Plumbing in the Home/Black mold


Three weeks ago, my daughter, grandson and I moved into a five year house.  There was a professional inspection which I thought was thorough since several small items noted and repaired.  Right away, we noticed a funny odor in the laundry room but thought it had to do with the house being closed up.  We also noticed a strange odor in the 3 bathrooms.  Yesterday when my daughter was cleaning the bathrooms, trying to find the source of the odor she opened the toilet tanks and found the insides covered with black mold.  Being a nurse with a son with allergies, she panicked as I did.  Now I fear all the plumbing is filled with mold.  Who is responsible?  The inspector, the previous homeowner or the Home Warranty Insurance?
With my grandson's condition, we would have never bought the house.

Mary Ann,
I completely understand your concern as black mold is pretty nasty. I do want to say that if the only place you are finding mold is in the toilet tank then you can rest easy knowing it is easily eradicated. Also, the reason you are seeing it in the tank is the fact that there was standing water. Now, it should be noted that there is a possibility that it could be mildew too. Regardless, add a cup of household bleach to the tank water and let it sit for an hour or so, then flush. I would repeat the bleach treatment once more. That should take care of the toilet. You stated that the house was closed up for a period and you noticed an odor in the laundry room. The washer uses a stand pipe  drain so you can put the drain hose from the machine in it. What may have happens is the trap  in the piping lost it's water seal due to evaporation. The first time you use the washer the smell should go away. I would also pour a cup of bleach down the pipe the hose is into. The traps on all the sinks may have dried up as well, Give them all the bleach treatment. Again, if there is no mold on basement walls or any drywall surface anywhere in the house then you should be OK.
One last thing, is you home on a well system or public water? If it is a well, have the water tested for iron and sulfur, these could also be a source of odors.

Plumbing in the Home

All Answers

Answers by Expert:

Ask Experts


Jay Nicholas


Plumbing & Heating (warm air, hot water & steam heat)


40 years in the business, 35 years as a lic. master plumber in NY State. Retired

Graduated Magna cum laude at the School of Hard Knocks

Past/Present Clients
Commercial, residential and light industrial. You name it ...I have probably worked on it

©2016 All rights reserved.