When Plumbing Causes Mold
In the event of a plumbing leak or even an overflow, there is always the inherent danger of mold forming. After such an event, when is it appropriate for the homeowner to become concerned about the possibility of toxic mold? We’re going to answer that question and more.
Facts, not fear
There are no standards, national or international, on mold. In spite of this, dire news warnings and fear-mongering seem to be the norm when it comes to mold. Homeowners need to know facts about mold, not hype.
Both the news media and certain, nefarious contractors profit on alarmist viewpoints, rather than facts. As plumbers, we find this a disturbing trend. So, we’ve compiled a list of helpful facts to help you understand the causes and treatments of this ubiquitous organism:
When is mold toxic?
Mold is an ever-present recycler in the out-of-doors, where it plays an important role in the ecosystem. It’s only when some varieties grow indoors, they can cause adverse health effects.
Controlling excessive moisture from water leaks will prevent and stop indoor mold growth.
Household mold becomes a problem if it is the variety which contains toxins, either triple helical glucan or toxic metabolites, which are both toxic to lung cells even at low levels.
When the mold, Stachybotrys chartarum, often called ‘black mold’ is present, this can cause severe health issues in some people, however, not all black mold is the S. chartarum variety. In addition, mold can cause reactions in some people even if it isn’t S. chartarum, which include sneezing, flu-like symptoms, skin rash, etc.
What to do when you find mold
When you see or smell mold, it’s important to find the leak or cause of the moisture which is causing the mold growth and remedy it, or the problem will return. If the problem is structural (a water leak or broken pipe in the wall) a plumber will need to repair it.
But that isn’t all. You may need guidelines on whether or not the mold problem is something you can deal with yourself. So, the second thing a homeowner needs to know is how to decide if they need a professional restoration company.
These are the conditions to consider:
If the water is caused by a sewage backup or another toxic source, or fresh water source which has become contaminated.
If the water has damaged more porous building materials, such as ceiling tiles, wallboard, carpeting or drywall, which needs to be removed and replaced in sufficient quantity as to be a cumbersome or untenable project for the homeowner.
If the water has resulted in structural damage.
If the surface area of the mold is larger than 10 square feet.
If the homeowner can’t wear the necessary cleanup items: rubber gloves, an N95 respirator, and goggles—or if these items aren’t available for any reason.
Where is the mold?
Usually, a visible inspection will reveal visible mold growth, concurrent with a leak or some other moisture. In addition, mold can be detected by a musty or lingering odor.
If no mold growth is readily apparent, conduct an inspection of other areas may reveal the source. These include locations of previous leaks, ventilation systems, and areas of condensation.
If the problem is caused by a plumbing issue. It’s crucial to have the leak repaired before restoration is started. Even though a restoration company can come in with dryers and air scrubbing tools in the event of a sewage backup, unless the problem is under control, restoration work may be followed by another leak and more mold.
If you need a licensed, bonded, experienced plumber for plumbing installation and service in Chandler, Gilbert, Mesa, Queen Creek, Ahwatukee or San Tan Valley call Norfleet Family Plumbing Heating and Air at 480-681-1764.