Mold problem


Right, I live in North Texas (DFW area) in a house that was built in 1983.
Today my wife noticed some black spots on a kitchen cabinet shelf. Upon further investigation, the deepest, most unreachable part of those shelves were black with mold. Since these shelves are right next to the dishwasher, I next looked under the dishwasher and my worst fears were true. There must be a slow or small leak somewhere in the dishwasher plumbing, since there was a lake of water under there. This water never seeped onto the floor, since the tiles on the floor seem to form a small barrier that allows the water to spread under the cupboards, but there never was enough water to complete fill that hollow and spread over onto the floor.
So now I have several questions.
Can spraying bleach cure this or am I looking at replacing (at best) the shelves that seem to be some form of particle board or 9at worst) the entire set of kitchen cabinets?
How the heck do I get the dishwasher out of there and how do I look under the dishwasher to find the leaking plumbing? All my tugging on the dishwasher doesn't seem to move it and I'm afraid I might twist or break something (nothing feels very strong) if I pull too hard.
For those familiar with the mold issues a few years back here in North Texas, I guess I'm SOL as far as my insurance picking up a part of the tab? I'll call my agent tomorrow, but I thought I'd ask here in case someone has some experience.
Thanks
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There should be a metal kickplate at the very bottom of the DW held by screws. Remove the screws and the kickplate will come off. You can view many things from there. Maybe enough not to have to remove the DW.
Removal. Open the door to the dishwasher. Look on the underside of the countertop. There may be two metal tabs that are screwed into the underside of the countertop. This MAY be all that is holding it.
Some DWs are also screwed into the sides of the cabinet rails. Open the DW door and look for screws at the very front that point towards the front edge of the cabinets next to the DW.
You may have to lower the leveling legs of the DW to slide it out. Remove the kickplate. The base of the adjustable legs (two or four of them) should be hex shaped so you can put a pair of pliers or large wrench on it to turn. Looking DOWN at the floor, you would turn them counterclockwise to lower the DW.
To slide the DW totally out you have to disconnect the drain hose. You MAY also have to disconnect the water inlet supply and/or electrical line depending on how long each is. Probably count on doing this.

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OK, I got the dishwasher out and it's not a pretty sight, not as bad as it might have been, but not pretty. I took some pictures and posted them here: http://mpbrede.googlepages.com/moldpictures
Hopefully this will give you guys a chance to form a better opinion of what I should be doing.
I had a repairman come out for the dishwasher and he says it is the motor/pump assembly ($250 on the Kitchenaid. Add in labor and tax and he's quoting $362).
From what I read, the mold is essentially there and will yield spores ad infinitum. Since it is wood, it is not easy (possible?) to seal the surfaces adequately, if my understanding is correct. I will look into the biocides, but my wife is very concerned that she will have polluted cabinets afterwards and she doesn't want to store cookware and other kitchen utensils there if there is a chance of contamination.
SteveBell, can you please contact me with the referral you offered? My email address on this post is good.
Thanks for the advice, please keep it coming.
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MikeB,
I'm dealing with the exact same issue this morning. I've got blowers rented from Sunbelt drying things out now. So, I have a vested interest. If you come to a solution via means other than this forum, I would be very grateful if you would share it with me. I'd tell my story, but it seems more in the same (your pictures sum up my cabinets too.). Thanks everyone!
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Check you home owner's insurance policy. You may be covered for the problem. Letting the pro's come in and do the job will be cheaper and easier than DIY if it is covered.
I had a friend who bought a house that had a pipe bust in the cold. There was mold in places you would never think of and not near the leak. It was a big job but the insurance paid for it all.
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MikeB wrote:

For that kind of price, get a new dishwasher. My rule is: If the repair price (of any broken thing) is half the price of replacement, get a new thing. For computer equipment, the break point is one third.

I sent you the contact information by e-mail.
--
Steve Bell
New Life Home Improvement
  Click to see the full signature.
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MikeB wrote:

Relax! Mold/mildew isn't a new animal about to take over the world. Your shelves will probably be fine if cleaned with household detergent with a little bleach - let them air out and dry before putting stuff back. I assume they have some sort of finish on them.
I have had puddles under my dishwasher three times, none of them related directly to the dw plumbing. First time, the repair guy said there was buildup of dw detergent that caused suds that kept the dw from draining properly , so it ran over. Cure: dump in a quart of white vinegar and run through a full cycle. I was skeptical but it worked.
Second time, I had forgotten all about the first problem, but it turned out to be different - the dw had moved slightly so that the door hit the edge of the cabinet ever so slightly and didn't shut entirely.
Third time, water heater in corner of kitchen (on slab, inside corner cabinet) was leaking slowly, water ran over and puddled under the dw.
I may write a book about "plumbing events" in my condo - certainly gets interesting sometimes.
As for mildew, any home in Florida without sufficient AC will grow mildew somewhere. Spores are everywhere, and they are supposed to be everywhere, so don't think you can wipe them out. Clean, dry and well ventillated are key. My hubby and I nudge the thermostat back and forth constantly, he to 80, me to 78. Not much diff, but at 80 the salt hardens and the saltshakers rust, leather grows grey fuzz and elastic rots.
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Next chapter in my saga of mold in the kitchen.
Spoke to a few people regarding this. One company (forgot the name of which, but very professional) told me they could not come out until a licensed consultant had reviewed the mold. They then gave me a name and number to call. There I spoke to a very friendly and helpful guy who told me that I had the grand old state of Texas to thank for this.
Apparently back in 2001, a rash of mold-related problems caused massive issues with the insurance companies, since people would rip out huge parts of their houses (or condemn entire houses) based on the presence of black mold. So in 2005 the great state of Texas passed a law that says that only "licensed contractors" could work of mold infestations greater than 25 sq ft. Unlicensed contractors could work on smaller infestations. However, a licensed contractor cannot work on a mold infestation until such a time as it has been assessed by a licensed consultant to correctly asses the damage and repair required.
To get the consultant to come out is in excess of $570. For them to write the 8-page assessment is extra.
So I've had an unlicensed contractor come out. This guy had lots of proposals, and the one that I finally got a quote for was to put some fan in the kitchen, cover if with a plastic tent and drill small holes and pipe air under the cabinets to ventilate that area for 3-4 days. Then he would replace the wood that was easily reachable (but not the wood that was hard (impossible?) to reach, for the princely sum of $735.
Right now I have some cleaning equipment (smae make as recommended earlier in this thread), some surface primer and a mask from Lowes for $20.
I guess we'll ask the dishwasher man to come back the day after tomorrow, not tomorrow, to give my treatment a chance to dry.
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