What Determines The Severity Of Water Damage?

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There's no question that water damage is a problem you can't ignore. Once water seeps into your home, the clock will begin ticking on the need for remediation and restoration. Unfortunately, it's often hard to judge the severity of a water damage problem at the outset. A seemingly minor leak or small flood can create major problems with moisture or humidity if you leave the damage unaddressed.

While there's no simple formula to determine how bad your problem will be, some factors will substantially impact the repair cost and the potential for long-term problems. If you're facing a water problem in your home, here are three things that a water damage restoration service will consider to judge its severity. 

1. Water Category

All water isn't the same. Plumbers and water damage restoration experts typically classify water into three categories. Class 1 water is the least concerning. This water is also known as "clean" water and refers strictly to leaks or floods that originate from a clean source. On the other hand, Class 3 refers to open sewage, chemical contamination, and anything that poses an imminent health hazard.

The higher the classification of water, the more severe the damage. With clean water, the primary concern is removing the water and rapidly drying the area. Conversely, Class 3 water will require additional steps to disinfect and clean the area. Surprisingly, most water restoration experts classify flood waters as a Class 3 hazard.

2. Time

Water doesn't sit around and wait for you to take action. Standing water may seem relatively stagnant and benign, but it's likely seeping into many places you won't easily see or find. Water will also slowly soak into porous surfaces, including everything from concrete to your home's wood structural framing elements.

While some of these materials will dry, others will become hopelessly bloated or rotted once they absorb enough water. It's crucial to act quickly so that you can remove the water and begin drying anything that may have become too wet. For anything but minor flooding, you'll need professional equipment to perform a thorough drying job.

3. Affected Materials

The materials affected by the water are also a major concern. Drywall that comes into contact with water will become useless relatively quickly, while wood will become unsalvageable if given a little more time. Fabrics, carpets, and other materials that can absorb large amounts of water are also likely to be total write-offs following any major flood.

A water damage expert will need to evaluate the flooded part of your home to determine which items you can salvage and which you must discard. Remember that the sooner you contact a professional, the easier it will be to salvage the affected parts of your home.