Leaking Pipes and Toxic Mold: How to Protect Yourself

How a simple pipe leak can create catastrophic damage in your home 


Leaking pipes can be a serious headache for homeowners. Large or small, leaking pipes can cause a whole host of problems, including and certainly not limited to the development of mildew and mold from water damage. Undetected leaks and standing water are a primary cause of moisture build up behind walls, ceilings, windows and flooring, leading to product deterioration and mold infestation. 

Molds, while very dangerous, are very common in buildings and homes. Mold will grow in a high moisture environment especially around leaks in roofs, pipes especially hidden or low traffic areas, windows and specifically where there has been flooding and can grow just about anywhere including dust, drywall, tiles and paint.  Unbeknownst to a homeowner, many building materials provide perfect nutrients that encourage mold to grow. Wet cellulose materials like paper and wood products create a perfect home and breeding ground for mold.  And something as seemingly minor as a drop leak in a windowsill if left unattended can create a mold infestation. 

So, a basic fact of a mold infestation is that it can be seen and smelled. As many of the pipes in your home run beneath the floorboards or above the ceiling, a solid indicator of a leak is if your home has visible water stains.  Discoloration on support surfaces like walls, floors and ceilings, bubbling paint or wallpaper generally mean you are likely dealing with a leak and in turn a mold problem. Mold will have a very musty and damp smell. Anywhere with old, sitting water will create a similar odor. If you are experiencing an odor that you are not used to, this is the time to have a trusted, well qualified water damage expert check it out. 

Exposure to damp or moldy environments can cause a variety of health dangers. While some individuals can be asymptomatic, a vast majority of people will have a reaction such as sneezing, itchy watery eyes and as extreme as asthma and there is sufficient evidence that takes these health conditions much further. So, now that you have a fairly good idea that you have a mold problem, what do you do? 

Timing is crucial with mold. Immediate action is needed. The faster you act, the faster your leak and resulting mold infestation can be identified and fixed. If your pipe leaks are quickly detected and repaired, you can eliminate the damage before it really takes hold. This is a problem that will not fix itself. High quality, water damage experts are your greatest resource and immediate attention is your best course of action. 

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