logo resized

Different Types of Water Damage Categories, Explained

Few things are more stress-inducing for a homeowner than having to deal with a flood. A small leak may offer an easy cleanup, but when it comes to inches of water hanging around, it’s no fun.

And, while you might want to take it on yourself, certain water damage categories can actually be hazardous to your health. Some contain toxins and pathogens that no homeowner should be dealing with on their own.

Instead of taking the task on, learn more about the categories of water so you’ll know when to DIY and when to call in the professionals.

Clean water running into person's hand

Category 1 – Clean Water

Of all the kinds of water leaks out there, a clean water spill is among the best kind. After all, it’s clean so you don’t have to worry about the risk factor.

This category of water does not pose an immediate health threat. It is usually caused by a variety of things  like failing appliances, toilet tanks or rain and melting snow.

But, while category 1 water damage might be the best option, it will still need to be dealt with in a timely manner. Fortunately, many handy homeowners may feel comfortable doing DIY plumbing and cleaning it up themselves.

Unfortunately, it moves into our next category which you may need some help with if it’s left for more than 48 hours…

Faucet running in dirty sink with dirty mirror in background

Category 2 – Greywater

It might not sound that bad, but greywater isn’t the most ideal of water damage categories. In fact, a common name for this kind of water is sullage.

Category 2 water damage is often caused by the weather or even a broken pipe and may require adequate plumbing faucet repair.

This type of water can come from the bathtub, shower, washing machine, dishwasher or any sink located in the home. The good thing is that it can be reused as a non-potable water source.

But it’s worth being aware that where categories of water are concerned, greywater is not exactly harmless. It can lead to illness if it’s ingested because it contains a variety of different contaminants.

So, if you’re doing the heavy cleanup, you’ll want to make sure that you wear protective gear. An immunocompromised person should not take on this kind of cleanup.

However, if it’s quite a bit of water or it’s been left for more than 48 hours, it moves into the next category and you’ll definitely want help…

Flash flood water

Category 3 – Blackwater

The third category is contaminated with human waste and contains numerous toxins. That’s why sewage water is classified as category 3 water damage.

Also known as blackwater, this category of water generally comes from toilets, bidets or broken sewage pipes. It can also come from dishwashers or sinks where food preparation is performed. When it comes to a large flooding event, the resulting flash floodwater is generally considered to be blackwater.

Because of the nature of this type of water, blackwater contains dangerous bacteria and pathogens that can adversely impact health. It may even contain chemicals that are even more hazardous to a person’s health during cleanup.

Many items that this kind of water touches must be discarded or replaced as a result.

If you’ve experienced this type of water damage, it’s very important to call in the professionals as soon as possible. They will know what to do to deal with the situation so that it doesn’t cause further harm to your home, pets or children.

They’ll also be able to ensure that it doesn’t cause problems down the road.

Let Plumbing Squad Help with Water Damage!

All categories of water are not made equal. Clean water may afford a relatively risk-free cleanup. But when it moves into category 2 and category 3 water, it may be time to call in the professionals for emergency plumbing assistance. Instead of risking your health to deal with greywater or blackwater, rely on those who have the know-how to complete water extraction the right way.

If you’re dealing with one of the water damage categories and require help from the professionals, call the experienced team at Plumbing Squad at (866) 324-9553 or reach us on our website.

Water Damage Restoration Services In Your Area

Los Angeles County









Long Beach



Palos Verdes Peninsula

Pico Rivera

Redondo Beach

San Pedro

Signal Hill

South Gate



Orange County


Buena Park

Costa Mesa


Garden Grove


La Habra


Santa Ana



Yorba Linda

Related Posts

See all related posts: