Skip to main content

There comes a time in everyone’s life that they learn some new piece of seemingly useless information that actually comes in handy in certain predicaments. We would like to be the ones to provide you with that seemingly useless bit of information. Get ready, cause you are about to be schooled in restoration industry terminology.

You never know when a toilet will back up, a small drip in the fridge water line will gradually do extensive damage, your water heater will spring a leak, or those darn kids will leave a hose running in the window well. Accidents happen and some are worse than others. If you find yourself in a predicament like the ones mentioned above, there is a good chance you will hear the terms, “category 1, category 2, or category 3” thrown around in your talks with the insurance adjuster or the restoration professional.

Idaho Falls Restoration Company – Tips

The IICRC (Institution of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification) sets the standards for the restoration industry and explains the meaning of these terms best:

“According to IICRC Standard and Reference Guide for Professional Water Damage Restoration (IICRC S500), there are three categories of water that cause damage in buildings. They are summarized as follows:

Category 1 Water – That which is clean at the releasing source and does not pose a hazard if consumed by humans. Category 1 water may become progressively contaminated as it mixes with soils on or within floor coverings or building assemblies (walls, decking, subflooring). Time and temperature, which promote the growth and amplification of microorganisms in water can cause Category 1 water to degrade. Examples: burst water pipes, failed supply lines on appliances, vertically falling rainwater.

Category 2 Water – That which begins with some degree of contamination and could cause sickness or discomfort if consumed by humans. As with Category 1 water, time and temperature can cause Category 2 water to become progressively more contaminated.

Category 3 Water – That which is highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed by humans. Examples: sewage, rising flood water from rivers and streams, ground surface water flowing horizontally into homes.”


In other words:

Category 1 Water: Water that starts clean and would be drinkable (if it wasn’t all over your floor). This can become contaminated over time.

Category 2 Water: This water starts out mildly contaminated and could make you sick if you drink it. Over time it may become more contaminated.

Category 3: This is water that starts out highly contaminated and could cause death or serious illness if consumed.


Leave a Reply