Is Black Mold In Your Ac Vents Dangerous
The most straightforward answer to this question is yes, this type of mold is quite dangerous. The moisture inside the AC vents is responsible for this type of mold growth.
Black mold on AC vents comes with a lot of health complications, making it hazardous. Its mostly linked to respiratory-related complications.
Breathing in spores from black mold can make one experience the following health issues.
- Irritated Eyes, Nose or throat
How Can I Remove Mold
Soap and detergents can remove mold stains but do not actually kill mold, and any mold that is left behind can quickly regrow.
Regular cleaning with a bleach-based products when used as directed can effectively kill mold as well as mildew. You should clean visible mold on nonporous surfaces with an EPA-registered bleach-based product.
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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Types Of Mold Inside Air Vents
Lets be clear: Any kind of mold in your air vents is bad mold. Yet, there are a few different species that can form depending on the exact situation.
Below is a list of the most common types, along with their distinguishing characteristics:
Did you know?
As soon as you notice any signs of mold in or around your air vents, its important to contact a professional and licensed mold company.
How To Determine If The Duct Cleaner Did A Thorough Job
A thorough visual inspection is the best way to verify the cleanliness of your heating and cooling system. Some service providers use remote photography to document conditions inside ducts. All portions of the system should be visibly clean you should not be able to detect any debris with the naked eye. Show the Post-Cleaning Consumer Checklist to the service provider before the work begins. After completing the job, ask the service provider to show you each component of your system to verify that the job was performed satisfactorily.
If you answer “No” to any of the questions on the checklist, this may indicate a problem with the job. Ask your service provider to correct any deficiencies until you can answer “yes” to all the questions on the checklist.
|Post Cleaning Consumer Checklist|
- energy conservation
- reduced condensation
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How To Prevent Mold In Air Vents
Of course, the best way to eliminate mold in your air vents is to prevent it from forming in the first place! Want to keep yours as clean as possible? Here are a few steps to take:
- Keep your HVAC ducts clean
- Make sure there is no furniture blocking your air vents
- Clean your drip pans regularly
- Seal all vent leaks immediately
- Use a dehumidifier to balance the moisture level in your air
- Properly size any new HVAC installations
Mold The Stubborn Intruder: What Is The Cause
In most cases, homeowners can most efficiently remove the mold form visible areas. However, molds spread through spores, and the presence of a small colony can lead to a re-infestation in no-time. Mold problems in HVAC systems and subsequent air ducts occur due to humidity and water accumulation in the system. Unless you find out precisely what is responsible for the growth in the first place, you might find yourself fighting a losing battle.
The DIY solutions are only suitable for minor mold problems. These are more effective for isolated cases that do not involve the entire ductwork. For example, if your master bathroom or your storage room smells musty, you can try to scrub the particular duct or vent that aerates these rooms. It is very common for some places to gather mold in the ductwork more than the others. Bathrooms are often more prone to mold infestations since there are higher humidity levels, and water almost never dries up completely. There is a high chance of recurring mold growth in the bathroom, and research shows that over 70% of toilets and showers in the urban areas have sneaky mold problems.
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How Do You Know There Is Mold In Your Air Ducts
Most of the time molds are visible. When they are invisible, however, youll get their odor in the air or have people or pets in the house show certain symptoms.
The odor is often the first sign of mold in air ducts or air vents you mostly smell it before you see it. So, if you begin to perceive a musty or moldy wet smell whenever you are not using your air conditioning or heating , know that mold is growing in your HVAC system.
The visible mold will turn up around AC vents, in the ducts, and in the drip pans look out for them! Because condenser coils pull moisture out of the air and into drip pans, they become the perfect environment for mold to grow, especially if clogged.
Finally, when people or pets in the house start exhibiting symptoms like headaches, nausea, irritated nose and throat, and itchy eyes whenever the AC is on, one possible cause is mold in air ducts.
Preventing Mold In A/c Vents
Once the mold on your A/C vents is properly removed, you will want to keep it away. Here are some ways to do so:
- Control your homes humidity levels. Use a dehumidifier if you live in a humid area.
- Fix all water leaks and remove standing water. Ensure A/C drain pans slope toward the drain to help remove standing water under the AC units cooling coils.
- Ensure your HVAC components and drain pans are accessible for proper cleaning and maintenance.
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Air Duct Cleaning: How To Clean Duct Work
Fortunately, air ducts are easy to clean with the right tools and know-how. A standard air duct cleaning will remove dust and debris from your ductwork. At Aire Serv, we use a four-step process to ensure your air ducts are cleaned thoroughly, each time.
- HEPA vacuums
Brushes, whips, and skipper balls are used to dislodge dirt and debris from the air ducts. The debris is then cleared away with a high-efficiency particle air vacuum or a vacuum that expels particles outside of the home or building.
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.
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Do Sealants Prevent The Release Of Dust And Dirt Particles Into The Air
Manufacturers of products marketed to coat and encapsulate duct surfaces claim that these sealants prevent dust and dirt particles inside air ducts from being released into the air. As with biocides, a sealant is often applied by spraying it into the operating duct system. Laboratory tests indicate that materials introduced in this manner tend not to completely coat the duct surface. Application of sealants may also affect the acoustical and fire retarding characteristics of fiber glass lined or constructed ducts and may invalidate the manufacturer’s warranty.
Questions about the safety, effectiveness and overall desirability of sealants remain. For example, little is known about the potential toxicity of these products under typical use conditions or in the event they catch fire.
In addition, sealants have yet to be evaluated for their resistance to deterioration over time which could add particles to the duct air.
Removing Mold From Air Conditioning Vents
Removing mold from A/C vents is a pretty simple process. Follow these steps to complete the task easily:
Some people may suggest cleaning the grill without removing it. We dont recommend this due to the dangers of the vents sharp metal that can easily cut your fingers when you cant fully see it.
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Get Rid Of Nasty Mold And Mildew In A Vehicles Air Vents
Just like a house, your car needs a thorough spring cleaning. But we are talking about more than vacuuming.
With just a can of disinfectant, a person can keep their vehicles air conditioning unit clean, preventing mold and mildew from taking root and causing breathing issues.
The procedure is inexpensive and straightforward. As a person starts his or her car, pull the brake, then turn the air conditioning to a high level of output. The system should not be on recirculate.
Now, it is time for some cleaning.
Find the intake vents by the windshield and spray the disinfectant back and forth a few times. Repeat the process with the heat and regular vent settings as well.
Pam Oakes, an automotive technician, said this method should kill almost all of the mold and mildew buildup.
They ll build up in what they call the evaporator drain case and then, it wont allow it to drain properly and back up, Oakes said.
Be sure to let the system run on each setting for a minute or two before spraying again.
Oakes said to do this air conditioning cleaning once a month.
Removing Mold From Air Ducts
Keep in mind, this process is only suitable for small areas with mold problems, not your entire system. If you believe mold has spread throughout your air ducts, the best thing you can do is save yourself a lot of time and money by bringing in a professional.
If you plan on cleaning the mold yourself, you need to turn off your air conditioning system, put on your protective gear, and carefully follow the directions on the cleaning product. Each company will have its own recommendation or process, and theres no universal solution given the range of vents found in homes today.
When your solution is ready, you simply need to scrub the area until the mold is removed. It may take more than one application, but when you are done, dispose of rags, brushes, or scrapers in an airtight construction bag. When satisfied, the next step should be to use a mold inhibitor in the area to ensure it doesnt return.
This video shows what you can expect when cleaning an overhead vent and how they addressed the cause behind dust, mold, and dirt around the vent.
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Scrub And Vacuum The Moldly Areas
Now that youve prepared yourself and the system for mold removal, its time to start scrubbing. Generously apply the cleaning solution directly onto the moldy areas using a light brush, wet rag, or spray bottle, and let it sit for a few minutes. Then, scrub the area in circular motions to remove the mold. Use disposable towels to get rid of any excess solution and then vacuum the area as an added precaution. For areas with a strong mold presence, you may need to repeat this step more than once.
Other Common Areas In The Home Where Mold Accumulates
Mold can grow under the fridge by the motor area, beneath the kitchen and bathroom sinks, and on the bathroom ceiling and walls. This is especially true when there is no window in the bathroom and the only ventilation is a vent fan. Its important to make sure that the bathroom vent fans are working and exhaust the unwanted moisture from a steaming shower. Proper function of the fan should be a clear vent line and exhaust to outside of the home. Often contractors will just lead the vent to exhaust into the attic and can cause an unwanted moisture build up there which can lead to a bigger mold issue.
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How To Remove Mold From Air Vents Bottom Line
You can say goodbye to mold on your air vents by needing these cleaning and preventive measures. I continue to believe that employing specialists is the best and most efficient approach to eradicate mold. You can, however, experiment with the other techniques.
Just make sure to use protective gear and only try it if the mold development is minor. If there is a significant amount of mold growth, or if you are already suffering unpleasant side effects as a result of the growth, you should leave the area and call specialists.
That being stated, follow these eight preventative measures to ensure that mold is never an issue in your ventilation system again.
Signs Of Mold Contamination In Homes
Molds not only pose damaging risks to our HVAC systems, but also bring a number of health problems to our loved ones. Here are signs dangerous fungi may be lurking right under your nose:
- Visible mold growth inside a heating and cooling system
- Odd, musty smell anywhere
- Family members experiencing sore throat/coughs
- Unusual feelings of tiredness, headaches, nausea and dizziness
- Rashes on skin
- Your eyes, nose or throat are irritated
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Where Is Mold Found
A University of Arizona study looked at 160 homes in all regions of the United States and found the presence of mold in literally 100 percent of all those sampled. 1 The highest levels were found in places that people normally overlook: window sills, refrigerator seals, under the kitchen sink, air registers and entryways.
Hire A Mold Removal Specialist
While it is possible to remove mold from your air conditioner vents yourself, you can always call in the experts. Hiring an expert will ensure the cleaning is done properly and safely. Hiring a professional mold specialist will also ensure the most specialized tools and cleaners are used to prevent mold from growing back. A professional mold specialist will also address the mold causes and how you can stop them.
For any mold concerns, big or small, feel free to reach out to us at TruClean. We specialize in mold remediation and would be happy to address any concerns you may have.
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Unpleasant Odor From Ducts
Another telltale sign of the presence of debris in the system and that you should conduct serious ventilation system cleaning is odor. If you experience an unpleasant smell in your home and can’t find the source, it could be emanating from the air duct system. You should get up close to all the air registers for a good sniff to verify these suspicions. You can also have a technician inspect the air ducts for anything that could be emitting the bad smell.
Suggestions For Choosing A Duct Cleaning Service Provider
To find companies that provide duct cleaning services, check your Yellow Pages under “duct cleaning” or contact the National Air Duct Cleaners Association at the address and phone number in the information section located at the end of this guidance. Do not assume that all duct cleaning service providers are equally knowledgeable and responsible. Talk to at least three different service providers and get written estimates before deciding whether to have your ducts cleaned. When the service providers come to your home, ask them to show you the contamination that would justify having your ducts cleaned.
- they are experienced in duct cleaning and have worked on systems like yours
- they will use procedures to protect you, your pets and your home from contamination and
- they comply with NADCA‘s air duct cleaning standards and, if your ducts are constructed of fiber glass duct board or insulated internally with fiber glass duct liner, with the North American Insulation Manufacturers Association’s recommendations.
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