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Mold In A Pipe Or Hot Water Heater?

We live in an apartment and all of a sudden, we smell mold when we turn on the hot water in the bathroom. The hot water from the sink and shower both smell moldy. The bathroom is kept clean and free of mold and mildew. We have tried bleaching the tub, sink, and drains, but the mold seems to be in the hot water coming out of the pipes.
This is a new one for me. Can mold live in a pipe or hot water heater. If so, how do we combat it?
Thanks for your help!

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  1. Comment by Just Somebody
    December 22, 2009 @ 10:42 pm

    Are your neighbors having the same problem? Your best bet is to talk to your manager, but I would check with the neighbors first to see if you are the only one.

  2. Comment by Butch UK
    December 23, 2009 @ 2:18 am

    from what you are saying , no mould can not live in a pipe it need Oxygen to live, but its possible that the tank that holds the cold water in the loft can and will grow mould , again this mould will contaminate the water and possibly make it smell,, but you would see debris in the water, but my guess is that you should check the tank in the loft, be care full you may not like what you see(something dead) if this is the case,, turn of cold water inlet drain tank , remove debris, scrub with weak bleach solution , fill tank, drain again to flush bleach , the fill again and use,

  3. Comment by Max J
    December 23, 2009 @ 3:59 am

    If your water heater isn’t turned up high enough it can be a problem with a slightly contaminated water source, or water heater. Contact management, and request that they turn your water heater to be set at 180F (160F if you have children). The higher temperature will kill the mold, mildew, bacteria, or other fungus in the water heater. It may take a few days to flush a sufficient volume of water through the unit/pipes to solve the problem.

  4. Comment by gotech
    December 23, 2009 @ 8:09 am

    There are certain types of mold that can live without air. But there are none that can live without food. That is, organic matter. So the mold is not in your fresh water pipes. It is in the drains. When you turn on the water, the odor is pushed up out of the drain. Bleach and water do not kill mold. Bleach is a bactericide. Bleach bleaches mold, making it hard to see, but does not kill it. Only a fungicide will kill mold. Make sure that you get a fungicide for indoor use. I can recommend EcoH from Ecoquest. Pour it down the drain full strength and let it sit. There are others that work just as well.

  5. Comment by adam/pen
    December 23, 2009 @ 10:58 am

    maybe chemicals in the water (from the water supplier).
    get your landlord to check it out.
    i would agree that mold can’t grow in the pipes.
    water should NOT BE SET OVER 120 degrees. not 160 or 180. boiling is 212 how hot do you really need it?
    tell the landlord that you think it may be making you sick and you want it checked out as soon as possible.
    no where in your message do i see reference to a tank, or tub in the attic. water is never stored in a tank before it comes out of your faucet,
    the only tank that maybe involved would be the large tanks you see out on the roadway that hold hundreds of thousands of gallons, and that’s controlled by the water works people.
    good luck to ya.

  6. Comment by kingsley
    December 23, 2009 @ 2:26 pm

    Gosh thats a hard question to figure out. Maybe (with the mgr permission) you can drain the hot water tank and fill it with new clean water. Or perhaps if the tank is very old replace it. It is very hard to get a smell out the a tank like that.

  7. Comment by mountain
    December 23, 2009 @ 2:44 pm

    are you on well water or city water

  8. Comment by Rodger Munday
    January 31, 2012 @ 11:24 am

    I just moved into an old apartment. The water smells like mold; especially the hot water when I turn it on at the kitchen sink. What’s up with this?

  9. Comment by K.G.
    May 9, 2016 @ 9:12 am

    Mold can and does live in water pipes and water heaters. Just look up the hundreds of research papers on biofilms, mold and bacteria in water supplies and piping. All sorts of common molds are included. So, yes, it could be growing in your pipes. They are resistant to chlorine, too.

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