owners dread. When it rains heavily or snow melts quickly, the risk of this type of damage increases. Water can cause thousands of dollars’ worth of damage by damaging wood furniture, upholstery, electronics, household appliances, and plumbing equipment. Water damage also increases the risk of mold growth, which is a very expensive problem to remediate. Hiring a water damage restoration company can make the cleanup process easier to handle, as these companies employ experienced workers who know the best ways to repair or replace damaged items and help with water damage cleanup.
Causes of Water Damage
There are several possible causes of water damage. Leaky dishwashers, clogged toilets, broken pipes, broken dishwasher hoses, overflowing washing machines, leaky roofs, plumbing leaks, and foundation cracks are just some of the possible causes of water damage in homes and businesses. Floods, heavy snow, and heavy rain are other possible causes of this type of damage and can lead to having water in basements. Too much water can lead to minor problems such as water in basement areas, or it can lead to the destruction of homes and businesses. Once a home or business sustains water damage, it is important to start the water damage cleanup immediately. Starting water damage cleanup as soon as possible increases the likelihood of saving water-soaked furniture, carpets, rugs, clothing, and other items.
Categories of Water Damage
Assessing the severity of the damage is important for determining what is needed to start water damage repair and water removal. There are several different categories assigned to water damage. Category 1 refers to clean water, or water that does not pose a threat to humans. Possible causes of this type of damage include broken appliances or sink overflows. Category 2 water is also called gray water. This means that the water is contaminated and may cause sickness of ingested. This type of water contains microorganisms. Broken toilets, broken sump pumps, and seepage may cause category 2 water damage. Category 3 water is known as black water. This type of water is unsanitary, as it contains bacteria and other organisms that cause sickness. The possible sources of black water damage include sewage problems and contamination of standing water.
There are also several classes of water damage. The class of damage is important when assessing water damage repair options. Class 1 is the least harmful form of damage. Materials absorb very little of the water from this type of damage. Water damage repair is the easiest in this type of situation. Class 2 has a fast rate of evaporation, which means that carpets and cushions may be damaged. Water damage repair is more difficult when it involves class 2 damage. Class 3 has the fastest rate of evaporation. In this case, the water may come from broken sprinklers or other overhead sources, soaking the walls and furniture. Class 4 requires special water restoration and water removal procedures. This type of damage may affect hardwood floors, plaster, and concrete.
The water restoration process is an important one. Using the right procedures and materials can help people save cherished belongings and even prevent their homes from being condemned. Water restoration companies specialize in mitigating the effects of water, but the success for water damage restoration depends on the severity of the damage and the amount of water that caused the damage. Water restoration companies may hire outside experts to assess a property and determine a water restoration and water removal plan. These water restoration companies typically use high-tech equipment and well-documented procedures to control water damage. Water in basement areas may only require a short cleanup process, but water in other areas of a property will require extensive remediation.
It is important to hire one of these water damage restoration companies as soon as possible after water damage occurs. Moisture promotes the growth of mold and other organisms, increasing the risk for serious health problems. Mold exposure may aggravate allergy and asthma symptoms, especially in children and people with compromised immune systems. Exposure may also increase the risk for respiratory diseases and other medical problems. Cleaning up immediately can help mitigate the health effects of water damage on everyone in a home or commercial space.
The following resources provide more information about water damage and its effects.
- Fungal Species and Water-Damaged Building Materials: This article explains how water damage encourages fungi growth on building materials.
- Response to Water Damage: The Environmental Protection Agency offers a chart to guide homeowners and business owners in responding to water damage.
- Mold: A Health Hazard: This article from the Federal Emergency Management Agency explains the dangers of mold, which can form when building materials are exposed to water.
- Water-Damaged Wood Furniture PDF: This resource offers several tips for salvaging water-damaged wood furniture.
- Floods and Water Damage: The American Lung Association explains the health hazards of water damage.
- Cleaning Up After a Flood: The University of Minnesota Extension explains the safety equipment needed and procedures used to clean up the water damage from a flood.
- Restoration Guidelines and Criteria PDF: This document contains information about the restoration of homes and businesses damaged by water.
- Cleaning Flood-Damaged Carpets and Rugs: This article provides valuable advice for those who want to save their water-damaged carpets and rugs.
- Guidelines on Indoor Fungi Removal PDF: This document explains health effects of fungi indoors and discusses proper remediation procedures.
- Types of Water Damage: This article explains the different types of water damage that can occur in commercial and residential properties.
- Water Damage Category and Class: This article provides information about classifying and categorizing water damage.
- Home Repairs for Water-Damaged Items: This article offers tips for repairing items damaged by water exposure.
- Saving Paper Items: This resource explains how to preserve paper items damaged by water.
- Tips for Safe Flood Cleanup: This resource offers safety tips for people who need to clean up after significant water damage.