This is Part-2 Of Our 2-Part Article.

Describes WHEN & WHY You May Need To Shut Your Home’s Water Off

To Prevent Damage To The Home.

Part-1 Of Our 2-Part Article — Describes WHERE The Main Water Shutoff IS LOCATED For DFW Homes.

Click Here For Part-1: WHERE Is Your DFW Home’s Main Water Shut off

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides full-service plumbing; maintenance, repairs, & replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs gas & electric water heaters.

Al’s also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of; Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar, and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s is near your home in Plano, TX; Allen, TX; and Frisco, Texas.  We service homes in southern Colling County and northeastern Dallas County with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.

Top Reasons You May Need To Turn Your DFW Home’s Water Off

burst and leaking water pipe

Image Source: Shutterstock

SHOWN: A Frozen & Burst Water Pipe — Once It Thaws Out.

If Outdoor Temp Is Under 30 Degrees And Your DFW Home Has No Heat For An Undertimed Time

gas water heater and high efficiency gas furnace

Image Source: Shutterstock

Do These Steps:

  • Shut Off The Gas or Electricity To The Water Heater.
  • Turn The Water OFF — At The Home’s Main Shut Off Valve.
  • Turn Every Faucet ON (leave them on).


  • Water expands as it freezes.
  • When the water main shut off valve is turned off — freezing water can’t expand in its direction.
  • With all faucets open — freezing water can expand in their direction(s).
  • This reduces the risk of burst water pipes.

You’re Leaving The Home Unoccupied For More Than 24 Hours (like while on vacation).

  • Furnaces often break down with no indication they’re about to.   
  • Plan ahead for this.  Turn the house’s water off, the water heater off, and open all the faucets.

If The Home Isn’t Occupied Year-Round

TIP: Don’t Count On Your Furnace To Protect The Home From Freezing — It Could Stop Working.

  • NOTE: In the Central & Northern U.S. — unoccupied homes must be WINTERIZED to prevent frozen pipes & plumbing fixtures.
  • We don’t discuss winterizing in this article.

Image Source: Shutterstock

In The Southern 1/3 Of The U.S.:

  • A water pipe could start leaking. 
  • As proven in Texas in 2021 — record-setting cold can freeze pipes in areas where a hard-freeze is rare.

A Side Note: An Irrigation / Sprinkler System Typically Has A Separate Shut-Off & Water Meter.

If present — the shut off turns water off yo Only the Irrigation System.

Click Here To See The City’s Box For A Home With A Lawn Sprinkler System:

Home With Lawn Sprinkler System Showing 2 Meters

With A Sprinkler System, There Are Typically 2 Water Meters Inside the City’s Box.  This is so, the homeowner isn’t billed for sewer charges for the water that went to the lawn.

Note: The Photo Shows The Sprinkler System Turned Off (on the left, with valve set perpendicular to the water pipe).

Note: This photo was taken during the installation of a lawn sprinkler.  The left pipe’s blue cap is where the sprinkler system will connect.

Irrigation Systems Can Typically Be Turned Off At 2 Locations:

  • Primary Way — Inside your home’s private water shut-off box.  Note: This box may be covered with landscaping mulch or rock.
  • Inside the City’s water meter box (only if 2 meters are present).

Sometimes a single fixture (like to a toilet)

 Shut-Off Valve may become stuck open, and can’t be shut off.

photo of toilet with shut off valve showing

Image Source: Flicker

SHOWN: This Toilet’ Shut Off Valve Can Be Seen Near The Floor — Left Of The Toilet Bowl.


When Water Heaters Fail — They Start Leaking. 

Often, large amounts of water floods from them.

water heater closet

Image Source: Shutterstock

SHOWN: Water Heater located inside a “water heater closet” — located inside the ome.

NOTE: There’s typically a shut-off valve for only the water heater (near the water heater).  Turning that valve off allows the home to continue to have cold water.

Why Water Heater Tanks Crack:

  • Each time the water heater goes through a heating cycle — the water tank expands a little.
  • When the heater stops heating — the water tank contracts a little.
  • Expansion & contraction eventually cause a metal stress-crack.  It’s like bending a paper clip back & forth until it breaks.
  • When water heaters fail, their water tank cracks, and water flows through the crack.
  • The crack’s size affects how much water flows through it.

NOTE: More expansion & contraction occur with gas water heaters than electric ones.


  • The gas burner is below the tank and heats the bottom more.
  • Electric heating coils are inside the tank– and don’t have nearly as much effect on the tank’s bottom.

Image Source: Youtube Embedded Video

SHOWN: Gas Water Heater Diagram

Why Water (to the entire house) Must Immediately Be Shut Off

If Any Water Pipe Has Frozen Or Broken (or may).

– A Wet Home Begins To Mold Within Hours – 

molded drywall

Image Source: Shutterstock

SHOWN: Molded drywall and wood studs inside a wet wall.

All mold needs are water and “food” to flourish (we discuss mold “food” just below).  Mold Begins To Grow Within 48 Hours. 

In 3 to 12 days — Mold Spores will colonize & flourish.

If you have a broken water pipe — turn the water off to the entire home until the pipe(s) has been repaired.

Mold’s “food” are materials with a high cellulose content (cellulose comes from plants).  Mold can flourish inside a home’s wet walls — because the wood studs, and the drwall’s paper surfaces (on both sides) have high cellulose content.

Cellulose Content:

  • Paper = 90–99%
  • Wood = 45%
  • Gypsum  = up to 10%
  • Drywall (what homes’ walls are covered with) has a center of Gypsum — with a paper surface on each side.


  • Drywall is nearly all gypsum (plaster) — Gypsum holds water very well.


Ideal Conditions For Mold Growth:

  • Moisture Level At 70% or higher.
  • Tempearature between 40–100F degrees.
  • When walls get wet inside — the only way the moisture can escape is by migrating through the drywall.  That won’t happpen fast enough to prevent mold growth.

NOTE: Various TESTS Can Be Purchased To Check For The Presence Of Airborne Mold OR Mold Growing On Surfaces.

Two Likely Causes For Mold Growth:

  • Anywhere a water leak has occurred.  This can be from water pipes or from rain entering the house (like through a leaking roof).
  • Anywhere weather-event flooding occurred.


The 5 Types Of Mold Grow Inside Buildings 

  • Mold has a musty odor — similar to the smell of a damp forest.
  • All molds produce mycotoxins (mold spores).  These spore become airborne.
  • Not all mold mycotoxins are toxic (details below).
  • Toxic molds produce of toxic mycotoxins.

1. Alternia

Click Here To See A Photo Of Alternia Mold: Alternia Mold

  • Dark gray-green color.
  • Aspergillus is a toxic mold.
  • Aspergillosis has a tremendous effect on people with compromised immune systems and/or underlying lung disease.

Note: Alternia mold problems are highest during summer — because wind carries mold spores indoors through open windows.

2. Aspergillus

Click Here To See A Photo Of Aspergillus Mold: Aspergillus Mold

  • Black on the surface.  Under the surface, it’s white or yellow.
  • Aspergillus is a Non-Toxic mold.
  • While Aspergillus has fewer health effects — it can trigger an asthma attack.

3. Cladosporium

Click Here To See A Photo Of Cladosporium Mold: Cladosporium Mold

  • Brown, blackish-brown, or gray-green.
  • Cladosporium is a non-toxic mold.
  • While generally not a problem for people — it may trigger allergies or asthma reactions.

4. Penicillium

Click Here To See A Photo Of Penicillium Mold: Penicilium Mold

  • It has; blue, green, & yellow hues.
  • Penicillium is a toxic mold.
  • Penicillium can cause allergy symptoms like a runny nose, itchy eyes, and coughing.

5. Stachybotrys

Click Here To See A Photo Of Stachybotrys Mold: Stachybotrys Mold

  • Greenish-black.
  • Stachybotrys is one of the most toxic & dangerous molds.

Stachybotrys can cause;

  • flu-like symptoms
  • headaches
  • muscle aches
  • diarrhea
  • memory loss
  • severe respiratory damage
  • pulmonary hemorrhage –– blood leaks from the windpipe or airways and migrates into the lung(s).
  • interstitial lung disease — causes progressive scarring of lungs.

Source; National Institute Of Health

Proper Mold Remediation/Removal Include:

  • demolition & removal of molded materials
  • cleaning
  • sanitizing
  • other treatments


After Remediation Is Completed:

  • Leave walls open for an extended period of time (wait to install new drywall).  This ensures sufficient drying.
  • Before installing drywall, the wood (inside walls) must have a moisture content of less than 15%. 
  • Use a moisture-meter — to confirm all wood and (nearby existing) drywall is sufficiently dried.

TIP: Less than 13% allows for a margin of error when testing moisture content.

In Most States, You Must Disclose Water Damage To A Home.

  • Often The Seller’s Disclosure Asks If The Water Damage Was Due To (weather-event) flooding.
  • This is because flood damage water is “dirty” water that’s highly toxic.
  • Water pipe leaks are considered “clean” water damage.

Some Potential Buyers Feel That A Water Damaged Home Is “Stigmatized”.

Stigmatized Home Definition:  The National Association Of Realtors defines a stigmatized property as: “A property that has been psychologically impacted by an event which occurred, or is suspected to have occurred.”  Usually, events attached to stigmatized property have no physical impact on the home.

A home with a water damage history — may create a psychological impact for potential buyers.


WHY? Because Of Possible Mold Inside Walls

Because a prospective buyer and/or home inspector can’t see inside the walls to confirm they are mold-free.

TIP:  Electrical outlets are inside the walls.  It’s easier to smell mold odor at outlets


  • If your home has water damage or mold repairs — take lots of photos during mold remediation and home restoration — before new drywall is installed.
  • Take photos of moisture-meter readings — to demonstrate the home was sufficiently dried.
  • Have the camera “date stamp” the photos OR Include the front page of a newspaper in the photos (keep that front page).

Section 4 Of The Texas Home Seller’s Disclosure Form Asks:

NOTE: Copy This Link Below Into Your Browser For A Copy Of: Texas’ Seller’s Disclosure Notice

(NOTE: Sept. 1, 2019 Edition Shown. The Form May Have Had Updates Since.)

“Are You (Seller) Aware Of Any Of The Following Conditions? 

“Water Damage Not Due to a (weather-related) Flood Event”.

TIP: For Natural/Weather-Event Damage Clean Up Directions — Copy The Link Below Into Your Browser

TODAY HO Insurance Policies Cover Water Damage Only If:

Coverage Depends On:

  • What Caused The Water Damage — AND If That Cause Is Covered. 
  • If the water damage was Sudden & Accidental.
  • Few (if any) HO Policies Cover water damage caused by Gradual Leaks.

Source: (The Motley Fool)


NOTE: H.O. Insurance Doesn’t Cover A Weather-Event Flood.  

That requires separate flood insurance.

The Federal Emergency Management Act (FEMA) — Issues Weather-Event Flood Insurance.


Water Damage Claims Are Typically Covered If Caused By:

  • Lightning
  • Fire
  • Weather damage to roof (including wind & hail)
  • Falling objects damaging roof
  • Weight of snow or ice on the roof
  • Frozen or burst pipes
  • Overflow from; plumbing system, HVAC System, or a household appliance.
  • Appliance malfunction


With Standard HomeOwners Insurance 

Is Mold Defined As: “Water Damage”?  Only In Limited Situations (see below).


Standard HomeOwners Insurance Seldom Covers Mold Remediation Costs — Except IF:

IF the water damage was: “sudden & accidental—  (like damage from a severe storm).


IF if the mold resulted from a covered peril (like storm damage to a roof).


Standard HomeOwners Insurance Does NOT Cover Mold If It Was Caused By:

  • Long-term unrepaired leaks.
  • Construction errors
  • Poorly performed repairs.

How To Insure For Mold-Remediation Costs (If Coverage Is Available)

  • Mold Insurance (as available)for “non-covered perils” must be purchased in addition to Standard HomeOwners Insurance.

At the time this was written — Chubb Insurance offers Mold Insurance for Non-Covered Perils

Chubb Coverage (as available) Includes:

  • Testing indoor air-quality & mold on surfaces.
  • Developing a mold remediation plan.
  • Implementing the plan — such as removing, containing and disposing of the mold.

Note: This may not be available in every State.

Some HomeOwners Policies Offer An Optional  “Mold rider” (as available) — for an additional charge. 

This Ridger must be purchased in addition to Standard HomeOwners Insurance.

A Mold Rider:

  • Removes a HomeOwner’s policy’s exclusion for mold.
  • Isn’t available with every H.O. Insurance Company.
  • Isn’t available in every state.


This Story Details One Of The Most Well Known

Mold-Stigmatized Homes In U.S. History

(it’s been demolished)

A 12,000 square feet, 22-room home (once located) at 1800 Deerfield Road in Dripping Springs, Texas (near Austin) — became the hallmark of what Stachybotrys Mold can do to a home and its occupants.

  • The home had leaks from water pipe(s).
  • Because repairs were delayed due to the HomeOnwer’s Insurance — the home ended up with unrepairable damage from Stachybotrys (pronounced Stack-ee-bot-ris) mold infestation.
  • The home was eventually demolished.



  • In 1990 the home was purchased (as as foreclosure) — by Melinda Ballard for $275,000.

NOTE: Foreclosed homes don’t have a Home Seller’s Disclosure Form — because the Lender-owners don’t know anything about the home’s condition.

  • In early 1999 Linda, Ron Allison (husband), and Reese Colton Allison (son) began having health problems.
  • In 1999, the family abandoned the home.  It was never lived in again.


  • In 2000, Ron Allison was diagnosed with toxic encephalopathy (a form of brain damage) — likely due mold mycotoxin-poisoning.
  • It was assumed the Stachybotrys mold in the home was the source of the mycotoxin.

The Lawsuit — Travis County Texas Cause No. 99-05252:

Melinda & Ron Claimed That FIE (Fire Insurance Exchange Insurance Company):

  • Failed to properly handle the claim promptly.
  • Delayed paying the claim for removing & installing new wood flooring — that became damaged by a water leak.
  • Ignored contractors’ warnings that dangerous molds could grow under the wood flooring.
  • This allowed toxic Stachybotrys mold to take over their house
  • The Stachybotrys mold damaged the family’s health.

The Trial’s Jury Determined:

  • Ballard’s homeowner’s insurance mishandled the (water leaks) claims.
  • The home had to be demolished and a new home built.
  • In 2001, Melinda & husband Ronal won a $32 million judgment against FIE.
  • Fire Insurance Exchange (FIE) — is a subsidiary of Farmers Group Insurance.

The Jury Awarded The Family:

  • $  6.2 million in actual damages.
  • $12 million in punitive damages.
  • $ 5 million for mental anguish.
  • $8.9 million for lawyer’s fees.
  • The HomeOwner’s insurance company FIE — appealed the verdict to the Texas Supreme Court.

In December 2002:

  • A Texas Appeals Court reduced the judgment to $4 million.
  • This was to cover only actual damages (cost to demolish & rebuild the home) — plus Interest & Attorney’s Fees.
  • The Appeals court eliminated the Jury’s awards for mental anguish and punitive damages
  • The Texas Supreme Court sided with the Appeals Court ruling — and declined to hear the case.
  • Ballard decided to settle the suit.
  • She stated her reason was her case would be remanded for a new trial.
  • A new trial meant she couldn’t demolish the house — because had to be preserved as evidence.
  • She feared the home was a tremendous liability.
  • In 2004, Ballard reported $1+ million was spent to have the house chlorinated and demolished.


We Don’t Claim, Nor Speculate, About Stachybotrys Mold’s Ability To Damage Someone’s Health.

 Instead, We Provide The Facts Below.

molded drywall

Image Source: Shutterstock

Shown: Stachybotrys Mold (it’s grayish-green in color)

1. The Dripping Spring, Texas Home’ 3 Residents — All Died At An Early Age.

  • In 2013 Linda died — at the age of 58.


  • In 2020, husband Ron died — at the age of 50.


  • In 2021, son Reese Colton died — at the age of 25.



2. Stachybotrys Mold Was Found To Cause: “Pulmonary Hemorrhage”

(bleeding from the windpipe into the lungs)

In June 1999 — The Centers For Disease Control (CDC) Issued A Report Entitled:

“Working Group Report on the Review of CDC Investigations into Pulmonary Hemorrhage” (bleeding into the lungs)

This (paraphrased) excerpt is from this CDC Report:

  • Acute Pulmonary Hemorrhage was diagnosed in 38 infants in the Cleveland, OH area over a period of  5 years.
  • This serious disorder causes infants to cough up blood.
  • It usually required intensive-care measures to save their life.   
  • 30 of the (38) infants were within a limited geographic area of eastern metropolitan Cleveland — an area of older housing stock.
  • The CDC researchers focused on evidence of a relationship between acute pulmonary hemorrhage in infants.
  • The infants lived in water-damaged homes — where Stachybotrys mold was present.
  • 14 of the 38 infants died.
  • 9 were originally thought to have died from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS).

The CDC’s Investigation Linked Acute Pulmonary Hemorrhage disease — To Stachybotrys Mold Exposure

CDC Also Stated:

  • Nationwide, there were 122 cases of acute pulmonary hemorrhage in infants over the period of 5 years.
  • The rapidly growing lungs of young infants appear to be especially vulnerable to Stachybotrys mold’s toxins.
  • Tobacco-smoke (inside the home) was also determined to be a trigger.




This Was Part-2 Of Our 2-Part Article.

Describes WHEN & WHY You May Need To Shut Your Home’s Water Off

To Prevent Damage To The Home.

Part-1 Of Our 2-Part Article — Describes WHERE The Main Water Shutoff IS LOCATED For DFW Homes.

To Go To Part-1–Click Here: WHERE Is Your DFW Home’s Main Water Shutff

Al’s Plumbing, Heating & A/C in Plano, Texas provides full-service plumbing; maintenance, repairs, and replacements for every plumbing component in your home.  Al’s sells and installs gas & electric water heaters.

Al’s also provides maintenance & repairs for all brands of Central A/C, Gas & Electric Furnace, and Heat Pumps.  Additionally, we sell and install new HVAC Systems from American Standard (same company as Trane), Ameristar, and Coleman HVAC (same company as York HVAC).

Al’s is near your home in Richardson, TX; Garland, TX; and northeastern Dallas, Texas.

We service homes in southern Collin County, Texas and northeastern Dallas County, Texas with no additional travel charges.

Call Al’s today to discuss any concerns or problems you have with your HVAC System or Plumbing.

We will arrange an appointment at your convenience.