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Identifying Types Of Water Damage: Clean Water, Greywater, And Blackwater

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If you're like most home or business owners, you already know that water damage in your home or office is a serious concern. Water damage can have long-term impacts on both your property and health. However, you may not be aware that there are different types of water damage and that they require different types of cleanup strategies.

Generally, water damage is categorized into three types: clean water, greywater, and blackwater. Knowing the differences can help you gauge the severity of the situation and decide on the next steps for cleanup and restoration. Here's what you need to know:

Clean Water: More Than Meets the Eye

Clean water is what you're probably most familiar with; it's the tap water that comes from your sink, or the water that fills your tub. When it comes to water damage, though, even clean water can cause significant issues. If you find that clean water is the source of the damage, the urgency for removal and drying is somewhat less than with other categories, but don't let this lull you into a sense of complacency. Standing clean water can seep into flooring, walls, and possessions, causing structural damage and mold growth if left untreated.

Greywater: Exercise Caution

Greywater is a bit more complicated. This is water that has been used and may contain some contaminants, but is not severely polluted. Examples include water discharged from a washing machine, dishwasher, or bathtub. While not immediately dangerous, greywater can become hazardous if left standing, as it might contain microorganisms or chemicals that multiply or spread. If you find greywater has caused damage, act promptly but cautiously. Wear gloves and consider using a mask while dealing with it. Also, try to remove the water and clean the affected areas as soon as possible.

Blackwater: Seek Professional Help

The most severe type of water damage is caused by blackwater. This category includes water contaminated by human or animal waste, and it is often associated with toilets, septic systems, and sewage. Contact with blackwater poses serious health risks due to the pathogens it contains. If you discover blackwater damage, it's crucial to not attempt a DIY cleanup. Instead, contact a professional water damage restoration service to handle the situation safely and effectively.

When in Doubt, Consult Experts

If you're ever uncertain about the type of water damage you're dealing with, it's always best to consult professionals. Time is of the essence when it comes to water damage, as standing water of any kind can cause escalating issues such as mold growth and structural decay. By identifying the type of water involved, you can make informed decisions, either to tackle the issue yourself or to call in experts for a specialized water damage cleanup.