As we have reviewed before, there are three categories of water defined in the IICRC S500, the industry standard for water damage restoration. These categories are determined by the originating source and content/contaminant level of the water. Here we will discuss Category 1 water, the cleanest of the group.
Category 1 water originates from a sanitary source, and does not pose any substantial health risk to humans. Some examples of category 1 water include: potable drinking water or bottled water, tap water, water from a broken supply thedogman line, such as those bringing fresh water to your refrigerator, sinks, dishwasher, washing machine, and toilets. An important distinction to note is while the water entering the above sources is category 1, it may no longer be category 1 after leaving these fixtures or appliances. For example, water going into your dishwasher is category 1, but after it comes into contact with dishwasher detergent and any remnants on dirty dishes, it is no longer safe for human consumption, and degrades to category 2 or 3. The same is true with your washing machine – the chemicals in the detergent change the category (you wouldn’t want to drink the soapy water coming out of the washing machine, right?). And then we come to the toilet. The water entering the tank from the supply line is clean and sanitary; however, after it hits the bowl, and the toilet is used, the category obviously changes.
A simple way to determine for yourself whether or not the water is category 1 is to ask yourself if it would be safe for human consumption, or if it may contain anything that could potentially cause illness in humans (chemicals, bacteria, etc). In the past, category 1 water was also referred to as simply “clean water”, but this term is no longer recognized due to the ambiguity and confusion caused, especially with the subsequent categories.
Water mitigation, dryout and restoration of a category 1 water loss is fairly straightforward. Because it is from a sanitary source, we can often save most of the affected materials, as long as we are notified quickly after the loss occurs. As mentioned before, time elapsed and elevated temperatures can rapidly degrade a category 1 loss to category 2 and 3. If we arrive on site within a few hours of the loss, we can extract 95% of the water from the carpet and pad, establish a balanced drying system with air movement and dehumidification to help the water evaporated from the materials, and remove it from the air before much of it has been wicked up or absorbed, and possibly place some injection holes behind the baseboards to increase airflow within the wall cavities. There are some materials that we may not be able to save, even in a category 1 situation. Materials made with MDF when exposed to water swell quickly, and will not return to their pre-loss condition, so flooring made of wood-laminate, and baseboards may have to be removed, depending on the extent of water exposure. But, of all the categories, category 1 will do the least damage, and is the easiest to mitigate, so if you ever do have a water loss – hope for a clean one – category 1!
To learn more about the remaining categories of water, please look for the other articles in our series “What’s In Your Water?” If you are in need of a knowledgeable, professional water damage restoration company in the Las Vegas area, please call us at PuroClean 1st Response Restoration, 702-566-7876. You can also visit our website at [http://waterfiremoldexperts.com].
Author: Lisa Garcia, Operations Manager at PuroClean 1st Response Restoration