The Basics of Water Damage in the Home

December 16th, 2016

At Expert Plumbing, Heating, Air and Electrical, one of the most common needs for our emergency plumbing services comes as a result of water damage. There are dozens of different ways water damage can be caused in your home, and it can lead to some of the most costly and time-consuming problems in the plumbing field.

With proper maintenance and upkeep, there’s a good chance you may never need to face any of the most serious water damage issues. It’s better to be safe than sorry, though, so here are a few basics on water damage – classifications, causes and potential resulting issues.


When a plumber deals with water damage, they classify it based on two important factors: The level of contamination in the water involved, and the type of damage and necessary cleanup that’s taken place. Damage and cleanup are broken down by numbered class:

  • Class 1: Limited damage, most of the spillage has been absorbed
  • Class 2: Significant damage, fast evaporation required for cleanup. Usually, this class involves damage to carpets or cushions
  • Class 3: Major damage, often from sprinklers or other major water sources. Requires fastest evaporation possible for cleanup
  • Class 4: Structural damage to hardwood floors, plaster or concrete. Typically requires special restoration or replacement procedures

Water type is classified by numbered categories:

  • Category 1: Clean water, does not pose a health risk (dishwasher, sink or water heater leak)
  • Category 2: Gray water, contaminated, can cause sickness (toilets or sewage)
  • Category 3: Black water, contains bacteria, fully unsafe


Water damage has several potential causes in the home:

  • Clogged toilers or drains
  • Leaking pipes or water heater
  • Overflowing laundry machines or dishwashers
  • Broken hoses
  • Floods, heavy snowfall or rainfall
  • Cracks in foundation, or leaky roofs

Health Concerns

Especially in cases of Category 2 or Category 3 spills, water damage can cause a number of potential health issues if not properly addressed. These include:

  • Bacteria growth
  • Mold growth
  • Major increase in asthma and allergy symptoms
  • Major increase in risk of respiratory disease
  • Major complications for people with weak immune systems

Expert Plumbing, Heating, Air and Electrical is your go-to 24-hour plumbing source, and we’re here to assist you with any water damage or other plumbing needs. Our technicians are standing by at your convenience.