How To Prevent Black Mold Around Air Vents
Preventing black mold from developing is the simplest way to ensure you have good air quality inside your home. Small changes, such as using a HEPA filter in the air conditioning system, are recommended to maintain the cleanliness of the vents. Annual maintenance of all parts of your system, including the coils, can also help reduce the risk of mold spores entering the ducts. You will typically need to have a professional inspect and clean your furnace or air conditioning system annually to complete these tasks.
If you live in a humid environment or experience a lot of humidity in the home, then you may want to consider investing in a dehumidifier. The dehumidifier can remove excess moisture from the air, which is needed for mold spores to thrive. Lastly, maintaining cleanliness in the home by using a vacuum with a HEPA filter regularly and limiting the amount of dust in the home can reduce mold spores. If you are renovating and there is a lot of dust, then you can close off vents with plastic sheeting to keep vents clean.
What Are Signs Of Black Mold In My Air Ducts
While mold and mildew are very similar they do have some striking differences. Mildew is normally grey or slightly green and lies on the surface. This means that it can be wiped off with some cleaning detergent and a cloth.
Mold, if left untreated can turn black, making it particularly dangerous and toxic. Black mold can release spores as it feasts on materials that are organic, for example, carpet, drywall, and insulation.
Unfortunately, the easiest way to find out if you have black mold in your air ducts is by looking inside them.
You may also find that the problem has gotten so bad that it has spread to the wall your air duct is attached to. It is not unusual to be able to smell mold.
If the problem is deep inside your vents, you may not know it is there. Sometimes, it takes you or your family getting ill to find out that you have a black mold infestation in your home.
The more severe symptoms mentioned above are all associated with black mold.
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 To Clean Mold On Your Ac Vents
Theres no need to panic or scramble if you find some mold on your AC vents. So long as youre willing, you can take care of it. Put yourself first, though. Before you begin, take measures to protect yourself from the mold. Rubber gloves, respiratory protection, and safety glasses are must-haves.
As far as what you will need to deal with the mold, theres no need to go nuts. Your favorite detergent, bleach , and water are what youll need. Of course, you can use commercially available EPA registered mold removal solutions and inhibitors to prevent the mold from returning.
Turn Off Your System And Vacuum The Mold
Now that you have protected yourself and prepared your cleaning solution, you need to apply it to your vents. You can even let it sit for a couple of minutes to make the scrubbing away part of this job that little bit easier.
Make sure that you scrub off all the mold and use a towel that can be disposed of to wash away any leftover mold and solution.
Once you have cleaned the area, vacuum your vents as well. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until all the mold is gone.
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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.
What Are The Signs Of Mold In Your Cars Air Conditioning
You will most likely smell mold in your vehicles AC before you see it. Mold has a very distinct, unpleasant smell that some people compare to a stuffy, dirty basement.
People who notice that the AC smells musty in their car may question, Is there mold in my cars AC unit? The answer to this is most likely, yes.
Mold that isnt controlled will continue to grow until it eventually reaches your cars air vents. It will typically be black, olive green, or brown with a somewhat patchy appearance. Seeing this on your vents is a sign that mold is growing throughout your cars AC system.
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Clear Clogged Condensate Drain Line
In addition to keeping your home cool, your HVAC system also removes moisture from the air. Your condensate drain line is responsible for drawing condensed water from your indoor unit and disposing of it outside.
Check near your outdoor unit for a small pipe. If it isnt dripping this excess water onto the ground, you might have a clog somewhere in your drain line. A clog will cause water to back up into the drain pan, creating a breeding ground for mold.
Clear your drain line using a handheld vacuum, or try pouring a solution of bleach and water down the mouth.
The Effects Of Indoor Mold
Mold can impact the health of anyone in your home in a variety of ways. Certain groups are more susceptible to these spores, however. The elderly and children are more prone to experience issues from indoor mold. It can also seriously impact people with asthma or conditions that affect their respiratory system. Some people in general are also more sensitive to mold than others.
One person may not experience any effects, while others could regularly experience headaches, itchy skin, or a stopped up nose. Coughing and wheezing arent uncommon, along with other upper respiratory tract issues brought on by mold exposure. There have been hundreds of studies on the health effects of indoor mold, and the overwhelming verdict is that you do not want it in your home.
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Why Do I Have Mold In My Vents
It can get humid inside your vents, which is the perfect environment for mold spores to grow. Vents in rooms that arent well-ventilated are the most susceptible to mold.
Air conditioners are another culprit. If theyre too big, excess moisture in the air vents doesnt circulate properly. And if you keep the temperature too low, expect condensation to form due to the temperature difference.
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:
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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.
Regularly Change Your Filter
Frequently changing air filters is the best way to keep dust, allergens and other particles out of your home. With a newly installed system, or a system in a home youve just moved into, check your filter monthly to determine how quickly it gets dirty at different times of the year. Most should be replaced every two or three months.
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Preventing Mold In Air Ducts
The best way to fight mold growth in your home or air ducts is to remove its food source. Without water and material to munch on like dust or old wood, mold doesnt have a place to grow. With that in mind, here are some preventative tips to keep mold from growing in your air vents or ductwork.
If you have a basement and can see water dripping from your ductwork during the summer, a dehumidifier can help bring the humidity levels back in the normal range. Its something 90% of mold remediators recommend for basements that stay damp, whether its from Mother Nature or leaking air ducts.
On that note, leaks in your ductwork can result in excess moisture and mold. Sealing leaks around vents is an easy DIY project and one that will save you from some headaches down the line. Anything that can cause a drastic temperature differential can potentially leak to mold. That includes oversized AC units and areas with poor ventilation.
Ultraviolet rays are a great way to combat germs and bacteria as they can break down the bonds that hold those particles together. Its a common feature on air purifiers, but you can also install a UV-C light on your HVAC system or in the ductwork. These systems are simple to install and can significantly impact your air quality, but you still need to have any mold removed beforehand.
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
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Plumbing Leaks Or Exterior Rainwater
You should be on the lookout for leaks from plumbing pipes or from the outside that may be adding moisture to your HVAC system.
During my home inspections, the most frequent cause of water or moisture into the home is from poor exterior grading which means that the ground slopes towards the home rather than away. For the first ten feet from the home, the ground should gradually slope away from the home at least seven inches.
Besides poor grading, its important to make sure that the downspouts drain water away at least several feet away from the home the easiest way to fix this problem is to install downspout extensions.
Use a moisture meter to find leaks
If you suspect that your basement walls has excessive moisture, or that there may be a plumbing leak near the air vent, a very handy tool to use is called a moisture meter. A moisture meter will detect very small amounts of moisture and you can check a large area very quickly.
Causes Of Black Dust Around Air Vents
If you have central heating, ventilation ducts, and air conditioning system installed in your home, youll likely notice black dust settling around your air supply and return openings especially if you dont clean these air vents and outlets on a regular basis.
Here are the possible causes of black dust surrounding air vents:
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Regular Filter Changes To Reduce Dust
Its important to change your filter on a regular basis I usually recommend replacing the HVAC filter monthly. I recently did a home inspection where there was mold growing on some of the air vents, and I noticed that the filter hasnt been changed in over a year!
People dont understand that dust is a food source for mold. Dust is mainly composed of dead skin cells which mold loves to eat. As the dust builds up on your air vent, and combined with the natural moisture from the air conditioned air sometimes mold takes hold and grows.
Mold In Air Vents: Symptoms To Watch For
Black mold in your air vents can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms and health problems. The symptoms may vary from person to person, and can also depend on the length of exposure and the amount of spores inhaled.
Common symptoms and health problems caused by black mold may include:
- Itchy, irritated eyes
- Vomiting and/or diarrhea
If you suspect that you or someone in your household has been exposed to black mold, its crucial to take swift action to protect your health and remove contamination. Consult a professional to have the mold removed in a safe, effective way and make sure to also consult an AC pro to prevent a future infestation.
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Remove Mold On Air Vents With Dawn Dish Soap
Turn off your AC unit. Remove the air vent grill and place it in a basin of warm soapy water for one hour. While it soaks, use a HEPA vacuum to clean the inside of the air vents. Use a rag soaked in soapy water to scrub the vent grill and air ducts clean. Allow everything to air dry thoroughly.
Got Mold In Air Ducts We Can Help
It can be disheartening to notice the first signs of mold in air ducts around your house. Youre naturally worried about health issues, structural damage and the costs of fixing it all.
Thankfully, while this situation might be new to you, it isnt to us.
Our team of expert mold professionals has seen it all, and we have the proper tools, resources, and knowledge to do it all. Whether you need an initial inspection, extensive mold removal or any step in between, youre covered. Were committed to quality, affordability, and integrity at every turn along the way.
Contact us today to learn more and let us restore your home and your peace of mind.
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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.
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.
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