Is It Safe To Be In A Room With Water Damage?

Stacy CookWater Damage

When water damage occurs, it can be quite concerning for property owners to know what to do. One of the primary concerns is whether it is safe to be in a room with water damage. The answer is dependent on multiple factors, such as the source of the water, the extent of the damage, and how long the water has been present. In this blog, we will detail if it is safe to be in a room with water damage and what action is necessary to ensure the safety of occupants.


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The Health Risks of Water DamageWater damage can pose a range of health risks to all occupants of the space. When water damages occur, it can create an environment that mold, an airborne spore, can rapidly grow in. Exposure to mold spores has been linked to a nasal or allergic fungal condition, which is a harmful effect to the immune system in individuals exposed. Such harmful effects may lead to severe respiratory conditions and other health issues, especially in those who may have underlying health issues such as allergies or asthma. 

Additionally, contaminated water poses a health risk for bacterial infections, viruses, or other diseases. Depending on the severity of the problem, being in an indoor environment with water damage could be life-threatening. As such, it is a necessity to have a professional evaluate the situation and provide sound advice on which areas are safe for access, be it individual rooms, multiple rooms, or the entire property.

The Classification of Water DamageThe Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) has classified water damage into three categories based on the water source’s quality and degree of contamination.

  1. Category 1: Clean Water. This water comes from a clean source such as pipes, faucets, and springs. The water source is not harmful to humans, and if untouched for an extended period of time, the likelihood of bacteria or mold developing is relatively low.
  2. Category 2: Grey Water. This water contains a level of contamination, making it unsafe for human consumption. Sources can include washing machines, dishwashers, shower and bath drain wastes, and toilet overflow with no feces in it. Unlike clean water, grey water needs attention immediately to prevent it from becoming category three water.
  3. Category 3: Black Water. Blackwater is the most worrying, high-risk category of water damage. As well as posing a contamination risk from bacteria, viruses, and toxins, black water is often contaminated with human or animal waste. Contact with blackwater, especially ungloved or uncovered, can lead to a host of severe health concerns, including bacterial and viral infections, hepatitis A, tetanus, HIV, and more. Examples of black water sources include sewage backups or standing floodwaters.

Is it Safe to Be in a Room with Water Damage? Access to a damaged environment is not safe until cleaning and remediation have occurred. The length of time that water has been present can lead to decay, growth of mold bacteria and other microscopic organisms, resulting in an unsafe environment with more significant health risks. The source of the water also needs to be a consideration since the quality of the water can determine the level of contamination risks an individual in the room faces.

Regardless of the kind of water source, prompt action is necessary to minimize the extent and spread of water damage. Damaged areas should always be treated with caution, and these spaces should only be accessed if it is entirely necessary. Before entering a room with water damage, it’s essential to ensure that electricity and gas lines have been turned off to prevent electrocution or gas leaks.

The Steps to Follow When Dealing With Water Damage.  Water damage should never be taken lightly. In addition to disrupting your home, it has the potential to cause significant harm to you, your family, or customers occupying the space. Here are the steps one should follow when dealing with water damage:

  1. Contact Professionals for Assistance. The first step is to contact a water damage restoration company that can evaluate and handle the situation appropriately to avoid life-threatening risks. Such professionals have the skillset, specialized equipment, and experience to deal with any level of water damage, from clean water to black water, to avoid exacerbation of the problem.
  2. Turn Off All Utilities. At the earliest chance, turn off power or electricity, gas lines, or any other source that can cause more significant harm until the professionals arrive at the scene.
  3. Be Mindful of Contaminants. Personal safety is vital when accessing water-damaged areas.