Swab Or Surface Tests
The second way to test mold is by using a swab test which is only performed for visible mold. There are basically two options, you can have a home inspector swab it and send it to a lab or you can use a home test.
If it is just a small area of mold, or if it isnt too concerning yet, you may just want to try an at home test. The DIY Mold Test provides three surface tests, an inspection booklet, and includes the lab and report . You can view the latest price of the DIY Mold Test right here.
When I take a swab test, I basically take a cotton swab or clear tape and take a physical sample of the suspected mold. This sample is also sent to a certified laboratory which will tell my client if it is mold, and what species. It will not tell you the amount of spores in the air however.
Your Air Conditioning System Is A Breeding Ground For Black Mold
Unfortunately, your air conditioning system and your air ducts are a common place for black mold to reside. Moisture plays a significant role in the growth of mold. Your air conditioning system can act as an incubator for black mold because of its constant change in humidity levels throughout the summer season. If your air conditioner works as a dual heater as well, then it increases the likelihood of having a mold infestation at some point in time due to constant usage.
If you do have mold in your home and you use your air conditioning system, the effect can be the air conditioner moving the mold spores into your ductwork through the air, with those mold spores getting lodged into your air ducts. Once they make their way to your air ducts they will have a non-visible environment to grow.
How To Remove Mold From Your Hvac System
Its important to use the right cleaner for mold removal. Some cleaners dont actually kill mold cells, and the moisture from these cleaners can even allow the mold to secretly grow. For the best results, we recommend using a mix of one tablespoon of household detergent, a half tablespoon of baking soda, and one cup of water. You can also use one part bleach mixed with 16 parts water on non-porous surfaces.
Before you start cleaning, be sure to protect yourself with a mask, thick gloves, safety goggles, and some form of protective clothing.
Start by turning off the heating and cooling vents. Next, remove the vent and scrub it with a rag and your cleaning solution. Do the same inside the vent and repeat the process in any vents you suspect might have mold. For heavy mold growth, we recommend cleaning the same area at least twice.
Dispose of the rags, your gloves, and anything else that comes into direct contact with the mold. Be sure to use a trash bag thats at least six mil thick, and remove the trash bag from your house right away.
If you cant reach all the mold on your own, call an HVAC professional. All mold should be removed to prevent future growth.
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Signs Of Mold In Your Air Ducts
The first sign of mold in your HVAC system is often a moldy or musty smell when your system is being used. HVAC mold is usually able to be smelled before its seen, so turn your system off and inspect it right away if you notice the smell of must, mold, or mildew coming from your vents.
If you notice visible mold on your air vents, in the ducts, or in drip pans, call a professional as soon as possible. Visible mold might mean the problem has become too severe to be taken care of on your own.
If your family starts showing symptoms like nausea, fatigue, headaches, sneezing, coughing, or dizziness only in the house or only when your HVAC system is running, it might be caused by mold in your air ducts.
I Have 1 Inch Insulation On A Basement Duct When I Examined The Ducting I Found Some Black Substance On The Yellow Insulation Is This A Problem
Youre very likely seeing dust particulates rather than mold growth. When air flows through the ducts, some of it escapes through the cracks in the joints. When this air hits the insulation, the dust particles are filtered out and deposited on the insulation. The dust itself is harmless. However, the leaky ducts cause higher energy bills and therefore should be sealed. You can see a photo of the phenomenon on attic insulation here
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Black Mold In Air Ducts
Can Mold in Air Ducts Make You Sick?
There are many different types of mold out there. Not every type of mold will be toxic to you, your pets and your family. Yet some molds can cause mild allergic reactions, or will further aggravate existing allergies or asthma symptoms. Some common types of mold that may be found in the home and in air ducts include:
On very rare occasions, toxic black mold calledStachybotrys chartarum, may be present in the home. This mold is more commonly found along drywall, attics, basements or in homes that have experienced flooding where materials have remained wet for more than 72 hours. While this mold is black or a very dark green in color, other non-toxic molds can also be this color. So even though there may be black spots on a vent or in the duct, it may not be the toxic black mold variety.
Can Sleeping Under a Vent Make You Sick?
Keep in mind that just sleeping underneath a ceiling air vent will not make you sick. If you don’t have any allergies or medical conditions like asthma, you may also not feel sick when the furnace or air conditioner is running.
What Causes Black Mold In Air Vents And Ducts
Mold in air ducts most commonly occurs when there is moisture inside the ductwork. As cool air flows through the vents on hot days, the moisture in the air can condense inside the air vent. You can see the same principle at work when you drink an icy beverage, and water beads up on the outside of the glass. When moisture is present, mold can flourish inside vents. The mildew can be introduced into the vents in several ways.
Mold spores are generally air borne, or spread through air. Spores can enter the duct work by simply blowing in from another area of the home, or from outside. The conditions need to be right for the spores to develop, however. A single mould spore can blow inside your home and begin to develop into a colony if the conditions are right. Warmer, moist environments are ideal for mildew spores to grow.
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What Are Some Prevention Tips
Regular duct cleaning is the number one way to minimize mold in your HVAC system. By removing dust buildup at least once every two to three years, you deprive the fungus of its foothold and its food. Hire a professional to clean areas infested with mold itâs important to take safety precautions during cleanup to avoid severe exposure and to keep from spreading the microbes more.
You can also install a dehumidifier to reduce the moisture in the air. The ideal level to limit mold growth while keeping the home comfortable is about 40% to 50%. Finally, if your HVAC system is strong enough to support a HEPA air filter, this will filter out spores before they can enter the ducts and reduce the risk of mold growing there.
For professional duct cleaning to eliminate dust and mold, choose DuctMedic Air Duct Cleaning. With locations in Lincoln and Omaha, NE, they have over 25 years of experience with cleaning and sealing, as well as air purifying services to help recover the air quality in your home. To schedule a visit from their trained technicians, visit them online or call 829-3828.
How To Remove Mold From Air Conditioner Ducts
Removing black mold can be a challenge, and is very time-consuming. Generally, the process involves taking apart your AC system to vacuum and clean the system using powerful agents. The cleaning must be done thoroughly and correctly, or the mold will grow back, and could even spread to other areas of the house.
Weve summarized the basic steps below:
Step 1: Contact a certified mold inspector to confirm the substance is black mold. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money in the removal process.
Step 2: Examine the insulation around your air ducts. If the black mold in your air vents has spread to the insulation, it will need to be replaced.
Step 4: Clean and disinfect the ductwork using the proper tools and approved killing agents.
Step 5: Perhaps the most important part of the process is to find out what caused the growth in the first place. Otherwise, the black mold will continue to reappear even after you remove it.
Since the process can be complex, sensitive, time-consuming and toxic, its highly advisable to seek professional help if you have a problem with black mold. An experienced AC technician will have the tools and killing agents necessary to clean your air vents and prevent your ducts from being a breeding ground for this dangerous fungus. A professional will also be able to locate and fix the source of the problem, preventing the problem from happening in the future, saving you money and helping to keep your household healthy.
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Mold Growth On Fiberglass Hvac Duct Interiors
Below: a photograph of white or light gray mold growth on the interior surface of a fiberglass-lined air duct.
While more investigation was required, we speculated that the Atlanta Georgia home where this duct mold was found had either suffered water or high moisture in the ductwork or there had been another source of high levels of Aspergillus, Penicillium, and perhaps other molds in the building’s indoor air.
Details of this air duct mold contamination study are found
How Can You Tell If Theres Mold In Your Air Ducts
As most parts of the air ducts are not visible, it can be difficult to tell if there is mold in your air ducts and whether you need an air duct cleaning service. Lets take a look at some of the most obvious signs that theres mold in your air ducts and that you need to call for professional air duct cleaning service immediately.
- Odors. Mold smells. Most types of mold are usually associated with some type of unusual or musty odor. It usually smells rotten, wet or stale. Its never a good smell. This is usually the first sign that most homeowners notice. Usually, the odor will only be present when youre using your air conditioning or heating system. Once you turn any of these systems off, you should notice a significant decrease in smelly odors.
- Visible mold. This doesnt happen often. Usually, most homeowners will not notice any mold and their home. However, in some worst-case and extreme scenarios, the mold may start to grow out of the vents. Youll start to notice visible mold in the ducts and in the drip pan. This usually happens when the condenser coils become clogged. If you notice any visible mold, you need to call a professional right away for air duct cleaning services. Mold spreads through spores. This means that theres likely a huge infestation by the time that you notice the mold.
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For What Reason Do Molds Develop In My Air Handler
During the hot summer season, the inside of the air handler creates an ideal climate for mold development. Mold wants water, food, and air to grow. During the hot season, the evaporator loop gathers moisture from the air in the house and makes everyone feel more comfortable.
Typical residue particles which stay away from the filter gather on the inside parts of the air handler. Mold spores float all around, go through the air handler and gather in the condensation droplets permitting the mold spores to imitate. In a couple of hot seasons, your air handler can get completely infested with mold development.
Keep Hvac Ducts Clean To Prevent Mold In Ductwork
Regular cleaning of the HVAC ducts will prevent mold growth. Not cleaning the ducts regularly could result in mold buildup, or the buildup of other materials that negatively impact your homes indoor air quality.
Call King for our ductwork cleaning service. You should have your ducts cleaned by a professional technician, as cleaning the ducts to remove and prevent mold growth requires great expertise and skill.
Also, be sure to ask King about our selection of air purification systems.
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How To Prevent Mold In My Air Vents
The best way to prevent mold in your air ducts or vents is to keep moisture from building up. Investing in a dehumidifier is a good way to do this. It will pull moisture from the air and keep it from condensing in your vents and ducts. In addition, annual maintenance of your duct system and a professional inspection and cleaning can help prevent mold from growing.
Can Mold Grow In A Duct System
Can mold grow in a duct system, and what problems can it cause?
Mold spores require a stable temperature, a food source and moisture to live and reproduce. HVAC systems provide all of these things. Any dust or dirt that passes through your air filter provide a good food source.
The furnace or air conditioner is designed to maintain a comfortable temperature, and moisture is available from several of the components in an HVAC system. Ductwork provides humid conditions, the humidifier in the furnace is wet and often holds standing water, and cooling coils are ideal areas for mold growth.
Live molds can release spores that can trigger allergic or asthmatic reactions, sometimes severe, in about 10 percent of the population.
Mold, both living and dead, can produce toxins that may cause short-term allergic reactions.
We have dealt with mold conditions inside ductwork and HVAC systems numerous times. We give the ductwork and HVAC system a very thorough cleaning, and then use encapsulation as well as a biocide application. We also recommend that the system be inspected and re-treated again after 6-8 months.
In those rare cases where mold has been detected in an HVAC system, it is also recommended that you install an Ultra Violet Light system.
A UV system is placed directly inside the ductwork, and there are typically two ways to do it. Some people go with both of them but having either one is more than what most people have.
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Mold In Air Vents: Harmful Or Nothing To Worry About
Your eyes are itchy and watery. Youre sneezing and coughing. You might expect these symptoms when you walk outside or play with your dogs, especially during the times of year that seasonal allergies are a problem.
What if this starts happening inside your own home?
If youre noticing nose stuffiness, wheezing or throat irritation whenever youre indoors at your house, the problem could be hiding in your air vents. You might be dealing with black mold.
You can usually spot mold on the walls, floors, ceilings and fabrics around your home. But sometimes, harmful mold lurks in a place you cant see: inside your air vents.
If you suspect you may have black mold hiding in your air vents, youll need to take action to determine what your problem is and take steps to make sure your family is not at risk. This comprehensive guide will help you understand symptoms, solutions and other important information about this health-threatening problem. It will also explain howpreventative maintenance from an AC professional can prevent black mold from ever coming into your duct system to begin with.
Is Mold In Air Vents Dangerous
Your ductwork circulates air throughout your home. That means if there is mold present within it, your family could be breathing in unhealthy air. This is especially the case if your home is contaminated with molds that produce mycotoxins, such as:
- Skin rashes
It can be difficult to know which kind of mold youre dealing with. Thats why its always important to let an expert take the reins.
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Tips For Preventing Mold In Ductwork
With the right conditions, mold can grow in your homes cooling and heating ductwork. Mold in ductwork is a more common problem than you might think, and it negatively impacts your indoor air quality and can pose a health risk.
Exposure to molds can result in eye irritation, nasal stuffiness, skin irritation, and wheezing. Moreover, people with chronic lung disorders can develop a mold infestation inside the lungs.
Mold infestations are common in regions with humid weather. While you cant completely get rid of mold, you can take actions to prevent and control mold infestations. Here are four steps that you can take to prevent mold from growing in your homes ductwork.
Next Steps Of How To Get Rid Of Mold In Air Ducts:
Once you have finished cleaning the visible mold, it is time to make sure that it never comes back! You need to look for EPA registered mold growth inhibitors for this process. These can successfully prevent mold from growing again after the clean-up. Without the application of inhibitors, the fungus is most likely to come back in the same area within a few weeks.
It sounds like a time-consuming task when it comes to the process of how to get rid of mold in air ducts and it surely is. You should be especially careful to dry the area after the cleaning. It is also a process that involves high health risks. Experts will always recommend that you leave the task of how to get rid of mold in air ducts to professionals who have the right equipment to ensure maximum safety to you and your family during the process.
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