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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

How Is Cleaning After a Flood Different Than Cleaning Other Water Damage?

8/11/2020 (Permalink)

Flood waters in the entrance of a home Flood damage in Waterloo, OK

How Is Cleaning After a Flood Different Than Cleaning Other Water Damage?

You may think all water damage is all the same, but it’s not that simple. How you clean up after flooding depends on where the flood water comes from. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification created three categories of water damage based on contamination level. What you can save or restore will depend on the water category.

Category 1 Water
Also called “clean water,” Category 1 water comes from a sanitary source and doesn’t pose any health risks. This kind of damage typically comes from:

  • Broken water pipes and supply lines
  • Malfunctioning appliances
  • Flooding from rain and melting snow

You can usually dry items damaged by clean water and reuse them with no health risks.

Category 2 Water
This is called gray water, which means there’s serious contamination. Category 2 water can lead to health problems if you come into contact with it or ingest it. It comes from items such as toilets, washing machines, and sump pumps. Be cautious with materials that have flood damage from gray water. Thoroughly clean and disinfect them before putting them back into your home.

Category 3 Water
Category 3 water damage is also known as black water damage. It’s the most dangerous because it’s extremely contaminated, possibly with toxins. Category 3 water often occurs during hurricanes and severe rainstorms. Sources include sewage, rising waters and seawater. You’ll have to get rid of soft surfaces (such as carpets and window coverings) and structural elements (such as drywall and sheetrock).
If Category 2 water remains stagnant for too long or isn’t cleaned up properly, it can be reclassified as Category 3. You’ll want to start the restoration process as soon as possible to avoid future problems from mold and mildew.
If your home has damage from flooding, work with a water damage specialist who can clean up and dry out your home in Waterloo, OK, with the appropriate equipment and techniques. They’re trained to meet federal standards for cleaning and sanitizing your home.

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