Let’s begin today with some mind-boggling numbers. There are roughly 323 million people in this great country of ours who waste around one TRILLION gallons of water per year and insurance companies pay out around 2.5 billion dollars per year to homeowners as a result of water damage. The typical water damage repair, depending on the extent of the damage and the category of the water, can range between two and ten thousand dollars. Click here if you’d like to see some fun facts from the EPA.
Water damage is broken out into three classifications and four classes or levels. The classifications are clear water, grey water, and black water and the classes are one through four.
Clear water is exactly what it sounds like. It is water that has come from a leaky faucet or some sort of burst pipe in your home. This is water that has not been contaminated in any way and poses no health risks. Clear water damage, if minor, can be addressed by most homeowners.
Grey water is the next worse type of water to deal with after you’ve had a water emergency. Grey water has been contaminated by something that has the potential to cause physical harm, should you come into contact with it. These contaminants include cleaning products, urine, bleach, etc. Grey water, if left un-treated, can evolve into a black water scenario. Grey water situations can be handled by competent homeowners depending on the extent, however, if unsure it is always best to turn to the professionals for help.
Black water situations are to be strictly handled by the pros. Black water has been contaminated with sewage or other harmful things that have the potential to lead to death. These situations include storm surges, floods and burst sewer piping. Many times, black water issues cannot be cleaned, rather the impacted building materials must be replaced.
As for the classes, starting with Class 1, this is usually very minor damage that has impacted only a small part of a room. Class 1 water damage does not generally require the help of a professional and if it does the costs should be minimal.
Class 2 is when an entire room of a home has been impacted, the carpet or flooring is wet, there is moisture in the walls measuring up to twelve inches and moisture has penetrated the structure to a point that professional water restoration teams are needed.
Class 3 is now starting to get into the really ugly category. Class 3 water damage typically comes from burst water pipes and usually the water source was in the attic. You’ll find full saturation in the ceilings, walls, floors, sub floors and possibly the insulation. Professionals are definitely needed in a Class 3 scenario. Class 3 water damage may be able to be dried out and building materials may be saved depending on the extent.
Class 4 water damage is the worst possible situation you can find yourself in. Class 4 damage occurs from long standing water such as in the aftermath of a hurricane, or flooding. The water has permeated stone, masonry and brick. When it comes to Class 4 damage you are in the scenario that full demolition is likely required. If the home has experienced Class 4 water damage, at minimum the structure will need to be gutted.
Now that we understand the classes and types of water damage, what are some of the things you, my intrepid homeowner, can do to prevent water damage in your castle? First and foremost, have an annual inspection performed by a licensed plumber. The plumber protects the health of the nation and can help protect your home from water damage by locating minor issues before they become major. He or she can also help reduce the afore mentioned trillion gallons of wasted water by replacing things like leaky flappers or hose bibs.
On to technology. There are a myriad of devices on the market that can shut the water supply off to your home in the event of a water emergency. These systems consist of a device at the valve or replacement of the valve so that when water is detected where it should not be they will cut off the supply. Sensors are available in both wired and wireless versions and they are placed throughout the home at places that have the likely potential for a leak. When the sensor detects water where it shouldn’t be it sends a signal back to the valve and the water is typically off in a short ten to fifteen seconds. The beauty of flood prevention systems is that not only will they minimize the damages in an emergency but many home insurance companies will offer premium deductions or a one-time price reduction to your rates for installing this additional level of protection.
This concludes today’s lesson on water damage. Please do your part and get your home checked out to save some water and some money on that water bill.
Until the stars align and we are together again, will someone please show Dora the Explorer what GPS is!
House Whisperer out!!