TOXIC BLACK MOLD IN BASEMENT DRAIN
October 15, 2007 TOXIC BLACK MOLD IN BASEMENT DRAIN!!!
My latest encounter with toxic black mold reminded me of the black mold symptoms I had experienced several months prior when I was recovering from the toxic black mold exposure at my workplace. The symptoms of black mold that I had this time started off with severe allergic symptoms like itchy nose and eyes, sore throat, nasal congestion, sneezing and sometimes trouble breathing. I thought that perhaps it was outdoor allergies acting up because this is the time of year for that. But fall outdoor allergies had never bothered me this much before, so that was disturbing to me. I knew there was something really wrong when I started getting the toxic symptoms of black mold which included anxiety, a mild panic attack, insomnia, the chills, dizziness and severe headaches. I just did not feel right. I noticed my 2 1/2 year old was acting kind of irritable and had bad allergy symptoms. And also over the past 2 weeks we have both been constantly getting sick. One cold after another. I thought it was us both picking up whatever was going around the daycare. I am sure that had something to do with it, but I also knew there was something else going on. I prayed to God to help me find the answer.
Well, God answered that prayer and helped me discover the source of my problem.. That "something else going on" that I was feeling, turned out to be toxic black mold..This latest encounter with toxic black mold was due to two things. One was the washer drain overflowing because of a blocked pipe. Our house has old metal pipes which had become corroded and there was a bulidup of deposits so thick that the pipe opening in some places was the size of a carrot. So when the washer went on spin cycle the water would drain into the drain pipe and because the drain was too narrow to take that large influx of water, the water would drain all over the floor behind the washer. And this went on for who knows how long because if you did not look behind the washer and did not happen to be in the basement during the spin cycle, you wouldn't know about the leak. I would see water on the floor i the basement but my husband kept saying it was the release valve on the hot water heater going off.
So now we have water damaged brand new hardwood floors that need to be replaced and the mold in there needs to be cleaned up. I am gong to try to get my homeowners insurance to help with that. I do know that they cover water damage from appliances leaking. I think.
The other source of the toxic black mold spores that I am sure were wafting through my house was something I am sure most people would not suspect. I think it is possible that this was the major source of my latest brush with toxic black mold. I had been noticing a mold smell coming from the basement for about 2 months. I would check the basement for mold growth on walls but there was nothing visible anywhere. At some point during those 2 months, I knew that the washer was leaking water into the basement, so I guess I was just attributing the mold smell to that somehow.
Well, about 2 months ago, after bugging him about it for a while, my husband finally hooked up a hose to the dehumidifier, so we could drain the water into the floor drain in the basement. This was much more convenient for me because then I did not have to keep going down the basement to empty the dehumidifier bucket once or twice a day. BIG MISTAKE! Now, looking back, I realize that this event occurred around the same time the mold smell started.
The floor drain in our basement is basically a hole in the floor with a drain cover and the hole in the floor goes right into a hole in the dirt. I don't think there is a pipe down there, it just looks and smells like dirt. I remembered reading that some molds smells like dirt. Then it dawned on me. Could it be that I was feeding and growing a whole colony of mold down in that drain with my constant watering from the dehumidifier? It was a perfect space for mold to grow..it was warm, dark and wet. Although I was still not sure if the mold smell was coming from the floor drain in the basement, I decided to pour some bleach down that drain. I poured about 1/4 of a gallon of bleach directly into the drain and left it open to continue to drain the dehumidifier. I then noticed that, replacing the mold smell that wafted up the stairs, was a strong bleach smell which made me think that, yes, the mold smell was coming from the drain.
My allergies at this point now were so bad I could not smell anything, so I could not tell if there was a mold smell or not. So I waited a day to see if my symptoms improved. But they did not. In fact, I seemed to be getting worse. So, I decided to take action and stop watering the possible mold in the dirt pit below the drain. I disconnected the hose from the dehumidifier and noticed the clear hose had a large area of black mold growing in the tube. I threw the hose out immediately. Then I put a plunger over the drain as a temporary plug to keep out mold spores. Although it is still hard for me to smell because of my allergies, I think I notice that the mold smell is now gone. I will gladly empty the dehimidifier, by hand, twice a day, rather than suffer the effects of toxic black mold.
I also bought a new HEPA filter for our bedroom upstairs. Our old HEPA filter had broken and we had been needing to buy a new for the past few months. I turned it on to high and kept the bedroom door shut at night to keep the air as clean as possible. Most HEPA filters have a small enough pore size to trap toxic black mold spores. If a HEPA filter says it traps particles as small as .3 microns, you know it will trap any mold spores including toxic black mold spores. So getting 8 hours of clean air with no mold spores is helping me recover from this latest hit with toxic black mold. I notice my toddler, who is also sleeping in the HEPA purified room, is healthier and less irritable now.
I think that perhaps other people might have similar problems with toxic black mold spores coming up from basement drains and not realize it. It is a very easy and inexpensive problem to fix.
In hindsight, I think that also might be why I felt bad on rainy days. On rainy days the soil would get soaked and drain under our house and when the soil under the drain became wet it would feed the mold. And when the mold grew it would release spores into the air.
I feel much better now. I am sleeping better. The anxiety is gone. The headaches, chills and dizzines are gone as well. I feel almost back to normal. My allergies are better but still a little aggravated. I had taken some extra doses of the Limu moui to get the mold toxins out of my system and that seemed to help too. I am so relieved that I figured out a simple and inexpensive solution to my toxic black mold problem. I still have to address the possible mold and water damaged hardwood floors upstairs and that may be a lot more expensive unless I decide to do it myself, which I still might do. Or if my home owners insurance covers this, then I will have someone else do it.