Toxic Mold
What is the danger of fungus or mold in my house?
There are a variety of fungi which can grow in a hot moist environment. Some are more toxic than others. The spores of Stachybotrys contain potent mycotoxins. If allowed to grow, this fungus can spew toxic spores into the air that cause serious illness with flu-like symptoms, shortness of breath, labored breathing, muscle weakness, coughing up blood, and skin rashes. Fungus can thrive in areas where water from flooding or plumbing leaks or where roof leaks come in contact with wood and other building products, such as insulation, unpainted gypsum board and ceiling tile. The fungus also likes stacks of wet newspapers. It’s common to find it on paper covering pipes and carpets with natural fibers and other surfaces. It does NOT grow on plastic, vinyl, concrete products or ceramic tiles. If the wood/paper gets wet and is not cleaned up and dried, the fungus may grow and spread. The fungus is black and slimy. It is not found in the green mold on bread or the black mold on the shower tiles. If you have had plumbing leaks, roof leaks, flooding in the basement or sewer back up in the past year, look for the fungus or a musty odor.

Common Areas for this mold growth:
Water soaked wood, ceiling tiles, wall paneling, unpainted plaster board surfaces, cotton items, cardboard boxes and stacks of newspapers. If these areas have been very wet, usually for more than one week, check for mold. After the area dries, the fungus will not continue to grow, but the black dust caused by the fungus can be sucked up by the furnace blower and spread throughout the house. Note: Not all black mold is stachybotrys, but moldy homes are not healthy homes.

What should I do if I have mold in my home?
Clean up the area quickly and dry it out. You can place a fan close to the affected area and keep the cabinet doors open for several days while the wood and/or carpet dries. Possibly you should consult a restoration specialist for further assistance. Three specialists in our area are: AAA Wesco Carpet Service at 532-9676, Sierra Steamway at 532-1806 and ServiceMaster at 532-1700.

Electrolysis is an electrochemical reaction causing corrosion of copper pipes. Many times the symptom of electrolysis is the occurrence of pinhole leaks in the copper. The corrosion actually is thinning of the walls of the pipe. There are three common causes of electrolysis.

  • The pH of the water is less than 7.0.
  • The grounding of something in the electrical system of the home to the copper pipes (usually done during construction).
  • Two dissimilar metals being plumbed together.

Since it is impossible to see inside the walls of the home, it is very difficult to determine the exact cause of electrolysis. A first step is to have us test the water for acidity level. We can also do a cursory examination of the visible plumbing system to look dissimilar metals being plumbed together. Often, homeowners adding something to the plumbing system during a do-it-yourself project make this plumbing error. An additional step is to have a licensed electrician check thoroughly the entire electrical system of your home.

Many times the only guaranteed solution is to repipe the home using a non-metallic pipe.

Polaris ABS Pipe Information
Between 1984 and 1990 Polaris Pipe Co. manufactured a rigid black plastic pipe (ABS pipe) generally used to drain sinks, tubs, showers, toilets, washing machines and dishwashers. On August 29, 1998, the court approved a class action settlement whereby Polaris agreed to make available approximately $25 million to pay for repairs, as well as damages resulting from such leaks, and to make reimbursements for qualified prior ABS pipe repairs, with proof of such repairs.

The overwhelming majority of the allegedly defective ABS pipe at issue is located in California. The fact that your residence or building has ABS pipe manufactured by Polaris does not mean your residence or building has the allegedly defective ABS pipe at issue.

Waters Plumbing cannot guarantee repairs made to defective Polaris piping. We recommend re-piping any part of the plumbing system which currently has this pipe. We will be happy to give an estimate for the necessary work.

DIP Tube Information
The nation’s major water manufacturers, (A. O. Smith Corporation, American Water Heater Company, Bradford White Corporation, Lochinvar Corporation, Rheem Manufacturing Company, and State Industries, Inc.) have entered into a national class action settlement concerning Perfection Corporation which produced polypropylene dip tubes. A dip tube is a plastic water heater component part that transports cold water from the intake at the top of the water heater down to the bottom of the tank. Dip tubes manufactured by Perfection Corporation and used on water heaters between August 1993 and February 1997 may be subject to possible deterioration.

Symptoms of deteriorating dip tubes may include the appearance of small white particles in your hot water supply and a decrease in the amount of hot water previously enjoyed.

The deadline has passed for submitting claims for this settlement. If you suspect a dip tube problem, please call Waters Plumbing at (209) 533-1010.

Qest Pipe Information
Shell Oil Company manufactured a polybutylene pipe under the brand name of Qest which was very popular in residential and commercial applications. It hit the peak of its popularity in the latter part of the ’70s and ’80s. When used indoors, it is gray colored and flexible. It is blue colored when used outdoors in a yard. It is used for both hot and cold plumbing. Pieces of Qest pipe are joined by using fittings of plastic or copper that are inserted into the pipe and then compressed with a copper band.

The problem with Qest pipe is that probably the chlorine and chemicals in most drinking water cause gradual changes in the fittings and the pipe itself. Even though the plumbing might not be disturbed, the gradual hardening of the fittings or pipe can cause a leak years after it was installed.

Shell Oil and the product liability carrier have made a multi-billion dollar provision to replace the Qest pipe plumbing systems in homes plumbed with Qest, as leaks develop. A Consumer Plumbing Recovery Center has been set up. The toll free number is (800) 876-4698.

Here at Waters Plumbing we cannot guarantee any repairs made to Qest piping. It is impossible to predict whether the pipe will continue to break at the very same spot. We recommend repiping completely any home with Qest pipe and fittings. We will be happy to give you a free estimate for the necessary repiping.