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IIRC Water Restoration S500 Standards Categories:
Water damage may initially go undetected as it seeps into the structure and creates unseen pockets of moisture. The detection of water in these areas can often only be discovered with sophisticated moisture detection meters. Undetected moisture will continue to cause damage. This damage, at a minimum, will cause odors. Greater damage will surface when materials delaminate, shrink, split and further deteriorate to where costly repairs are required.
More than just removing excess water, IICRC-certified restorers have the knowledge and equipment to further dry a home or facility (including substructure materials) completely back to pre-loss conditions. Through timely response and the careful monitoring of water damage, mold and other health issues can be prevented. If water damage has been present too long, mold will occur.
The following are the three categories of Water Intrusion:
Category 1: Water loss from a clean or sanitary source such as supply lines, faucets and bottled water. Category 1 water can quickly become category 2 our category 3 depending on factors such as time and contact with contaminates.
Category 2: Water loss with some level of contaminates that could cause illness if ingested such as washing machine overflow, toilet overflow, and dishwasher leaks. Category 2 can quickly degrade into Category 3 depending on time and contact with other contaminants.
Category 3: Water loss that is unsanitary and could cause severe illness or death if ingested such as sewage, water from rivers or streams, water from sewer lines, water from the toilet bowl with feces, and water that has been standing long enough to support microbial growth.
The following are the four categories of Water Damage:
Class 1 Water Damage: Slow Evaporation Rate with water loss that affect part of a room with minimum moisture absorbed by materials. Moisture is released slowly and minimum moisture is absorbed by materials.
Class 2 Water Damage: Fast Evaporation Rate with water losses that affect an entire room with water that has wicked up walls 12"- 24". Moisture is remaining in structural materials such as plywood, particleboard, wood, and concrete.
Class 3 Water Damage: Fastest Evaporation Rate with water that may have come from overhead. Ceilings, walls, insulation, flooring in the structure are saturated.
Class 4 Water Damage: Requires specialty drying methods where wet materials with low porosity such as brick, plaster, stone, concrete, or hardwood are typically saturated with moisture and require very low specific humidity.