All floods are not the same. Water carries hidden dangers that may not be immediately evident in the event of a flood. It is important to know all three categories of water to help better assess your situation after flood damage. Once the category of water damage has been determined, it is easier to begin the proper drying techniques, and it also helps conclude what items can and cannot be restored once the water is removed. Here are a few quick ways to establish what category of flood damage is affecting your home.

Category 1: Clean Water
This is the least damaging category of water. Clean water will damage the area it enters if it is not properly taken care of. For example, if the area is not dried correctly, it can result in secondary damage such as mold and mildew growth. Clean water typically originates from a source that does not pose considerable harm to humans like:

  • Burst pipes
  • Appliance malfunctions
  • Tub or sink overflows
  • Roof leaks
  • Melting snow/falling rain water
  • Broken toilet tanks


Category 2: Gray Water
Gray water is water that is contaminated to some degree because of its source. This type of water contains microorganisms and nutrients for microorganisms that can potentially cause discomfort or illness if consumed by someone. Carpet pads affected with Category 2 water must be removed and properly disposed of as soon as possible. If a Category 2 flood is not treated right away, it will become Category 3 water in less than 48 hours.

Some sources within a home that produce gray water are:

  • Toilets
  • Washing Machines
  • Dishwashers
  • Sump-pump failures
  • Broken aquariums


Category 3: Black Water
Like its name implies, black water is the most hazardous of the three categories of water damage. Black water can include toxic materials such as bacteria, chemicals, pesticides, and more. It can put you, your family, and your pets in serious danger if not handled properly. Category 3 water damage can come from:

  • Any type of sewage
  • Toilet backflows
  • Rising water from rivers or streams
  • Ground surface water


We recommend that all flood damage be taken care of by a flood damage restoration specialist due to the problems water can cause in a home. If you are dealing with category 3 water damage, we strongly urge you to call a professional like Certified Restoration. We have the proper equipment and certifications to restore your home safely and thoroughly. Due to water-borne bacteria, category 1 clean water can quickly turn into category 2 gray water, which will progress into category 3 black water if not taken care of in a timely and efficient manner.

Certified Restoration is here to help with all of your flood damage and mold remediation needs 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. Please give us a call if you have any questions!