Do Water Leaks Always Result in Mold Growth? Any water leak carries the risk of mold growth, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that mold growth is certain. The chance of mold depends on many factors, such as the severity of water damage, how quickly it was cleaned up and dried, and the extent of surfaces affected.
Water damage and mold have a very strong connection. Any kind of small leak can lead to mold, not just serious water damage such as flooding. A leak that goes unfixed, no matter how small, can cause mold growth. Mold can grow quickly within 24 to 48 hours after water infiltration under the right conditions.
What Is Mold?
Molds are a natural part of the environment and can be found almost anywhere that moisture and oxygen are present. They belong to the kingdom Fungi and live in moist places such as soil, plants and dead or decaying matter. Outdoors, molds play a part in nature by breaking down dead organic matter such as fallen leaves, dead trees and other debris; however, indoors mold growth should be avoided.
How Do Molds Spread?
Molds spread by producing tiny reproductive cells called spores that waft through the air. Mold spores usually cannot be seen without magnification (ranging in size from 2-10 um) and are naturally present in both indoor and outdoor air. Some molds have spores that are easily disturbed and settle repeatedly with each disturbance. Other molds have sticky spores that will cling to surfaces and are dislodged by brushing against them or by other direct contact.
Spores may remain able to grow for years after they are produced. In addition, whether or not the spores are alive, the allergens in and on them may remain allergenic for years.
The Dangers of Mold
Mold will damage your building structure quite easily, but the biggest portion of danger from mold is the hazard to human health. Many people will not be severely affected by mold or have damaged health. The people that will be affected by mold are the ones that have pre-existing respiratory issues like asthma and also individuals with allergies. Symptoms of mold presence in a human can be difficulty breathing, nasal congestion, rashes and eye irritation. It is also possible to be exposed to mycotoxins from certain kinds of mold. High levels of exposure can cause nausea, fatigue, lung irritation, headaches and eye irritation.
How To Find Mold
One of the best ways to determine if you have mold in your home is if it is visible. Visible mold can be a sign of a much bigger problem lying beneath the surface. Here are some other signs that mold may be present:
- A nasty smell coming from your air conditioner or heater
- Musty odors
- Worsening asthma without reason
- A lingering cold that won’t go away
- Walls with dark spots or coloring
- Dark grout around your bathtub or shower
- Peeling wallpaper
- A lingering cold that won’t go away
- Itchy from your clothing
- Use of a humidifier
- Allergies that won’t go away
- New homes tend to grow mold
- Chronic tiredness
- You’ve had a flood
How to Prevent Mold
- Keep the house dry — don’t let water build up anywhere, ventilate damp rooms, wipe shower walls and doors after use.
- Wash shower curtains and bathroom tiles regularly with mold-killing products.
- Fix any leaks or seepage in the house, indoors and out.
- Clean dehumidifiers and humidifiers every week.
- Turn off humidifiers if you see condensation on windows.
- Don’t leave wet clothes in the washing machine where mold can quickly grow.
- Don’t have too many indoor plants — especially in the bedroom — as mold can grow in plant soil.
- Put plastic over dirt in crawlspaces and keep them well ventilated.
- Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathrooms.
- Use dehumidifiers and air conditioners in basements and other areas of the house where mold tends to grow, especially in hot humid climates.
- On concrete floors, remove carpet and use area rugs that can be lifted and washed, or install a vapor barrier over the concrete.
If you are in Las Vegas or surrounding areas and need water damage restoration or mold remediation, please get more information at RSI Companies.