There are three types of water that can cause damage in your home. Knowing what they are can help guide your action plan if water damage occurs.
1. Clean Water
Clean water is the least alarming type of water damage. It consists of any water from a clean source, such as a water leak from a broken water supply line or damage from an overflowing sink tap. It contains no contaminants and is perfectly safe to handle, at least when the leak is fresh.
The main risks of clean water damage are mold and water exposure. If you act quickly to extract clean water from carpeting and other soft materials and dry off the surfaces of hard materials like walls and floorboards, the likelihood of long-lasting damage is quite low. You may still want to wipe down hard surfaces with a bleach solution to inhibit mold growth.
2. Gray Water
Gray water contains some contaminants, but typically nothing that is directly hazardous. Water that contains food particles and detergents, such as that from a kitchen sink drain or an overflowing washing machine, is considered gray water. It can also be clean water that came in contact with minor contaminants after the flood, as long as those contaminants are generally considered non-hazardous.
As always, acting quickly is needed to minimize damage. Some precautions should be taken with gray water, though. Wear protective gloves and avoid wading into the water if you are not protected against direct exposure. Take extra caution when cleaning up to disinfect all surfaces, as well. The dirty, murky nature of gray water can hide many hazards.
3. Black Water
The main type of water to be aware of is black water. Black water is hazardous to your health because it contains raw sewage or other harmful chemicals. This type of water is typically from an overflowing sewer line or toilet, but it can also be due to other hazardous materials it picks up after flooding, such as chemical waste. Flood waters are typically always considered black water because they will contain sewage and other unknown hazards.
It's typically best to always leave black water damage cleanup to a professional restoration service. Not only are protective gloves and clothing necessary, respirators and eye protection are also a must. The water must be quickly cleaned up, and then anything that can be salvaged will require a thorough disinfection treatment before restoration work can continue.
Contact a water damage restoration service for more assistance.