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Dec

Does a Water Leak Always Mean Mold?

When it comes to mold and water leaks, many people are unfamiliar with the extent of their connection. Most people don’t realize that it’s not just serious water damage, such as flooding, that leads to mold. Any kind of leak that isn’t properly fixed can cause mold to grow. Mold isn’t something that takes a long time to grow either. Under the right conditions, mold can begin to grow and spread in a matter of 24 to 48 hours.

What is Mold?

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Mold is a fungus that grows by digesting organic matter and spread by releasing spores in order to reproduce. In nature, mold helps to decompose wood, leaves and other plant debris. Because they digest materials such as wood, the spread of mold throughout a building can cause damage. Mold is able to grow on pretty much any surface, from wood and wallpaper to insulation and carpet. Mold thrives under humid conditions, which is why water leaks often contribute to the growth and spread of mold. The actual spores that grow into mold are easily brought into any home or building by attaching themselves to a person’s clothes, shoes, older furniture, pets and more.

Is Mold Dangerous?

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Mold can certainly cause damage to the furniture or structure of a building if it is allowed to spread. However, one of the more serious concerns that many people have when it comes to mold is whether it is hazardous to their health. For the most part, mold won’t affect a lot of people. Individuals that suffer from respiratory problems, such as asthma, can be affected by the presence of mold. So can anyone with allergies. Mold can cause issues such as eye irritation, skin rash, nasal congestion, a difficulty breathing and more. There are also a small number of molds that produce mycotoxins. Individuals who are exposed to a high level of mycotoxins can suffer from nausea, fatigue, eye irritation, lung irritation and headaches.

How to Spot Mold

Mold is usually easily spotted when it begins to grow. It tends to appear as small black or white specks. However, sometimes mold grows in hidden areas such as on ceiling tiles or behind wall coverings. Mold is usually accompanied by a musty odor, which means that if it can’t be seen it can usually be smelled. Because mold usually grows in humid areas or areas with high water use, the best places to check for mold include the bathroom, kitchen, laundry room and basement. There are a few ways that a property owner can check for water leaks by him or herself. These include spotting mold and water leaks by looking for:

  • Sounds of dripping, trickling or rushing water
  • Stains on the walls or in the ceilings
  • Musty or damp odors
  • Sudden changes in water pressure
  • Damp or wet areas anywhere inside the property
  • A sudden increase in the cost of one’s water bills.

Property owners should also be sure to inspect the following for signs of mold and water leaks:

  • Areas of their property located nearby indoor or outdoor pools
  • Areas of their property located nearby water features such as fountains
  • Water heaters
  • Laundry rooms
  • Underground and rooftop parking areas

How to Prevent Mold from Growing:

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There are a number of precautions that a property owner can take in order to prevent the growth and spread of mold.

  • Inspect the home for water leaks and have them repaired if found
  • Make sure that the property has proper airflow. The airflow inside of a property can be increased by opening up all doors and windows and turning on any fans.
  • Increase air circulation in the property by moving furniture just a few inches away from the exterior walls
  • Be sure to use exhaust fans when using the laundry room, kitchen or bathroom. If there are no exhaust fans, they should be installed to help prevent mold and water leaks.
  • Make sure that all crawl spaces and attic spaces are properly ventilated and insulated
  • Vacuum the property on a regular basis to remove old mold spores
  • Clean up any liquid spills or condensation immediately when spotted to prevent mold from beginning to grow.
  • Hire a specialist. It’s a good idea to have one’s property inspected for mold and water leaks by a specialist. While anyone can look for mold and water leaks by themselves, only a specialist can make sure that the property is properly inspected so that no mold or water leaks are missed. Not to mention that a specialist will be able to fix any water leaks that are found to prevent the growth of mold.

For more information about preventing or getting rid of mold or water leaks, be sure to contact Leak Masters today.

Image Credits: Mold in flooded home by carlpenergy, Mycotoxin by Edgar181 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons, Mold damage by Angela Schmeidel Randall.