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Burst Pipes And Mould

#Burst Pipes#Advice

Burst pipes can cause mould growth. To prevent this, turn off water supply, disconnect power, remove wet materials, dry area thoroughly, use dehumidifier, and monitor for mould growth.

The damage caused by a burst water pipe can linger long after all the water has dried.

And one of the issues to be aware of is mould formation after a burst plumbing line, as it can have severe consequences on your health and the foundation of your home. So, in the following sections, we will tell you all about burst pipes and mould growth.

Burst Pipe Mould

The Risks and Impacts Of Burst Pipes And Mould Growth

A burst pipe can cause severe damage to your home’s structure and foundation, no matter the building materials used. And these damages may occur even if you think you’ve cleared all the water.

Even as you clean the water after a pipe burst, the water can seep into the minor cracks of your walls, drywall and floors, making way for foundational damages. In the case of concrete, the water can settle on the surface, eventually breaking it down from within. Likewise, wooden joists, panels or beams used in your flooring and walls can start rotting when exposed to all that moisture.

Huge Damage Roof Wall

Moreover, if a burst pipe causes flooding or thrusts water on the exterior walls of your home, the moisture can damage the siding, stucco and patio, which are crucial to your home’s foundation.

Also, pipe bursts can result in fatal electrical sparks and fires, as the wiring and other fixtures come in direct contact with water. Besides, some electrical hazards can become fatal if not contained in time.

As for mould formation, the mould spores can grow quickly, and spread in the indoor air, affecting its quality and even causing severe respiratory problems.

What Causes Burst Pipes And How Do They Contribute To Mould Formation?

The water pipes in your home can be vulnerable to bursts due to different reasons, like:

1. Blocks Or Clogs

One of the most common reasons behind bursting pipes is blockages or clogs, which put undue pressure on the interior surface of the pipes. As the pressure increases, the pipes eventually break open, causing widespread flooding and other water damage. And this is especially true for old and worn-out pipes.

2. Wear And Tear

Sometimes, it doesn’t take a clog or blockage to cause a pipe burst, for external damage to the pipe can cause it to leak and eventually burst. As your plumbing pipes get older and corroded, the water pressure can put undue stress on the internal surface and joints.

Besides, construction or storage near under-sink pipes can cause accidental damage to the pipes, creating cracks that may intensify with water pressure. And the external pipes can get damaged due to tree intrusions.

Wall Repair Due Burst Pipe Mould

3. Freezing Temperatures

Freezing temperatures in colder regions are among the top reasons for pipe bursts inside and outside a home or building.

When cold water flows inside the pipe, it makes the pipe contract as a way to ‘resist’ the cold temperature. And constant contraction of your plumbing pipes can cause them to burst, especially if they are old or have existing cracks and damage. Further, if the water freezes inside the pipe, it can significantly increase the internal pressure and make the pipe burst.

If the pipes freeze (especially the ones located outdoors) due to extremely cold weather and the ice on the surface melts later, it causes a cycle of contraction and expansion. This can be detrimental to the frozen pipes, causing leaks or full-blown bursts.

4. Faulty Fittings

Faulty fittings from DIY or unlicensed plumbing work can damage pipes and leave faulty joints, making room for leaks or bursts.

How Do Pipe Bursts Cause Mould Growth?

As we’ve already mentioned, a pipe burst will invariably cause water to seep through your walls, floors, or ceiling (depending on the burst’s location), creating a damp and humid environment. The longer you leave a flooded area unattended, the more the chances of mould formation will be.

Moreover, porous materials like wood, fabric (carpet or rugs) and drywalls will retain more moisture, increasing the risk of mould formation.

Mould Water Walls

Another factor that promotes mould growth is the absence of light, which makes ‘hidden areas like the attic or crawl spaces extremely prone to developing mould after a pipe burst. And unchecked mould formation can damage the surface it’s growing on permanently. For instance, wooden boards and panels can start warping, while drywalls and walls can start peeling or cracking.

Besides, mould exposure can have many health consequences, especially for people with allergies. As such, they may develop the following symptoms:

  • Coughing and sneezing
  • Wheezing
  • Redness and irritation of eyes
  • Headaches
  • Rashes on skin

It’s important to remember that people with underlying health conditions may develop severe complications upon being exposed to mould. These may include asthma, obtrusive pulmonary disorder, lung infections and immune suppression. So, they should seek immediate medical attention if they develop any of these symptoms.

Signs Of Mould Growth After A Burst Pipe

Water Leaking Copper Pipe Wall

Mould formation doesn’t crop up immediately after water damage from burst pipes- it takes some time for the mould spores to grow on the affected area. However, you may not always be able to notice them until they have damaged the surface.

So, here are some tell-tale signs to be aware of even if the water has been completely dried:

  • A musty or earthy smell
  • Sudden black, blue, or green growing spots
  • Warping or cracking of surfaces after water damage
  • Water damage spots that don’t go away

You can also use these signs to identify mould formation from water leaks or burst pipes inside walls or under floors.

How To Deal With Burst Pipes And Mould Formation?

Repairing Burst Pipe Wall

In case of a water pipe burst, the first step is to turn off the faucet or the main water supply to prevent further damage. And ‘flush’ out all the faucets and pipes to remove any water pressure that may cause more flooding.

Next, if your insurance company covers water damage, make a note (and preferably take pictures) of the water damage for an insurance claim. Then, move everything portable from the flooded area to a dry place and remove all the water. Depending on the extent of damage, you may have to part ways with any ruined items like carpets and rugs.

Once the area is completely dry, we’d suggest scrubbing the corners and any visible cracks with a baking soda solution or 3% hydrogen peroxide to reduce the risk of mould growth. Make sure you ventilate the area properly to get rid of any moisture.

Burst Pipes and Mould

You can take a few DIY measures to minimise the risk of burst pipes, like insulating the pipes in winter, preventing clogs and inspecting them regularly for damage. Moreover, all plumbing installations should be done by professional plumbers so that there are no faults or unwanted damage to initiate burst pipes.

We’d also suggest availing the emergency services of a professional plumbing service, like Big Blue Plumbing Noosa, in case of a pipe burst. Our trained plumbers have the right tools and expertise to deal with water damage and prevent mould formation.

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