Mold in the corner of a yellow wall with white rusty heat pipe.

5 Health Problems Caused by Pipe Leaks and Clogs

Pipe leaks and clogs can be a pain for homeowners, but they can also cause a number of health issues. Whether your pipes have sprung a leak or your drains are clogged by debris and grease, you may be putting your health at risk if you don’t tackle right problem right away.

Here are five health problems caused by leaky pipes and clogs.

1. Irritates Asthma and Allergies

Those who are battling asthma, allergies and other respiratory issues will suffer the most when pipes are leaking or clogged.

Whether your pipes are leaking or clogged, there’s stagnant water somewhere. The standing water may be sitting in your drain, or it may be hidden in your home somewhere. In either case, stagnant water or water damage in general can lead to mold growth and bacteria, which exacerbates respiratory issues.

Common symptoms associated with exposure to mold and bacteria include:

  • Eye irritation
  • Nose, throat and skin irritation
  • Fatigue
  • Rashes
  • Sinus congestion
  • Fever
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Respiratory infection
  • Coughing and sneezing

If you come in contact with wastewater near a blocked drain, it can cause skin irritation.

2. Headaches, Anxiety and Stress

Blocked drains can cause bad odors, which may be toxic or irritating. Even if the smell isn’t toxic, it can still stress us out.

Many people report having headaches and feeling anxious and stressed when near a clogged drain. The longer the exposure, the more severe the symptoms.

There’s no reason to wait to fix a leaky or clogged pipe, especially if it’s causing you stress and anxiety. A plumber can perform a leak detection to find the source of the problem and fix it right away.

3. Dirty Water

Most of the water that goes down the drain is already dirty, but when that dirty water sits in a clogged pipe, it gets worse over time.

Clogged toilet drains are the worst offenders. Backed up and stagnant water in toilets can easily turn into a breeding ground for bacteria, says Bobby Blue Plumbing in Rancho Cucamonga

Even with clean water, clogs can encourage the growth of Legionella.

In either case, dirty water is a very real health concern when you have clogged or leaking drains.

4. Mold and Mildew Exposure

Clogged pipes and leaks cause moisture problems in a home, which can quickly turn into a mold and mildew problem.

According to the Mayo Clinic, mold exposure can cause the following symptoms:

  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Sneezing
  • Dry skin
  • Coughing and postnasal drip
  • Watery eyes
  • Itchy nose, eyes and throat

If you have asthma, mold exposure can exacerbate your symptoms. Some people may experience:

  • Coughing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing
  • Chest tightening

5. Disease-Carrying Pests

Stagnant water in clogged pipes or somewhere in the home (from leaky pipes) can attract disease-carrying pests, like mosquitos.

Clogged drains can also attract sewer flies. While these flies aren’t known to carry harmful diseases, they are known to be an opportunistic agent of myiasis. Myiasis is a type of parasitic infection in which fly larvae grow inside the host body (i.e. you). Inhaling fragments of drain flies can also irritate asthma.

Leaky pipes and clogged drains can cause a number of health issues if left unchecked. If you suspect there’s a problem with your pipes, call a plumber ASAP to tackle the problem before it gets worse.