Water Damage

The 3 categories of water damage

Water damage can result from natural disasters such as floods, as well as something simple like a blocked drain or burst pipe. All can cause extensive damage to property, but the type of damage is categorized by the IICRC Standard for Professional Water Damage Restoration as Category 1, 2, or 3.

This rating refers to the source of the water damage and the cleanliness of the water. How the damage is treated and with what urgency will depend on its category. We’ve included some information on each below:

What is Category 1 water damage?

Category 1 water damage, also known as ‘clean water’, is used when the water originates from a sanitary water source. This could be from an overflowing sink, falling rainwater, and melting snow or ice.

It is not considered to pose a substantial health risk if you’re exposed to it. However, it can become contaminated if left untreated and may still cause damage to your home or building, so it should still be addressed promptly.

What is Category 2 water damage?

Category 2 water damage, or ‘gray water,’ is water that is contaminated by chemicals or organic matter and is harmful to health if ingested. This could be a dishwasher or washing machine discharge, a toilet bowl with urine, or even a broken aquarium.

The IIRC S500 claims that category 2 water “has the potential to cause discomfort or sickness” in both humans and pets.

What is Category 3 water damage?

Also known as ‘black water’, category 3 water is grossly contaminated, containing bacteria, pathogens, and viruses. Any contact with black water is considered dangerous.

Examples of category 3 water damage include sewage, seawater, and rising water from rivers and streams.

This is the most dangerous type of water damage, requiring immediate action. Work should only be handled by an IICRC-approved restoration professional.

Regardless of the category of water damage, a specialist restoration company should be notified as a matter of urgency. Aside from the immediate threat posed by category 1 and 2 water, even clean water, when collected in larger amounts, can lead to mold or bacteria.

At Powerhouse, our water restoration experts are highly skilled in treating damage to both residential and commercial properties. Our services include everything from the initial assessment and cleanup to mold remediation, biohazard cleanup, and odor removal.