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How black mold due to a water leak can make you deathly ill

dirty and moldy shower head

Water leaks bring a litany of major issues, from costly repairs and unwanted stress to replacing damaged structures and belongings. Perhaps the most pressing concern that follows a substantial water leak in your home is the sudden appearance of black mold. A pain to remove and detrimental to health, black mold thrives in damp, humid areas, such as the exact environment created by a water leak trapped behind a wall. The first signs of black mold may be minuscule and easily overlooked, but when it comes to black mold and your home, it’s best to never let your guard down, and err on the side of caution. Know the signs of a black mold outbreak, and what effects it has on your health, and the health of those in your home, so you can be prepared to tackle the mold issue at its underlying source.


Mold 101: What is Mold

Mold is a colloquial term for the various airborne, spore-based fungi that grow in warm, humid, damp environments and travel via dust. There is a variety of indoor-based molds, appearing in a full spectrum of colors, but the most notable mold of concern is Stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold. Generally associated with a musty, unpleasant odor, as mold spreads over a surface, it begins to damage the underlying area as the mold decomposes the material it lives on. As mold spores spread via dust, they are able to find their way into your home via open windows or dragged in on clothing through the front door. Once inside, so long as the spores find a dry area, the mold is able to lay dormant for a considerable amount of time, meaning mold could be lying in wait.

Symptoms of Exposure to Mold

infograph about the effects black mold have on humans

Diagnosing someone who has come in contact with black mold can be somewhat tricky. The major symptoms include:

  • runny nose
  • itchy eyes
  • sore throat
  • sneezing
  • coughing
  • itchy skin

Be careful when diagnosing mold infections as these are also signs associated with many other health issues.

However, black mold is capable of exacerbating the symptoms of asthma and can cause asthma in those who did not previously have it. Additionally, long-term exposure to mold can increase the likelihood of developing more serious upper respiratory issues such as bronchitis. Those with mold allergies, immune-compromised individuals, and those with a chronic lung illness should avoid mold as they are more likely to develop more serious lung and breathing issues when exposed to black mold in your home.

How to Remove Black Mold

Surface level cleaning of mold is possible and recommended. Ensuring that the area has proper ventilation, the best way to tackle mold growth is by cleaning the affected area with a bleach solution (1 cup of bleach to every 1 gallon of water). Be mindful not to breathe too much of either the mold or bleach solution. Limiting the humidity level and ensuring the area has plenty of ventilation once the area has been cleaned will help ensure that black mold does not return to your home.  

 While this tackles the mold itself, it doesn’t address the underlying issues, which should also be fixed to ensure mold stays in its place — outside of your home. Once the area has been cleaned, be sure to consult with a plumbing professional to make sure any errant water leaks are sealed, and any damaged, leaky pipes are replaced, as the only thing worse than a mold infestation is a mold infestation that returns because a leak is still happening. Depending on how long an area in your home has been exposed to black mold, walls, portions of ceilings, or fixtures may need to be replaced to deal with the damage caused by decomposition.

Contact Duane Blanton for Water Leak Repair in Chicagoland

If you suspect there is a leak threatening to usher in a black mold infestation, or if you have any general questions about mold prevention and keeping parts of your home free from errant moisture, reach out to the licensed professionals at Duane Blanton Plumbing, Sewer, Heating, and Cooling, Rather than guessing your way through a mold infestation, give the experts at Duane Blanton a call at (815) 781-2567, and they will be able to set you on the right path toward mold and leak elimination. If you already know there is an issue present, or if you just prefer the convenience of scheduling over through the internet, you can always utilize the Duane Blanton online scheduling portal 24/7 for any plumbing needs.

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