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Fire & Water - Cleanup & Restoration

Types of Water Damage, and How to prevent them

7/31/2019 (Permalink)

This home owner had a roof leak in her home, which resulted in customers carpet to be affected

Water damage describes a large number of possible losses caused by water intruding where it will enable attack of a material or system by destructive processes such as rotting of wood, growth, rusting of steel, de-laminating of materials such as plywood, and many others.

The damage may be imperceptibly slow and minor such as water spots that could eventually mar a surface, or it may be instantaneous and catastrophic such as flooding. However fast it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to loss of property.

An insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage and the process of water damage restoration. While a common cause of residential water damage is often the failure of a slump pump, many homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the associated costs without an addendum which adds to the monthly premium of the policy. Often the verbiage of this addendum is similar to “Sewer and Drain Coverage”.

In the United States, those individuals who are affected by wide scale flooding may have the ability to apply for government and F.E.M.A grants through the Individual Assistance program. On a larger level, businesses, cities, and communities can apply to the F.E.M.A Public Assistance program for funds to assist after a large flood.The program allows the city to purchase the water damaged properties, demolish the structures, and turn the properties into public green space

Residential water damage is one of the most stressful situations for a homeowner. Dealing with it is very devastating and if not addressed on time, may lead to costly home repairs and reconstruction. In the majority of the cases, the people do not even know, and the water damage is damaging their homes from within. Therefore, it is best not to ignore any signs of water damage. The moment one understands that water damage is happening, SERVPRO of McAllen is here to help with your water damage needs.


Before the cleaning and restoration process begins, it is important to have a clear idea of the category of water damage.

Category 1 – Water 

Category 1 Water – Refers to a source of water that does not pose substantial threat to humans and classified as “clean water“. Examples are broken water supply lines, tub or sink overflows or appliance malfunctions that involves water supply lines.

When the cause of water damage is clean water. It is easy to handle, as there are not many microbes to deal with in this situation. If a home is not properly cleaned and dried, it may result in the growth of fungus and mold infestation. Leaky roofs that cause rainwater to seep into the homes is one the causes behind the category one water damage. It is best to inspect the drains on the flat roofs regularly to prevent such water damage. For sloped roofs, the shingles need regular inspection to prevent roof leaks from damaging a house. Other causes of this category damage are bursting of water pipes or any appliance malfunctions.

Category 2 -Water 

Refers to a source of water that contains a significant degree of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or sickness when consumed or even exposed to. Known as “grey water“. This type carries microorganisms and nutrients of micro-organisms. Examples are toilet bowls with urine(no feces), sump pump failures, seepage due to hydrostatic failure and water discharge from dishwashers or washing machines.  The gray water contains contaminants and is difficult to deal with as compared to the category one water damage. Exposure to such water may cause discomfort and illnesses. The possible causes of category two water damage include dishwasher discharge, toilet runoff, or washing machine discharge. Water that may contain any hazardous elements is difficult to clean up. When dealing with this type of water damage, it is best to wear gloves to prevent the spreading of any microbes. To prevent category two damage, regular inspection of the dishwasher, washing machines, and toilets is necessary.

Category 3 – Water

Category 3 Water – Known as “black water” and is grossly unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agents, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or sickness. Type 3 category are contaminated water sources that affect the indoor environment. This category includes water sources from sewage, seawater, rising water from rivers or streams, ground surface water or standing water. Category 2 Water or Grey Water that is not promptly removed from the structure and or have remained stagnant may be re classified as Category 3 Water. Toilet back flows that originates from beyond the toilet trap is considered black water contamination regardless of visible content or color

Sewage damage and damage due to flood are what causes black water to enter. Black water contains toxic materials, dangerous chemicals, microbes, pesticides, and even bacterial diseases. Only the professionals at SERVPRO can deal with category three water damage as they have the required equipment and personnel. Ensuring the main waste water pipe has a back flow pipe. Inspection of the sewage system of a house after every few months is important to prevent black water damage. 

Water damage is a huge concern for homeowners, especially if the cause of it is gray or black water. A homeowner must always hire a professional at SERVPRO of McAllen to deal with all categories of water damage. Even if one decides to deal with the category one water damage themselves, they must completely dry the water off as it may cause fungus and mold growth. If you have any question feel to call our office at (956)631-0348

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