Water, Water Everywhere

Spring is here! But as the saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers” and those showers often cause water damage and flooding to homes and businesses.


Water damage affects not only the structure of your home or office space, but also your belongings. In order to keep track of what items may or may not be damaged, it is suggested that you have a home or business inventory of all of your personal property.


The first thing to know with a water damage situation is what type of water you are dealing with. Where is the water coming from?


Three categories of water damage, defined as follows:


  • Category 1 – “Clean water” contains no waste products. This type of damage is usually the result of a busted pipe or rain water that has seeped into your home or business through window panes or door wells.
  • Category 2 – “Gray water” is what the restoration industry refers to as having a significant level of contaminants. This water may cause sickness and typically comes from an overflowing washing machine or toilet, a dishwasher, or a sump pump that has malfunctioned.
  • Category 3 – “Black water” is the “worst of the worst.” This water is severely contaminated and is typically the result of a sewage back-up or flood waters that have traveled across the ground.




In a Category 1 or Category 2 water damage situation, shut the source of the water off if possible. (If you do not know how to do this, contact a qualified professional.) Also turn off the circuit breakers for wet areas of the building, but ONLY when access to the electrical panel is safe from electrical shock. You may remove as much excess water as possible by mopping and blotting. To prevent further damage to your furniture, remove and prop up the cushions for even drying. Place aluminum foil or wood blocks between the legs of your furniture and the wet flooring. Remove paintings and valuables, computers, documents, and other items that are sensitive to moisture to a safe and dry location.


In a Category 3 water situation, it is important to avoid contact with all items that have become contaminated. If you become exposed to harmful waste, OSHA recommends a post-exposure medical evaluation (consult with your local health department or physician). Be careful not to spread contaminated water by walking unnecessarily on damaged or wet areas. Also turn off the HVAC system if there is a possibility of spreading contaminants through the air. When dealing with Category 3 water, refrain from using household fans to try to dry the property, as the moving air will only spread contaminants and make the situation worse.


Most water damage should be cleaned and dried by a professional restoration company. They have the right equipment and training to do the job correctly. You may think you have the situation under control, but water moves far and fast and it is the water that you don’t see that tends to cause the most damage.


Cleaning up and drying out the affected areas properly (at the time of loss) will save a tremendous amount of time and money down the road, while your home or business inventory will assist you to file an accurate, comprehensive insurance claim.


In the restoration industry for 20 years, Owner and General Manager of SERVPRO of Hendricks County, Cindy Hiland-McNalley, specializes in residential and commercial emergency services following a fire, smoke, sewer, or water damage. Other services include mold remediation, move outs and contents restoration, document drying, air duct and HVAC cleaning, biohazard and crime scene/vandalism cleaning, carpet and upholstery cleaning, and deodorization.  Contact Cindy at 317-838-0100 or cindy.hiland@gmail.com.