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What Is Water Damage?

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An Intro To Water Damage

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the average home in the United States loses around 10,000 gallons of water annually from leaky pipes. To put that into perspective, a crack that is only 1/8-inch wide can cause a pipe to leak up to 250 gallons in 24 hours. When we see these numbers, the scale in which Americans experience water damage begins to make sense. Water damage is so common that it sits as the second highest ranking insurance claim in terms of overall frequency. There are a staggering 14,000 water damage emergencies that happen every day across the nation. Due to the overwhelming number of water damage cases that America sees per year, categories and classes were developed to help dictate the severity of each situation. The category levels determine how sterile the water is, and therefore are extremely important when identifying health risks. On the other hand, water damage classes refer to the probable rate of evaporation and are relative to the material(s) that the water is damaging, the size of the area damaged, and how much of the room was damaged in relation to the rooms total size. Here is a breakdown of categories and classes:

Water Damage Categories

Category #1

Classified as “clean water,” this water has little to no chance of negatively affecting your home. Category 1 water damage cases are usually due to clean water sources overflowing.

Category #2

Although this water is classified as “grey water,” it is important to note that it is hazardous. Grey water is water that carries things like nutrients, chemicals, and biological contaminants. The quality of this water can get so bad that it is often rich with microorganisms. Grey water is often produced by faulty dishwasher, toilet bowls, and washing machines.

Category #3

“Black water,” otherwise known as grey water that has been left to rot, is nothing short of absurd. Black water is known to cause a host of severe sicknesses and can promote lifetime health issues if ingested. The water contains flourishing fungi, sewage, and an unbelievable amount of damaging bacteria.

Water Damage Clases

Class #1

Classified as a slow rate of evaporation that only affects a small portion of the room. The damaged material has a low porosity level.

Class #2

Classified as a fast rate of evaporation that affects all of the carpet and underlying cushion in the room.

Class #3

Classified as the fastest rate of evaporation. Class 3 damage is known to come from all angles, so leaky ceilings are popular in this class.

Class #4

Requires specialized drying equipment due to affected materials having an extremely low level of porosity.

Beyond The Water

One of the most common complications of water damage is mold. An early indicator of potential mold growth amidst a leak is a “musty” smell that may arise. This smell comes from microbiological volatile organic compounds, which are a variety of compounds that form in the metabolism of various fungi and bacteria. Aside from the odd smell that can develop in your home, there are some other indicators of potential mold growth. If your eyes start getting sore, or your skin starts itching, these are all clues there may be a water leak on your property. Once a water leak has started, mold growth can happen within 24 to 48 hours of the initial leak.

If there is a suspected water leak and further action is needed, this is where a restoration company comes into play. Most companies offer emergency services and have a plan in place to answer the phone 24 hours a day. Once professionals have evaluated the property, you will be provided with an estimate for their services. Following the estimate, the first task at hand is to remove any standing water. After the water has been removed, dehumidifiers and other types of equipment are utilized to dry the area. The entire process of water restoration itself takes part in two major phases, mitigation, and repairs. The first phase, “mitigation,” consists of any necessary cleaning, drying, or removal. Mitigation usually takes no more than three to four days. The second phase; “repairs,” varies in length depending on the severity of the water damage. Although water damage is widespread, ninety-three percent of all water damage cases are preventable. There are many ways to bypass water damage. One easy way to prevent a leak is to disconnect any hoses that are not in use. The standing water in the hose could potentially freeze back and burst a pipe. Another way to prevent a burst pipe is to check if your washing machines are up to date. The average life expectancy of a washing machine is eleven years, though it is generally recommended you replace appliances every eight years. These are just a couple of examples of some things that can be done to prevent water damage on your property.

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