Mold: The Water Damage Consequence That Keeps on Living
An often unforeseen consequence of a residential water leak is the occurrence of secondary damage. This type of damage is not directly caused by water spillage but is a result of the high humidity environment created by persistent moisture. Black mold is an example of this.
What Is Mold?
The wetness from plumbing leaks can persist for weeks in humid areas such as Baton Rouge, LA, causing mold to grow. Mold is a type of microorganism related to yeast, classified in the Fungi kingdom. Fungi are decomposers that occupy an ecological niche, breaking down dead plants and animals, using the detritus for energy, and converting the dead matter into a form that is usable by other creatures via the carbon and nitrogen cycles. This becomes a problem when they start decomposing your house.
Where Does Mold Live?
Fungi thrive in the following environmental conditions:
- Low light
- Relatively undisturbed
In the wild, decomposers are an essential part of the ecosystem. Black mold reproduces in the environment by a process called sporulation. Mold spores are produced from hyphae and carry progeny from suitable environments to suitable environment on wind currents or by clinging to the outside of an animal or person’s shoe. When the spore finds a high-humidity environment, chemical signals initiated by moisture start the process of cell division, and a new colony of mold forms. These spores are ubiquitous in the environment, including the air in your home. Secondary damage occurs when mold begins to grow in your house because of residual moisture from a water leak.
How Do You Fix It?
If you find yourself in a situation where black mold is an issue, it is best to call in professionals. A musty odor or visible growth on walls or ceilings can be indicative of mold growth. Left to grow, mold can cause secondary damage that is worse than the damage caused by the initial plumbing leak, but you don’t have to let these moisture-loving fungi turn your home into a tropical rainforest.