Is Mold In Air Conditioner Units Dangerous
Before you determine whether your unit can be cleaned or should be replaced, its important to understand just how dangerous mold can be. Black mold in air conditioner units can develop for a number of reasons, and left untreated, the growth can begin to affect your familys health.
Symptoms of mold exposure:
- Vacuum cleaner with attachments
How To Clean Mold From Air Conditioner Coils 5 Easy Steps
An essential part of an ACs maintenance is keeping its coils clean, so you might want to know how to clean mold from air conditioner coils. Whats even important is keeping them from growing even more.
If the coils are not clean with grime and debris, the airflow passing through the coils will be limited. In such a case, the air conditioning system will have to work harder to cool the room.
In some cases, it will even burn itself after working that much. Debris, dust, and dirt are also the perfect breeding ground for mildew, mold, and bacteria to grow. This will cause health problems as it increases the spores of mold circulating through the air in your house.
Not only that, but it will also cause your electric bills to increase. A biofilm will start to develop on the coils if the air is limited and mold build-up. This will create a barrier inside the coils. As a result, the unit will not be exchanging heat as it normally does.
With that being said, it is important to clean up those mold from the coils.
How To Prevent Mold In The Air Conditioner
Keeping mold out of your air conditioner is the best way to ensure you have clean air circulating in your home, and there are several steps to do this.
HEPA filters: All air conditioner units come fitted with air filters. The problem with these filters is that they only block out the larger particles and they are there to protect the components of the unit and not your health. Fortunately, there are HEPA filters available for these systems, which will prevent microscopic mold spores from entering the air conditioner and, ultimately, your home.
UV filters: Most new air conditioners available for purchase today comes with a bacteria-killing UV light filter already fitted. In many cases, a UV filter can be purchased separately and installed on the current AC unit. This filter kills up to 99% of all viruses, bacteria, and mold spores without putting any additional strain on your air conditioner. Read more about the best mold-proof UV filters for air conditioners here.
Yearly maintenance: Its recommended to have a professional come in annually to thoroughly clean and do maintenance on your air conditioner. Air filters and drain pans need to be cleaned and replaced, while air ducts should be cleaned and dried.
You May Like: How To Get Mold Off Shower Grout
How To Protect Yourself From Scams
Why Have Your Air Vents Cleaned
According to the EPA, there are 3 main reasons you might want to have your ducts or air vents cleaned:
If your HVAC system is in a crawl space, it is also more likely to be prone to leaks and mold growth. For more information see our post: HVAC System in Your Crawl Space? You May Be Breathing Dirty Air.
Recommended Reading: How To Mold Leather Holster
What Causes Window Air Conditioner Black Mold
Knowledge is power! Knowing what causes window AC mold will help you to prevent it again once youve cleaned your AC.
Three things are needed for black mold on a window air conditioner. At the end, we talk about how to deal with the moisture and nutrients part of the equation.
- Mold spores Mold is common. Mold spores are found in most homes. By themselves, they might not pose a serious threat.
- Moisture When spores get wet, they begin to grow and reproduce. This is why the US Environmental Protection Agency says, the way to control mold growth is to control moisture. However, since your window AC dehumidifies the air in the room gets rid of moisture this is difficult, and it is why black mold on window air conditioners is so common.
- Nutrients Mold needs food. Thats why it does so well on old forgotten food in the refrigerator. And this also offers a hint to keeping mold off your window air conditioner. Starve mold by keeping the AC clean.
The EPAs guide 10 Things You Should Know About Mold is good reading for anyone concerned about mold in air conditioner health risks and how to prevent them. The guide includes many useful links too.
How To Clean A Window Air Conditioner For Mold
Mold can be very detrimental to your health, which is why its so important to address it promptly. This is especially true if the spores are festering in your air conditioner as you and your family can easily end up breathing them in.
But wait how does mold get into your air conditioner in the first place? Well, if you live somewhere that gets humid and you dont take time to clean your air conditioner regularly, a combination of dust and moisture inside the unit will harbor spores. These pesky growths proliferate within just 24-48 hours so it doesnt take very long to end up with a huge problem.
Heres how to clean a window air conditioner for mold.
At the very least, you should be wearing an N-95 respirator mask when getting rid of mold. You should also wear gloves and wash anything that the spores come into contact with.
Whenever you want to perform internal work on your window air conditioner, you need to discharge its capacitor. Even after youve unplugged the unit, there may be residual electricity inside that can shock you.
Your air conditioners manual will tell you the exact steps required to avoid this. Generally, youll need to remove the side panel, identify the capacitor, and use an insulated screwdriver to connect its terminals, which will cause a short circuit and release the electricity.
Read Also: How To Clean Vinyl Boat Seats Of Mildew
How To Check For Mold In The Hvac System
Every homeowner should know how to spot mold in their cooling system. It can be hard to tell that a problem is growing in your house, which just gives it more time to spread.
Here are some tell-tale signs that there may be some fungi lurking there:
- A noticeable musty smell near the air vents in the indoor environment.
- The distinct odor increases when the air is running.
- Patches of black fungi re visible around the vents, evaporator coils, or drip pans.
- You or your family has an irritated throat, nose, eyes, or sinus passages when the cooling is on.
At your annual maintenance check, your HVAC tech should test for mold. Also, check for signs of mold whenever you empty the drip pans or change the furnace filter. But, if you suspect that there may be a problem in your system, dont wait. Have the HVAC and duct system checked by a professional so that the mold can be eradicated as soon as possible.
How Does Mold Occur
Mold requires a warm and humid environment in order to grow. That means water is part of molds equation. Remove the water, and mold cant live. According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency , mold already exists in all homes, even in your Cedar Park, TX, home. In most cases, it exists on such a small scale that it is not noticeable and does not pose a health risk.
A mold-ideal environment can be created due to an unknown or ignored leak somewhere in your home or due to high humidity. An environment with over 70 percent humidity is a definite breeding ground for mold. A small water leak in your HVAC system or ignored air conditioner drains and pans that are holding water, an evaporator coils or air handler could very well be an origin of mold. Once the mold begins to grow, the spores can travel through your homes air conditioner duct system causing a multitude of problems.
You May Like: Clean Mold Off Shower Grout
Cleaning Without Removing A Window Air Conditioner
It can be hard to clean a window air conditioner without disconnecting it from the wall as you need a considerable amount of water. However, it is possible with a little more effort.
Before starting the job, you should put some buckets under your AC. Then, take off the screws of the frontal case or mask and take out the filter.
Afterward, you need to spray the device and wipe it with the dry cloth at the same time. Repeat the process until you see the frontal and inner parts are entirely clean. Dont forget to spray the filter and rinse it, as well. It is an excellent idea to do so in your bath or sink.
The next step is to go outside and spray the AC without removing the cover. Do it wherever you see the hole. Leave the agent and water to soak all the parts of the device for approximately 15 minutes.
Then rinse the device with water from the hose or bucket. Make sure not to pour a large amount of water immediately. It is better to use less water over a more extended period. While doing so, you will see the dirt comes from the bottom holes of the outside unit.
You will know a window air conditioner is clean once the water coming out becomes clean. If needed, you can repeat the soaking part, but always rinse the detergent or bleach afterward.
Once you have finished with the cleaning, you should leave all the parts to dry for at least 2 to 4 hours. After putting back all the pieces together, your seasonal cleaning is finished.
Read Also: How To Clean Black Mold On Shower Grout
How To Choose A Reputable Company For Air Vent Black Mold Removal
Air duct cleaning is NOT a DIY project. Special equipment is needed to remove dust, dirt, mold and debris. You really do need to choose a professional for this job. How can you choose the right contractor? What questions should you ask them before hiring them? What kind of advertising should you expect?
Duct Cleaning Special, only $39.99!
Duct cleaning 84% off!
$290 worth of services for only $29.00!
What do these three statements have in common? They are all gimmicks to convince you that these companies will really give you an amazing deal. But yall, when it looks too good to be true, it probably is.
Also Check: How To Prevent Mildew On Boat Seats
Your Local Hvac Specialist
A mold infestation can be a serious health problem for your family, but its also preventable. Be sure to have your system checked so that your concerns can be addressed right away. Let us help you protect your family and keep your HVAC system running cleanly. Request an estimate or call AQM in Exton, Pennsylvania at
How Do You Get Mold Out Of Air Vents
The best way to get rid of mold on air vents is by hiring a professional. They will adhere to high safety standards, ensuring there are no hazards for them, your family, or your home. Plus, they use the correct cleaners that are safe for your vents, but most effective on mold.
However, if this isnt an option for you, we have some methods that may work in the meantime.
Before You Start
Don’t Miss: What Causes Mold On Ceilings
The Dangers Of Mold In Your Air Conditioner
If mold is growing in your house, it can release spores that can be easily inhaled. According to the CDC, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold.
Mold growing in an AC unit is not necessarily more dangerous than mold growing elsewhere in your house. However, the function of an air conditioner is to spread cool air throughout a room, and the purpose of the HVAC ducts is to distribute air throughout the house. If they become contaminated with mold, they will efficiently distribute mold spores across an entire room or the entire house. If the concentration of mold spores is high enough, you will have a mold problem everywhere, rather than in just one location, and you will be inhaling mold spores in every room, even while you sleep.
How To Clean Mold From Air Conditioner Coils
Tools and Equipment for Cleaning the Coils
Before you can start cleaning mold and other debris from the air conditioner coils, you need to ensure that you have the right tools and equipment. Depending on the type of AC unit, you may need a screwdriver to remove access panels, along with these items:
- Disinfectant cleaning spray
- Trash bags
- Soft bristle brush
You may also need a wet/dry vac to vacuum any standing water and other debris before cleaning the coils.
There are different types of cleaning sprays available that are designed specifically for cleaning mold and bacteria from metal parts. The best cleaners are labelled for HVAC use and can help kill mold, mildew, and bacteria.
The cleaners are typically available as a liquid or a foam. The liquid cleaners will require you to rinse the parts clean afterward using a wet rag. The foam cleaners do not require you to rinse. However, you will need to wipe the foam clean after allowing it to set.
When cleaning the coils, you should also consider replacing the AC filter. If mold is present on the coils, there are likely mold spores in the filter.
Locate the Coils and Remove Access Panels
After gathering the necessary tools and equipment, you should be ready to clean the mold from the coils. First, turn off the air conditioner and disconnect the power.
Removing Mold from Coils Using Cleaning Products
What Causes Mold Growth on Air Conditioner Coils?
How to Protect Your Air Conditioner from Mold Growth
Don’t Miss: How To Get Rid Of Mildew On Boat Seats
How To Clean Black Mold On Air Conditioner Vents
Air conditioner vents can be breeding grounds for black mold. Condensation forms in the coils and ducts as cool air circulates through the system, creating a habitat for moisture-loving mold. Black mold can cause severe respiratory symptoms, particularly in people who are allergic to mold. After you clean your air conditioner vents, inspect walls and insulation to find the source of the black mold infestation.
Wear long sleeves and pants and put on a high-efficiency dust mask to protect yourself from black mold spores. Make sure all household members with mold allergies or respiratory problems are out of the house before you begin to clean the air conditioner vents.
Remove the vent cover of a window air conditioner by unscrewing the screws with a screwdriver or pressing in on pressure clips. Place the vent cover in a basin or tub, sprinkle with laundry detergent and add enough water to cover the vent cover. After 15 minutes, rinse and allow the filter and vent cover to air-dry.
Remove dust from the inside of the air conditioner, as the dust in the moist environment allows mold to thrive.
Spray the blades and duct opening with water to prevent dry mold from escaping into the air. Wipe the blades and duct opening as thoroughly as possible with soapy water. Mold spores are microscopic and not visible to the naked eye, so clean surfaces even if you do not see mold.
Things You Will Need
Scrub The Moldy Areas Of The Ac
You need to get a sponge, brush or cloth to soak up the solution and scrub down the affected areas of your AC. You also want to clean the front grille with the same solution. Even if you do not see any mold, it may still be a good idea to scrub down the area just to prevent mold from growing in the future. You should allow the solution to sit for at least 10 minutes. After this time, you need to rinse the AC down with a damp cloth and water. If you still see mold on the unit, you can repeat the scrubbing steps until it goes away.
Recommended Reading: How To Clean Mold From Boat Seats