Black Mold From Water Leak and Black Mold Water Damage

If you’ve had a water leak, you may be wondering about black mold from water leaks and black mold water damage. In this article, we will take an in-depth look at the black mold from water leaks and research what black mold water damage means.

Can a Water Leak Cause Black Mold?

A water leak can cause black mold infestation when there is moisture from water damage, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding. Constant moisture is required for mold to grow. When water leaks go unnoticed or remain unrepaired for an extended period of time, mold growth occurs.

Mold near window

Water leaks raise a home’s humidity levels by evaporating into the air making it a prime breeding ground for mold.

Black mold can begin to form within one to two days of a water leak. Black mold spores can start colonizing and spreading anywhere from a few days to just under two weeks after this process starts.

What Is Black Mold?

Although there is more than one type of black mold, stachybotrys chartarum is the one usually referred to as “toxic mold”, is greenish-black in color, and is commonly grown on wood, fiberboard, and other materials with a high cellulose content. It occasionally produces a toxic substance, which is detected in the spores and fungal particles that are released into the air.

Despite what many believe, it’s never been proven that black mold is any more of a concern than mold of another type or color.

How Long Does it Take Black Mold to Grow?

After being exposed to a water leak, black mold and mildew begin to grow within a couple of days and continue to do so unless action is made to stop the moisture source and properly address the mold issue.

Mold colonies reproduce by producing tiny reproductive cells called spores that travel through the air and cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Being very lightweight, these mold spores easily travel through the air from one place to another and can be capable of growing even years after being produced.

Other types of mold spores can be rather sticky and cling to surfaces, only being dislodged by being bumped or rubbed up against.

Can Mold Grow After Leak Is Fixed?

Mold can still grow after a leak is fixed if the leak was not repaired properly. Even when a good effort was made to repair the water damage, moisture can still be left behind in crevices and under floors. Mold spores produced from the previous mold patches can flourish in these dark, warm, moist places prime for more mold growth.

When making water leak repairs and repairing water damage from the water leaks, it’s important to double-check that you have addressed all places where the water has come into contact and dry those areas out thoroughly.

Can Black Mold Grow in Water?

Although mold is capable of growing on top of the water, it’s not able to grow if it’s inside the water. Even though water has oxygen in it, the amount of oxygen that mold needs to survive is not enough being completely submerged in water.

Mold needs not only oxygen but food sources to survive, such as soil, plants, paper products, wood, etc.

What Are the Signs of Black Mold?

When the environment is just right in your home, mold can flourish and multiply quickly. Identifying the signs of black mold will help you be aware of the existence of mold and decide the best way to remove it.

Water Leaks and Water Damage

If you suspect a water leak, this could be a sign of a potential mold problem. It doesn’t take much in the way of a water leak to provide mold prime breeding ground. A very slow yet steady leak is all that’s needed, and you’ll have mold spores airborne in your home landing on other potential places to reproduce.

The importance of repairing water leaks quickly cannot be stressed enough.

A Musty Smell

The smell of mold is unique and almost smells a bit earthy, what many refer to as musty. If you smell mold or mildew, that’s a good sign to be on the lookout for mold. When areas of a home that appear dry have a moldy smell, chances are there is a water leak somewhere.

The mold smell is coming from the mold’s breeding ground, and it’s paramount that you find it.

Is Black Mold Bad?

According to Medical News Today and based on current research, black mold exposure is no more dangerous to human health than other types of mold exposure.

Those suffering from allergies may notice allergy-like symptoms when coming into contact with mold. However, asthma sufferers or those with other health problems such as respiratory issues may notice more severe complications to mold. 

More severe symptoms may include but are not limited to:

  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Extreme fatigue
  • Muscle aches

Exposure to mold is not something we can run from, as microscopic mold spores move through the air and land where they land. No one is immune to mold exposure, so efforts must be made to keep a home’s humidity levels at no more than 50%.

If you are uncertain what your indoor humidity levels are, humidity meters are available at home improvement stores.

In keeping with good hygienic practices, it’s important to eliminate all molds from the home, regardless of what strain of mold it is. A clean home promotes good health.

Consulting a physician is always recommended when there is a concern about how mold may affect one’s health.

What Are the Symptoms of Being Exposed to Black Mold?

People who suffer from allergies may be the first to notice uncomfortable yet non-life-threatening symptoms of exposure to black mold or any mold for that matter. Those symptoms may include:

  • Runny nose
  • Itchy eyes
  • Itchy skin
  • Sore throat
  • Coughing
  • Sneezing
  • Dry skin

If you have asthma or other related health issues, use caution since exposure to mold might result in an asthma attack. Any of the following are signs of an asthma attack brought on by mold:

  • Coughing
  • Chest constriction
  • Breathing issues
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing

Long-term exposure to black mold or any type of mold should be avoided.

What Happens If You Breathe in Black Mold?

According to the CDC, a person can develop a mold allergy through inhaling, touching, or coming into contact with mold or mold spores. Molds can make persons with established allergies experience asthma symptoms such as coughing, wheezing, or shortness of breath.

Even those without allergies may get inflamed.

A kind of lung inflammation known as hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP) develops when a person’s immune system becomes hypersensitive to inhaled organic particles.

Sensitization of the immune system resembles an allergy. Even though it may seem like pneumonia, medications for infection cannot cure it. HP symptoms might vary. Some of those symptoms include:

  • Night sweats
  • Muscle aches
  • Fever
  • Cough
  • Chills
  • Shortness of breath
  • Extreme fatigue

The typical onset of these symptoms is 2 to 9 hours after exposure, and they typically continue for 1 to 3 days.

Other afflicted individuals also experience weight loss, a cough that becomes worse with time, and shortness of breath.

How to Prevent Black Mold?

Preventing black mold from growing in a home requires a controlled environment with humidity levels below 50%. Mold thrives in dark, warm, humid homes and is more often found in bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and crawl spaces.

The use of exhaust fans when taking hot showers and baths and while cooking can contribute to lower moisture levels within the home.

The CDC recommends the following as ways to prevent black mold in our homes:

  • Use your exhaust fans while cooking, taking showers, and bathing.
  • Open a window after a hot shower to help eliminate the condensation.
  • Use a humidity meter to measure the humidity levels in your home.
  • Use a dehumidifier or an air conditioner to help control the moisture levels in your home.
  • Ensure that your clothes dryer fan is connected to the outside and not coming into your home.
  • Be mindful of any leaks on the roof, walls, ceiling, and underneath sinks.
  • Dry out your home immediately after coming into contact with water after a flood.
  • Replace carpets that may have been affected by mold or a heavy excess of water.
  • Use mold-killing cleaning products in the bathrooms.
  • Consider adding mold inhibitors to paints before painting.
  • Conduct periodic mold inspections to ensure you are keeping mold at bay.

Where Does Black Mold Grow?

Black mold loves moist environments with lots of cellulose, like cardboard or paper products. Some foods that are low in acidity and heavy in cellulose attract black mold as well. However, mold is likely to thrive in any warm, moist area of the home, particularly near windows, basements, showers, and crawlspaces.

Can I Remove Black Mold Myself?

According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), a homeowner may tackle the mold-removal process alone if the moldy area is smaller than around 10 square feet (less than a patch that is about 3 feet by 3 feet).

You may wish to consider having a professional come out to your home to inspect your mold or water damage. Many remediation companies offer free mold inspections. Just remember that we get what we pay for.

What Kills Mold Permanently?

Bleach kills every species of mold, including mold spores, leaving a surface that is sterilized and resistant to further mold development. Bleach, however, is only effective if the mold is developing on non-porous surfaces like tiles, bathroom fixtures, glass, and counters.

How to Remove Black Mold from Wood

Wood’s porous surface commonly attracts mold growth. When mold spores land on wood, they find little nooks and crannies to nestle into, making it a prime breeding ground for mold.

Steps to remove black mold from wood:

  • Wear protective gear such as gloves and a face mask.
  • Vacuum the surrounding area to collect any loose mold spores, making sure to dispose of the vacuum contents outside in the trash when done.
  • Add equal parts vinegar and warm water in a spray bottle.
  • Saturate the affected area and let sit for an hour.
  • Gently scrub the moldy areas clean.
  • Rinse the area and dry it with a clean cloth.

If you just cannot get that moldy color out of the wood, you may decide that sanding the wood is the next best option.

How to Remove Black Mold from Walls

The technique for removing mold from walls requires a mold-killing solution, gloves, and some elbow grease.

Follow these steps to remove mold from walls:

  • Wear gloves to avoid skin contact with the mold.
  • Fill a spray bottle with 3% hydrogen peroxide that can be purchased at your local store.
  • Saturate the moldy patch with hydrogen peroxide and allow it to sit for 10 minutes.
  • Using a scrub brush, gently but firmly scrub the moldy area to remove the mold.
  • Wipe the wall dry with a clean towel and repeat if you think it’s necessary.

How to Remove Black Mold From Ceiling

Moldy ceilings are not only unhygienic, but they are also an eye sore to look at. Here we will show you how to get rid of that mold on your ceiling.

Keep a pail of fresh water nearby when cleaning ceilings to ensure that you can frequently rinse your cleaning brush. If not, all you’ll do is spread the mold.

Steps to removing black mold from a ceiling:

  • Wear gloves and preferably a face mask.
  • Prepare a stepladder firmly and securely so it will not tumble while you are busy scrubbing your ceiling.
  • Pour 3% hydrogen peroxide into a spray bottle. This solution may be purchased at your local grocery store or pharmacy.
  • Spray the hydrogen peroxide onto the ceiling’s affected areas until completely saturated.
  • After about 10 minutes, begin using a scrub brush to completely scrub the moldy area, making sure not to damage the ceiling’s surface.
  • Wipe the ceiling dry with a clean towel when finished.

Mold (fungi), viruses, bacteria, and mold spores may all be eliminated by applying hydrogen peroxide to porous and non-porous surfaces, which is known to be quite effective.

How to Remove Black Mold from Concrete

Almost every surface can develop mold and mildew in wet, shaded environments. Patios and other dirty concrete surfaces that take a while to dry up can become a haven for mold spores.

Steps to remove black mold from concrete:

  • Mix together 1/4 cup liquid laundry soap with 1 gallon of warm water in a bucket.
  • Wearing gloves and holding a scrub brush, scrub the concrete surface to completely clean to remove all dirt and mold.
  • Using a hose, rinse the concrete and allow it to dry thoroughly.
  • Once dry, fill a bucket with 1/4 cup of bleach and 1 gallon of warm water.
  • Gently pour this bleach mixture over the concrete to cover it evenly and completely.
  • After 30 minutes and up to 1 hour, repeat with the same bleach mixture.

What Is Mold Remediation?

Mold remediation is the procedure utilized to get rid of dangerous mold growth in areas larger than what a homeowner should be tackling themselves. Depending on the kind and location, it may also involve mold testing and cleaning, removal, sanitizing, and, if needed, complete destruction of parts of the home structure to get back its structural integrity.

Instead of making the misleading claim that all mold has been removed from your house, a reputable restoration firm would offer treatment to lower the level of mold to safer levels.

If you’re considering hiring for mold remediation, you are encouraged to avoid hiring a general contractor and invest in a mold remediation specialist.

When Is Mold Remediation Required?

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) suggests that if the moldy area is less than approximately 10 square feet (less than a patch that is around 3 feet by 3 feet), then a homeowner can likely handle the mold cleanup task themselves.

Should you decide that the mold issue is larger than what you should be tackling yourself, it’s best to contact a mold removal company that specializes in mold removal.


Trina Greenfield, Author
SmackDown Media LLC

About the Author:
Trina Greenfield, the owner of SmackDown Media LLC, is passionate about providing information to those interested in the air quality in and around their homes. Trina writes content about things she’s passionate about, such as safe, in-home air, educational platforms for children and adults, as well as all things family-related.