How Does Mold Growth In Air Conditioners
Mold spores are literally all around us. They are constantly floating through the air and landing on sold surfaces. In nature, when those spores land on organic matter, such as fallen trees and leaves, they grow and feed on the matter, aiding in decomposition hence, outdoor mold growth is actually quite beneficial. Of course, mold spores get inside, too. The microscopic spores float inside through windows, doors, chimneys, and ventilation systems. They can also attach to shoes, clothing, bags, and anything else that goes outside, and when those items are brought back inside, they become airborne, travel throughout your house, and land on all types of surface.
Try as you might, there is no way to completely eliminate mold spores in your house. Minimal concentrations of mold spores usually arent problematic the problem arises when those spores continue to multiple and become mold. Why? Because patches of mold release spores, and the concentrations of the spores that mold growth produces can be quite high. Thats where the problem lies, and where adverse health effects as a result of mold exposure can occur. Since it is impossible to stop mold spores from entering your house, in order to prevent the negative effects that mold exposure can cause, you need to work on preventing the spores from growing into the fungi.
In order to grow, mold needs just a few basic things:
- Dimly lit conditions
Epa Recommendations And Warnings
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recommends hiring a professional HVAC cleaning professional if you suspect you may have a mold problem inside your HVAC system. The mold removal process is intensive and specific procedures need to be followed to ensure that safe, effective mold removal is accomplished. Also professional remediation companies have equipment, cameras, and training that the average homeowner doesnt have.
A professional company will prevent the mold from returning in the future, while at the same time protecting you and your family from the many health issues that mold can cause. If you suspect a mold problem in your HVAC system, you really should consult with a NADCA certified HVAC mold remediation company. They can advise you of the options available to you to solve your mold problem. Even if you choose to do the work yourself, everyone can benefit from some free, expert advice. For a list of qualified HVAC professionals in your area that will provide you with a free, in-home inspection and remediation quote, follow the link.
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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
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What’s The Bottom Line On Preventing Mold In Your A/c
If you ever have mold in your a/c system, or seen an air conditioner with mold, then you know that doing everything possible to prevent mold growth is a priority. We discussed having your air ducts periodically cleaned, installing a UV light, and making sure that the condensate is properly draining away from the indoor unit.
Besides this practical ways to prevent mold growth, probably the most important thing you can do is open up the cover to your indoor air handler or furnace once in a while just to make sure there isn’t any mold growth or other problems.
Also, once in a while, take a flashlight and inspect your air vent covers in each room of the home. If you ever see a black mold-like substance, there is a good chance that there is mold in your indoor air conditioning unit. During my home inspections, those are really the only two locations that I see mold growth within an air conditioning system.
Homesense On The Radio
I was asked my opinion about this issue on a recent Todays Homeowner with Danny Lipford radio show, which is a nationally syndicated weekly radio program. A caller had a 5 year old home and had an HVAC tech tell him that he had mold, and recommend two possible solutions to the problem.
Listen here at minute 30:00 for the full answer. But, like I said above, the basic feedback was are you sure its mold? and are you sure this will resolve the issue?
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How To Get Rid Of Mold In Air Ducts
If you detect mold in your HVAC system, it would be wise to avert from using your air conditioner since it may encourage the mold to spread even more to other areas of your home. It is indeed ideal to deal with the situation as soon as possible to reduce damage, health risks, as well as costs.
You must be appropriately clothed before beginning a DIY mold cleanup project. Because breathing in mold can cause a variety of health problems, you must use a safety mask with filters.
Wear protective gloves throughout the mold removal process and avoid touching a contaminated area with your naked hands. You must also wear eye protection to keep mold spores out of your eyes.
Here are the steps on how you can get rid of mold by yourself:
Step #1: Turn off your HVAC system and ensure it is not receiving energy from the master circuit.
Step #2: Afterward, detach the air duct covers.
Step #3: To prepare a cleaning mixture, dissolve a soap or dishwashing soap in water. You can also include a tablespoonful of baking soda.
If the surface you are trying to clean is non-porous, you can use a solution of one-part bleach to sixteen-part water. Immerse the air duct covers for 15 minutes in the cleaning solution.
Step #4: Furthermore, clean the space within the air ducts with a vacuum that is incorporated with a HEPA filter.
Step #5: Clean the surface of the air ducts with your cleaning solution and a towel. To access the deeper parts within your ducts, you might have to use a mop.
Why Would Mold Grow In My Air Ducts
Mold grows in ductwork when there is moisture and the temperature is warm. A warm, humid environment is the ideal place for mold to thrive in, and Houston, Texas is one such place where you may always need the service of mold remediation companies.
Mold could also grow in your air ducts when you have HVAC problems such as:
- An oversized AC unit larger units in small spaces cool off the air too quickly and go off before dehumidifying the air, leading to the excess moisture that mold needs to thrive in.
- A leaking duct ducts that have leaks that let in warm air creates the temperature differential that can invite mold.
Also, if you set your AC on a very low temperature always, you could just be creating the right environment for mold to settle in your HVAC duct.
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How To Prevent Mold In Hvac Systems With Maintenance
Maintenance for your HVAC system doesnt just help it perform better, it goes a long way toward how to prevent mold in HVAC equipment. These maintenance tips help you prevent mold from taking over your heating and cooling equipment.
- Schedule seasonal air conditioning preventive maintenance tune ups. With regularly scheduled HVAC maintenance from KS Services, our NATE-certified technician keep your system clean, so that it is able to best control the moisture level in your home.
- Inspect your drip pans and make sure they are cleaned on a regular basis. This prevents condensation buildup and ensures the drainage system is clog-free to prevent mold growth.
- Use a high efficiency air filter and replace it on a regular basis, as recommended by the manufacturer and your HVAC technician. Filters with a MERV rating of 5 to 13 offer capture of mold spores circulating through your air supply to prevent their spread the closer to MERV 13 your filter, the better protection you have.
What Are Sings Of Mold In Air Conditioners
There are a few signs to watch for if you suspect mold in your air conditioner:
- Musty smell. Mold spores give off a distinct musty smell. If you have a central AC unit, you might notice a musty smell throughout the house with no discernable source or visible signs of mold. If you have one or more window air conditioners, you might notice this smell in the room where the unit is located. A musty smell coming from an air vent when the AC is running is a clear sign of mold in your air conditioner.
- Health symptoms when AC goes on. Mold can cause a variety of negative reactions, including allergic reactions and various respiratory problems. If you or someone in your family starts showing these symptoms only when the AC is running, mold may be the culprit.
- Visible signs. Of course, depending on the location of your AC unit, you may be able to give it a visual inspection, along with the air vents if you have central air conditioning. Look for the familiar patchy spots of mold, sometimes fuzzy and often black or green-black. But keep in mind that mold spores are microscopic and the source of them may be hidden from view. So even if you cant see any mold, it may still be lurking out of sight.
- Professional inspection. If you suspect mold in your air conditioner, the best way to be certain is to bring in a professional mold inspector. They will be able to determine if there is mold in your AC unit, in the ventilation system, and other parts of your home.
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Hvac Systems And Mold: Air Handler And Ductwork Cleaning And Maintenance
The HVAC system is the most important investment made in any new or existing home. Because of the expense, many homes have improperly fitted HVAC systems. This error can be the cause of mold growth or it may spread mold throughout the home. HVAC systems and ductwork design should be meticulously selected for each home. It requires careful calculations to determine the right size of the unit and ductwork designed for a particular floorplan, ceiling height, window number, sun exposure, etc. Too large of a unit can cause condensation due to improper cycling. Too small of a unit can lead to energy inefficiency and temperature discomfort. In some cases, homeowners are given the options to add on whole house dehumidification, high efficiency filtration, etc. Read on to learn more about HVAC Systems and Mold.
HVAC technicians that were interviewed estimate that a majority of homes have improperly sized HVAC systems. This is frequently due to developers purchasing HVAC units in bulk for neighborhoods with homes that face different directions, have differing floorplans, and varied window exposure. Often, the only criteria used in determining if an HVAC system was properly installed is whether or not it is able to maintain the desired temperature. Very little attention is given to whether all duct joints were properly sealed, whether the unit cycles as designed, proper filtration, or long-term maintenance protocols.
How To Clean Mold From Air Conditioner Coils Step By Step
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How To Detect Mold In Your Window Air Conditioner
Most homeowners expect to discover mold in basements, leaky areas around roofs, and under carpets that are old or that have gotten wet at one time. But, not many are aware of the danger that lurks inside their air conditioner.
The first sign of mold the homeowner typically recognizes is a musty smell that fills the room often without the visual detection that there are active mold spores present. Mold in a home can lead to serious health issues and it doesnt take long for the symptoms to begin.
If you continue to smell this odor, rest assured there is mold somewhere in your home. However, if the smell is stronger when you turn the unit on, chances are there is mold growing in it somewhere, even if you are unable to find where at the time.
Extensive mold removal and repair cost can accumulate just as fast if the mold isnt detected early. If the discovery of mold is early enough and prompt action is applied, the homeowner can get a handle on the danger before it progresses too far.
Chances are you will be able to see mold in your AC if you make a thorough inspection or if you remove the filter and examine it, there could also be visible traces there. Even if it is too soon to see active mold on or around the filter, yet the smell it there, do a detailed inspection of the coils and around the motor for any signs of onset growth activity.
Mold In Air Conditioners
Mold can grow in many areas in your home, particularly where it is dark and humid. So it should come as no surprise that air conditioners are one of the places where mold can be found. Unfortunately, AC units represent a particularly risky place for mold to grow, since they push air through the house.
This means that a moldy air conditioner will actually blow microscopic mold spores into the air you breathe, spreading the spores throughout the rest of your home. Since mold presents multiple health risks, its important to prevent mold from developing in your air conditioner, and to eradicate it if it does appear.
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Remove The Front Panel
To get inside the unit, you will need to take off the front panel. Although AC units come with different designs, most panels are made the same. You should be able to use your nut driver to unscrew the panel and pull it out. You can change the filter at this point if it is located in your system. If you have a washable filter we suggest disposing of it and switching over to pleated disposable filters. Washable filters tend to never get clean once they get dirty. It is a good habit to replace the air filter once every few months no matter what.
Clean Out The Tray And Drain
Finish the interior clean of your window AC unit by emptying the drip tray and clearing the drain. To remove debris or dirty water from your tray, grab a wet-dry vacuum or a damp cloth and pull out everything thatâs collected inside. Leave it to dry before reassembling.
Finally, check the drain to see if anything is blocking it. Use your cloth to wipe around the opening and make sure thereâs a clear pathway for water to exit your unit.
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How To Get Mold Out Of A Stroller
Brush the mold away using a stiff bristle brush. If any mold remains, wet the area using lemon juice and sprinkle it with salt. Larger mold areas can be removed by mixing two parts water with three parts white vinegar in a spray bottle. Spray the whole area and then wash the stroller with soap afterward.