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Not all water damage is created equal!
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Not all water damage is created equal!

Not all water damage is created equal. If you experience a flood, minor or major, it is important to know in which category the damage falls and what your options are when calling a San Diego flood repair specialist. At  Bill Howe Restoration & Flood, all lead technicians are trained and Clean Trust certified through the Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and are the experts in diagnosing and determining water damage and solutions for repair.

water flooding home

There are 3 categories of water involved in water loss: clean,gray, and black. In San Diego, plumbers from Bill Howe have encountered each of these and are ready to help you stop the leak or flood fast while coordinating with the San Diego flood repair specialists on their team to help ensure your home is cleaned and returned to its original condition.

Category 1: Often referred to as “Clean” water because  the source does not pose substantial harm to humans. Some clean water sources may include broken water supply lines, bathtub or sink overflows with no contaminants, appliance malfunctions involving water supply lines, melting ice, or falling rain water, that has not flowed over soil or through structural components. Even broken toilet tanks and bowls do not contain contaminants or additives. But, once a clean water source contacts other surfaces or materials, the condition may change as it dissolves or mixes with soils and possible contaminations over time. In San Diego, plumbers at Bill Howe often encounter minor category 1 water damage when responding to burst supply lines underneath sinks.

Category 2: Also known as “grey“ water contains some degree of contamination and is considered unsanitary. Category 2 water could potentially cause discomfort or sickness if consumed and carries microorganisms. Gray water examples can include discharge from dishwashers or washing machines, overflows from washing machines, and overflows of toilet bowls with liquid waste. All of these may contain chemicals or biocontaminants (fungal, bacterial, viral or algae) or other forms of contamination. Time and temperature can aggravate Category 2 water contamination significantly. Structures that remains untreated longer than 48 hours can change from category 2 to category 3.

Category 3: The most serious water damage is commonly referred to as “black” water. Category 3 water always contains pathogenic agents. Grossly unsanitary, “black” water sources come from sewage or other contaminated water entering a structure and can contain dangerous chemicals or medical wastes. Toilet backflows that originate from beyond the toilet trap are considered to be “black” water damage, regardless of visible content or color. Category 3 includes all forms of sea water and ground surface water flowing into structures, and situations where structural materials and/or contents have been heavily contaminated with pesticides, heavy metals or toxic organic substances. If you suspect category 3 water damage in San Diego, flood repair specialists should be contacted immediately.

Water categories can change rapidly depending on many variables. In San Diego, flood repair specialists from Bill Howe are available 24/7 and estimates are always free. If you suspect water damage, minor or major, call 1-800-BILL-HOWE (1-800-245-5469)  today for your free estimate!



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What David says about us

Service for new garbage disposal. My ancient garbage disposal quit working, went online to get Bill Howe’s number, immediately received and accepted chat to describe my needs. Prompt call back to schedule an appointment, service tech Allen was out same morning, which was important to fit my work schedule. Job estimate was clear, work done fully to my expectations, area left clean, and price was very fair.
I was not surprised — I have used Bill Howe plumbers for several other tasks in the past. I have always found their staff to be helpful, attentive, and the plumbers very courteous and capable.

January 2020


What Michelle says about us

I have been using Bill Howe since the late 1980’s, their service has always been excellent, plumbing, heating and restoration. I am most impressed by the integrity of their employees, not only do they know their work/skill, they do not waste time, they are so efficient, they are so helpful and they are a true “service”!

February 2020


What Mira says about us

Bill Howe never fails us! We had a drain overflow, and Scott came (on a Saturday) to look at it and offer solution. He was punctual, professional, and extremely helpful. I should also praise the main office for always being helpful and always finding solutions. Very grateful to have you in San Diego!

February 2020

Restoration & Flood

What Ed Gohlich says about us

Cory was our technician on this job. We had a time sensitive repair issue and Bill Howe understood and assisted with getting the job done quickly.
Cory was on time to start the job and finished it quickly. Upon his leaving our home he’s was courteous, very knowledgeable, explaining what the problem was and how he fixed it. Very good communication and this is the way it’s has always been when we use Bill Howe plumbing.
Great company to work with.
Thanks Cory.

August 2019

Heating & Cooling

What Eric says about us

I had a shower that would not drain. The employee arrived on time and fixed the problem quickly and effectively at a very fair price. I was very happy with everything. Thank you and I highly recommend your plumbing service.

January 2019


What Bridgett says about us

I am extremely happy with the service we received from Bill Howe Plumbing. We were given an incorrect diagnosis of our main sewer line from another vendor, but Bill Howe’s servicemen came out for a second opinion, correctly diagnosed our problem and resolved our back up issues. We will continue to use Bill Howe for all our future plumbing needs!

Thank you Bill Howe Plumbing.

July 2019