How To Prevent Mold In Future
Once youve taken care of the mold in air ducts, its important to make sure it doesnt happen again. Getting an HVAC preventative maintenance plan is a great way to keep an eye on the mold and keep your HVAC system healthy. It can help prevent the causes of mold by making sure there are no issues that can cause moisture leaks. Regular maintenance prevents breakdowns and keeps your cooling running smoothly.
Another thing you can do to take care of your HVAC is consider a periodic duct cleaning service. Duct cleaning is usually not included in routine preventative maintenance. Youll definitely need duct cleaning after discovering mold in air ducts, but also consider getting a regularly scheduled cleaning, especially if you live in a humid climate or have trouble with mold that keeps coming back.
You can also consider installing UV light and/or Ionization air purifiers that can kill mold as well as other particles such as viruses and bacteria. Passive systems can effectively destroy particles on surfaces in your HVAC system , while active systems can also destroy airborne contaminants, including odors and VOCs.
If you have issues with mold after taking these steps, its time to look into an underlying cause of humidity in your home or business, which may be accumulating outside your HVAC system:
Crucial Things To Do If You Have Mold In Your Air Ducts
Mold is often visible on walls and ceilings, but it can also hide in your air ducts. Even if you cant see it, you might feel its presence. Mold signs include a musty smell and mold exposure symptoms similar to allergic reactions . If you suspect mold is hiding in your AC vents, take quick action and follow these guidelines.
Ive Got Mold In The Air Vents In My Home What Do I Do Now
Removing mold in air vents can be very challenging. While many still opt for using ozone, research suggests that this method is detrimental to your respiratory system and can cause just as much damage as the mold itself.
Before you do anything at all, you need to make 100% sure that the substance you believe to be black mold is in fact that. This is because the process of removing mold from air vents is not only time-consuming but very costly.
If you do have mold in your air ducts, the best thing you can do is call in the professionals. A mold remediation expert will first inspect your home and take the appropriate steps to find out where all the mold is in your home and remove it.
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Air Duct Sanitizing And Mold Removal Cost
Mold removal in air ducts costs$450 to $6,000 on average, depending on the contamination level. Air duct sanitizing costs $70 to $150, which prevents further mold and mildew growth. Most duct cleaning doesnt remove all mold, and severe cases require mold remediation specialists.
Finding Professional Air Duct Cleaning Near Me
When having your ducts cleaned, its vital that you utilize the services of a seasoned professional. Cleaning ducts is an intensive process, one that involves disassembling your duct system, utilizing a high-powered vacuum, and applying certain liquid cleaners. Its not a job that you can easily facilitate yourself.
Now, you might be wondering: how do you find the right air duct cleaning company in your area? Generally speaking, it involves utilizing the following tips.
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Choose A Cleaning Solution
The first step to fixing your mold issues is finding a good mold removal agent. If youre looking for an at-home solution, here are four good options:
- Mix your favorite household detergent with water
- Create a baking soda-detergent solution
- Combine 1 part borax with 16 parts water
- Combine 1 part bleach with 16 parts water
- If you dont mind spending a few dollars, there are a number of commercial mold removal products that will kill and remove mold. For safety reasons, make sure you purchase an EPA registered mold removal disinfectant labeled for HVAC use.
How To Remove Mold From Air Vents
When you first notice mold in your air vents, your first instinct might be to mix up a bleach solution and start scrubbing. While this approach can work in a small, isolated spot such as your shower, its ineffective for a large-scale area such as your ductwork.
Ultimately, larger and bigger mold problems require the expert skills of a team thats certified to perform mold testing, inspection, and removal.
Trying to tackle the issue yourself could make it worse. For one, you could damage your vents as you try to work in and around them. Moreover, a DIY mold removal project could also expose you to more harmful spores, as well as toxic fumes from your cleaning products.
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What Is Air Duct Cleaning
- climatic region
- level of contamination
If you decide to have your heating and cooling system cleaned, it important to make sure the service provider agrees to clean all components of the system and is qualified to do so.
Duct cleaning generally refers to the cleaning of various heating and cooling system components of forced air systems, including the supply and return air ducts and registers, grilles and diffusers, heat exchangers heating and cooling coils, condensate drain pans , fan motor and fan housing, and the air handling unit housing .
In addition, the service provider may propose applying chemical biocides, designed to kill microbiological contaminants, to the inside of the duct work and to other system components. Some service providers may also suggest applying chemical treatments to encapsulate or cover the inside surfaces of the air ducts and equipment housings because they believe it will control mold growth or prevent the release of dirt particles or fibers from ducts. These practices have yet to be fully researched and you should be fully informed before deciding to permit the use of biocides or chemical treatments in your air ducts. They should only be applied, if at all, after the system has been properly cleaned of all visible dust or debris.
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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How The Ducts Are Cleaned
So I am not going to take you from A-Z on how to have your ducts cleaned.
Why is that?
If you read the section above, I recommend having the ducts cleaned by an HVAC professional
And Im not HVAC Professional.
I will, however, give you an outline of what your air conditioning company should be doing.
Keep in mind that the process of cleaning the ducts may vary based on what your ducts are made of. The outline below is assuming you have flex duct but we will also go over the process if you have fiberglass a little later on.
A Reduction In Air Quality
Not only will dirty ducts reduce the energy efficiency of their corresponding HVAC system but they will also reduce air quality in their corresponding home. This is because the dust and debris within the ducts will be pushed out by manufactured air, floating into the indoor environment and contaminating it in perpetuity.
On the other hand, if the ducts were clean, there would be no risk of this. Only air would come out of the duct system, and not dust, pet dander, or mold spores.
Note, reduced air quality isnt just an issue that affects your comfort. If youre allergic to dust, mold, or pet dander, this problem can actually cause you to suffer cough, rash, sneezing, watery eyes, and more. As such, its a problem that you should confront head-on.
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Change Ac Filters Regularly
Regularly changing your filters is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent dust and dirt from clogging your air vents. When debris is allowed to build up in your air vents, this promotes the accumulation of spores.
Wondering when and how to change your central air conditioner filter? Depending on the type of filter you have and the size of your family, you should change your air filters every 30 to 60 days. If you have a pet, you should change your filters more frequently. Most systems are very straightforward. You can simply remove the filter cover, take out the dirty filter, get the new filter out of its packaging and place it inside.
Youre Experiencing Allergy Symptoms On A Regular Basis
If youre like some people, youre allergic to mold and/or dust. Therefore, if you have mold and/or dust in your home environment, youre bound to experience coughing, sneezing, rashes, and a variety of other symptoms.
And where does a great deal of mold and dust reside? Inside of your duct system, of course. Therefore, any time your AC or furnace is in use, its forcing allergens out into your air, thereby causing your allergies to flare up.
Want to reduce the severity of this problem substantially? Its as simple as cleaning your duct system. By cleaning your ducts, youll eliminate most of the allergens that were infiltrating your indoor environment, creating a healthier and more breathable atmosphere in general.
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How To Clean Mold In Air Ducts
When cleaning and disinfecting ductwork, you will need to have a chemical cleaner. The most budget friendly, and also the most effective, solution to choose is a mixture of chlorine bleach and water. For each gallon of water you use, you will add one cup of bleach. Make sure that you can reach all the duct work or you may not eliminate the spores. It is important to know that you cannot simply remove the mildew using a cloth or mop. All the spores must be killed for the problem to be fully resolved.
In general, do it yourself mold removal in air ducts is a difficult task that may not result in the total eradication of the spores that are present. This is particularly true if you have insulated vents. Any insulated vents that you have will need to be totally replaced in order to kill the mold that is present in the home. You will also need to fully inspect the interior of the furnace or heating system, including the coils, to determine the root cause of the mold contamination.
Ask To See Pictures Of The Companys Work
To ensure that your chosen company really can get the job done, youll want to see proof of their past work. You can do this by asking to see pictures of such work.
Most duct cleaning companies have before and after pictures for their prospective customers to see. They might even keep these pictures up on their websites. So, check there before making any calls.
Once youve seen pictures of the companys work, and once youre satisfied with what you see, you can rest assured that the company is capable of doing a good job on your duct system. This makes the company a viable candidate in your search and means that it should be assessed further.
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How To Clean Mold Out Of Ductwork
Mold gets into your homes ductwork when there is moisture inside the ductwork. As your air conditioner circulates cool air through the air ducts on hot days, the humidity in the air can condense in the ductwork. The moisture in the air beads up on the walls of the ducts. The presence of this moisture allows mold spores to grow and colonize inside the ductwork.
Mold spores get into the ductwork by blowing in elsewhere in your home or from the outdoors. The warm moist environment in the ductwork can be an ideal place for mold to grow. When it is growing in your air ducts, the spores will be circulated through the mechanical equipment, blown through your system and into the air throughout your entire home. This may be one of the biggest reasons why you need to clean your duct work.
Sanitization Or Fogging Of Air Ducts
If you are certain your air ducts were contaminated with mold, then having your air vents sanitized with a fogger is recommended.
Typically, it is air duct cleaning companies who sanitize air duct systems by spraying a disinfectant aerosol into the HVAC ductwork. This aerosol is usually made from plant-based ingredients and is harmless to humans . It also has a nice fragrance and will make your home smell great.
Always clean air ducts first BEFORE sanitization
It is important that you have your air ducts and furnace cleaned of any mold prior to sanitizing your air ducts. If you just sanitize your air ducts without cleaning, then the mold my get killed but it will then turn into a toxic dust that can get blown throughout the home.
Air duct cleaning prior to sanitization prevents mold from degrading into a fine toxic dust. An air duct cleaning company may charge anywhere from $100 to $300 for this extra step of air duct fogging.
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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.
How To Identify Mold Inside Air Vents
So, you know somethings going on inside your air vents, but you arent exactly sure what kind of fungal growth youre looking at.
Your first step might be to research the colour and texture of the mold to narrow down what it could be. However, even then you could get the answer wrong. The only safe and sure way is to hire a mold professional to perform a mold test and thorough inspection of your HVAC system.
Once you know what kind of mold youre dealing with, you can take the appropriate steps necessary to eradicate it.
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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
Toxic Signs Of Black Mold In Air Vents
One of the most disturbing things that you can encounter as a homeowner or tenant is the possibility of your air vents being contaminated with mold.
When I was inspecting homes for buyers, I frequently discovered mold growth inside the HVAC system when I pulled off the front cover.
And since mold needs moisture, darkness, and food to survive and thrive the HVAC system is the perfect breeding ground. If you are wondering about the food source for mold, it is usually in the form of common household dust.
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How Can I Prevent Future Black Mold Growth
The best way to prevent mold from growing is to keep dust out through routine maintenance.
Now that you have a clean HVAC system, how do you keep it that way? You cannot remove all mold spores from the air, or keep the coil completely dry during the summer. The best way to prevent mold from growing is to keep dust out through routine maintenance.
To prevent dust from coming into contact with the coil, choose a high quality, appropriately sized air filter that is changed on a regular basis.
Of course, remember to change the filter at least every 3 months, or to wash and replace washable filters every month. When choosing a washable filter, remember that it must be completely dry before putting it back into the system. For washable filters, its better to have two, one to wash, and one to use.