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A Plumber And Their Role In Addressing Mold Concerns | Lake Worth, TX

A Plumber And Their Role In Addressing Mold Concerns | Lake Worth, TX

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Mold is one of the most dreaded problems homeowners and landlords in Lake Worth, TX, may encounter calling a need for a plumber. The notorious ‘black mold’ adds another layer of dismay. Mold is difficult to remove and provokes a wide range of health issues. The initial signs of mold growth are often overlooked because growth begins in damp, humid out-of-the-way areas that people generally do not see on a regular basis.

What Is Mold?

Mold is a broad term that encompasses thousands of airborne, spore-forming fungi species. Researchers have found over 100,000 types of spore-forming mold. Many species of mold colonize indoor environments, and colonies appear in a wide range of colors. Black mold is the common name for Stachybotrys chartarum.

The ability to form spores is a significant characteristic that makes mold very hard to eradicate. Mold spores are tough and hardy. They can exist in a dormant state for up to a year, and some species form spores capable of surviving for years. Tiny mold spores can spread like dust and pollen. People carry them indoors on clothing and shoes, and some spores are even blown through open windows and doors by the wind.

How Does Mold Affect Health?

Symptoms of black mold exposure include a runny nose, sore throat and red, irritated eyes. These vague symptoms make diagnosis a tricky proposition. Mold exposure can also severely exacerbate asthma symptoms and even trigger asthma attacks in people that never experienced them before.

Long term exposure to mold can increase the likelihood of developing upper respiratory illnesses, such as bronchitis. Mold is especially threatening for people with severe allergies, chronic lung conditions and compromised immune systems.The United States Environmental Protection Agency, or EPA, reports that allergies to mold are very common. Common symptoms include irritation of the skin, nose, eyes or lungs. People affected by mold allergies should seek help from a medical professional.

How Can Plumbers Help?

Plumbers are not actually professionally qualified to make decisions regarding mold. A plumber can also complete the education and training necessary to perform mold identification and remediation services, but becoming a professional plumber does not automatically grant expertise in mold-related services.

The relationship between plumbing and mold is indirect. Plumbers help homeowners prevent and fix conditions that let mold flourish. These conditions are all related to water, moisture and humidity.

Standing Water

Standing water means that water is soaking into surfaces and building materials. The longer standing water exists, the more difficult it is to dry out the area and mitigate damage. Water damage can result in mold, but it is not a foregone conclusion if the problem leading to standing water is corrected

in a timely manner. Call a plumber immediately if you notice standing water in your home and do not know where it is coming from.

Water Condensation

Condensation is a common problem, especially in older homes with inadequate ventilation. Mold grows easily on ceilings above showers and in areas surrounding bathtubs and sinks when bathrooms have poor ventilation. Sometimes opening a bathroom window during showers and baths can reduce condensation until a more permanent solution is found.

Increased Humidity

A professional plumber may have a hygrometer, a meter to measure humidity levels, but most people can sense humidity without tools. The air becomes thick and heavy and many people experience frizzy hair. Excessive humidity is usually obvious before any signs of water damage appear.

Water Staining

Water stains and water lines may appear on cabinets or drywall. These markings are a direct indication that the area was damaged by water at some point. A plumber can help determine the extent of water damage and find out if the source of water was ever fixed or not. Locating water damage is important because mold and mildew are almost guaranteed if a building or room was left with uncorrected water damage for long periods.

Darkened Building Materials

People may worry that mold is flourishing on building materials when wood and other materials darken after exposure to water. Sometimes the darker coloration is a result of mold and mildew, but darkening can be a result of other factors. The Institute of Inspection, Cleaning and Restoration Certification, or IICRC, estimates that microbial growth can

begin within 24-48 hours in ideal conditions. Water damage restoration services may want to remove building materials if wet conditions have existed for more than two days. A plumber can help in this situation if the source of water is unknown.

Hidden leaks are a frequent cause of mold. Pinhole leaks in pipes within walls and ceilings let water escape and create moist, humid conditions. Signs of hidden leaks include:

  • Dark marks, water spots, and spreading stains on ceiling tiles
  • Crumbling drywall
  • Noticeable mold growth around baseboards or floors
  • Warped floorboards or drywall
  • Water beading on window ledges
  • Unexplained increases on water bills

Your local plumber can replace pipes or repair leaks. Routine plumbing inspections may prevent mold growth entirely by identifying problems early.

Leaks underneath bathroom and kitchen sinks are fairly common. These leaks often come from a p-trap, which is the curved section of the drainpipe, or loose feed lines. Check for leaks if you notice a strange or unpleasant smell. Many households use the area underneath sinks to store cleaning supplies and other products. Wet product containers or water stains on the labels may indicate a leak. A plumber may need to replace part of the drainpipe or perform more extensive repairs depending on the size and location of the leak.

Mold Prevention

Water droplets form when moisture-laden air contacts cool surfaces. Cooking, drying clothes, washing dishes and showering or bathing add moisture to the air. Unvented heating appliances can also increase indoor moisture. Windows, doors, and walls with poor insulation provide cool areas during winter months and the hot air from heating appliances forms condensation on these surfaces. Condensation droplets run down walls and along paneling or carpets. This may lead to mold, rot, mildew and peeling paint. Many plumbers do have a solid understanding of moisture and humidity, and they are an invaluable resource for homeowners struggling to handle these issues.


The key to keeping your home in Lake Worth, TX, free of mold is moisture control. Mold can begin growing within hours after water saturates carpeting, furniture, drywall, and other surfaces. A whole-home dehumidifier is an option to prevent moisture build up in hot, humid climates. Your local plumber can recommend an appropriate dehumidifier and install and program the device.

Small portable dehumidifiers are helpful when humidity is a problem in specific locations, such as bathrooms and basements. You can move portable dehumidifiers to different locations as needed. Most portable dehumidifiers must be monitored and emptied on a regular basis. Water collection increases or decreases as humidity levels fluctuate. An unmonitored dehumidifier can make moisture problems worse if collection containers overflow and soak the surrounding area.

Windows and Fans

Air circulation reduces mold growth by reducing or eliminating moisture buildup. An open window in pleasant weather lets fresh dry air enter the home and reduce humidity levels inside. Air circulation is a good way to reduce unseen moisture in places that are not easily accessible.

Turn on a fan for a few hours each day in damp areas if opening windows is not an option. Unfortunately, fans are of limited use in high humidity and areas with heavy moisture buildup because the re-circulated air just carries dampness along with it.

Air Conditioning and Vents

Air conditioning is one of the most well known and effective ways to reduce indoor humidity. Make sure your heating and cooling system is in good working order with regular maintenance. Ensure registers and vents are clean and free of obstruction to encourage air circulation and consistent temperatures.

Sealing cracks around windows and doors with caulking or weatherstripping improves energy efficiency and keeps humid air from entering, but sealants also inhibit air exchange. This problem can be addressed with exhaust fans in bathrooms and kitchens, ducts, and exhaust pipes for dryers and heats to vent air to the outside. Maintain exhaust fans, vents and ducts by keeping them free of grease, lint, dust and other particulates that could block air movement.

Daily Habits

You can reduce moisture and humidity in your home by changing some daily habits and making small alterations in household tasks. Cover pots and pans while cooking. Leave doors between rooms open as often as possible to encourage air circulation. Store firewood outside if you use a woodburning stove or fireplace. Keep aquariums covered and use filters to keep water oxygenated.

Mold Growing Out of Sight

Moisture and mold growth in inaccessible areas tend to cause the most damage because problems aren’t identified until they become obvious. Attics with poor ventilation promote mold growth in framing elements and affect structural integrity. Improve air quality in attics by keeping eave vents clean and free of insulation.

Unused fireplaces are often sealed to keep them clean and avoid inconvenience. Unfortunately, a sealed fireplace can easily become a mold and mildew incubator. Condensation accumulates and soaks into masonry around the fireplace. Leave unused fireplaces only partially sealed off to allow airflow and make sure rain can not seep in through the chimney.

Crawl Spaces are mold hot spots because they absorb moisture from soil. Mold spores also have very easy access to crawlspaces and accumulated dirt and debris provides plenty of material for mold colonies to prosper. Install a vapor barrier over bare soil to keep moisture out of living space.

Water pipes frequently travel through walls and ceilings or underneath floors. This keeps the pipes out of living spaces where they would interfere with daily life and activities. Unfortunately, condensation often forms on these pipes due to temperature differences between the water flowing inside and the air in the surrounding environment. Condensation inside walls and under floors is an invitation to mold that can grow undetected for long periods. Hire a plumber to insulate pipes and inspect your home to prevent mold growth inside walls that may spread to structural elements and cause severe damage.

Mold Removal

Mold removal is difficult, but surface level colonies can be eradicated quickly if they are caught early. A bleach solution can kill mold colonies. Make sure the target area has adequate ventilation and avoid breathing fumes from the solution. Never mix bleach with other cleaning products. Cleaning the area will not prevent future mold growth unless underlying issues are addressed. Consult a plumber to help find and repair water leaks and reduce humidity.

Mold remediation and removal after a flood or severe storm can be more complicated. Standing water, mud and dirt must be cleaned up and removed before concentrating on mold removal. Remove and throw away items with water damage that can not be fixed. Dry the flooded area as quickly as possibly. Some local plumbers have powerful fans and dryers for such situations. The entire area must be free of water, mud and dirt before tackling moldy surfaces.

General rules of thumb and safety precautions for mold removal after water enters your home include:

  • Wear gloves, goggles and a mask to protect your skin, eyes, nose and mouth
  • Open all doors and windows while working and try to leave rooms open to air out when you’re finished
  • Employ fans and dehumidifiers to complete the drying process
  • Do not mix any cleaning products together
  • Do not apply paint or caulk over mold. Covering mold will not prevent continued growth, but it will make the mold colonies even harder to eradicate
  • Dry everything within 24 to 48 hours and consider throwing away items that can not be cleaned and dried within 2 days
  • Assume that every item not dried within 48 hours is contaminated with mold and treat items accordingly

Contact the trained and experienced plumbers at Benjamin Franklin of Fort Worth for help with controlling mold. Routine plumbing services and professional advice help you keep your home in Lake Worth, TX, free of excessive moisture to stay comfortable and avoid mold and mildew.