Pipe leaks usually start out small. And because they are small, they often go unnoticed.
Sometimes, we deliberately put off fixing them because it seems like such a minor thing, especially if we have more pressing matters to attend to—the leak can wait.
But can it really?
What most people are not aware of is that, that tiny leak around your window, that little drip under the sink, that small yellowing water stain on your wall is a health hazard waiting to happen.
Moisture Feeds The Growth Of Active Mould
When left unattended for too long, leaks, no matter how tiny they are, encourage the growth of moulds. “Moulds” is a broad term for a lot of indoor and outdoor fungi that damage the material it lives on.
But aside from impairing structural integrity, active mould can also be harmful to human health.
Exposure to it is known to cause allergic reactions and infections.
People who are especially sensitive to mould, who have a compromised immune system, or those with chronic lung illnesses might have more severe reactions when exposed to moulds.
Some of the symptoms of mould allergy include the appearance of rashes, wheezing or coughing, shortness of breath or difficulty breathing, eye, skin or throat irritation, fatigue, fever and nasal stuffiness.
Encourages The Growth Of Mycotoxins (Toxic Moulds)
Certain types of moulds such as stachybotyrs and aspergillus produce secondary metabolites of moulds called mycotoxins. Mycotoxins are dangerous which is why they are also known as “toxic mould.”
Why is toxic mould dangerous?
Aside from causing depression, studies have shown that breathing in large amounts of toxic mould can disrupt the central nervous system and cause behavioral and cognitive changes. It might lead to ataxia, convulsions and other symptoms of neurotoxicity.
In worse cases, toxic mould can go directly to the brain through your olfactory neurons, optic muscles or optic nerves. If left untreated, this can lead to serious brain complications and even death.
Toxic mould can affect almost all the organs in the body and some might even cause DNA damage.
How Do Moulds Enter The Body?
Toxic mould can’t be seen with the naked eye but are dangerous to human health. It thrives in an environment with high levels of moisture and humidity like shower walls, under the fridge and basements.
When toxic mould is present in the immediate environment, it enters the body when we unwittingly breathe it in. It can also enter the body through the eyes or when we eat food contaminated with toxic mould.
Some forms of toxic mould can be absorbed in the skin and remain harmful even after being cooked or exposed to high heat.
Indicators of Mould
How would you be able to determine if you have a mould problem? There are several ways:
If your “allergies” or “colds” seem to disappear when you are away from home (and flare up when you are home), chances are, you aren’t really suffering an allergy or cold. You might be experiencing the symptoms caused by the presence of mould.
- Moulds may appear like a patch of small black particles. However, it could also be white, grayish-green, grayish-brown, or even pink in color. It could also look like ordinary soot.
- Moulds growing in confined areas will produce a strange, pungent odor.
How Can Moulds Be Prevented?
Surprisingly, quite a number of studies reveal that the air inside our homes, school or offices can be far worse than the air outside. This is disturbing because we consider these places as safe for us and our families.
To prevent moulds from invading our homes, it is important to:
- Ensure your area—especially in bathrooms and basements—has proper ventilation system to supply sufficient amounts of outdoor air and prevent condensation.
- Check for leaks in areas where it is not immediately noticeable. Areas like under the fridge, near water dispensers, dishwashers and washing machines are also prone to become a playground for moulds.
- Do not let wet areas to stay wet or damp.
- If you notice yellow water stains on your wall, check and determine the source of the leak. However, this could be a very tricky task to do on your own as there are around 300 feet of plumbing pipes in an average home.
- Get all leaking taps, plumbing pipes and fixtures repaired immediately by specialists or professional plumbers in Melbourne. They should be able to thoroughly examine your plumbing system, identify the source of the leaks and repair it.
It is important that you be aware of the consequences of ignoring tiny pipe leaks so you can take preventive measures in protecting yourself, your family and your home or office.