How To Remove Mold From Air Ducts
Mold, also known as mildew, is one of the most silently hazardous fungi in the world.
These can both cause a variety of health problems to animals and humans. Not only this, they spread at the speed of light and can even go unnoticed for months on end.
Unfortunately, these fungi can travel into your home through your front door or windows. They make themselves into all the nooks and crannies in your home and stay there until they get so problematic that you notice them.
But, by then its normally too late, theyve already done their damage.
In addition to this, mold can make its way into your air ducts, HVAC system, ductwork, and vents.
With this in mind, knowing how to identify and remove mold from air ducts is essential if you want to keep yourself and your family healthy.
Below are the answers to the most common questions regarding removing mold from air ducts.
How To Remove Mold From Air Conditioner Ducts
Removing black mold can be a challenge, and is very time-consuming. Generally, the process involves taking apart your AC system to vacuum and clean the system using powerful agents. The cleaning must be done thoroughly and correctly, or the mold will grow back, and could even spread to other areas of the house.
Weve summarized the basic steps below:
Step 1: Contact a certified mold inspector to confirm the substance is black mold. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money in the removal process.
Step 2: Examine the insulation around your air ducts. If the black mold in your air vents has spread to the insulation, it will need to be replaced.
Step 4: Clean and disinfect the ductwork using the proper tools and approved killing agents.
Step 5: Perhaps the most important part of the process is to find out what caused the growth in the first place. Otherwise, the black mold will continue to reappear even after you remove it.
Since the process can be complex, sensitive, time-consuming and toxic, its highly advisable to seek professional help if you have a problem with black mold. An experienced AC technician will have the tools and killing agents necessary to clean your air vents and prevent your ducts from being a breeding ground for this dangerous fungus. A professional will also be able to locate and fix the source of the problem, preventing the problem from happening in the future, saving you money and helping to keep your household healthy.
What Are Common Causes Of Mold Growth Inside Air Vents
Weve discussed what mold in your air vents looks like, but where does it come from?
Mold requires two things to grow: moisture and warmth. If your home has poor ventilation or if moisture becomes trapped in your walls and causes condensation, it doesnt take long for mold to form.
There are a few HVAC issues that could lead to these conditions. Lets explore a few of the most common ones.
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Baking Soda And Detergent
This approach is similar to your laundry detergent process, although it is a little more powerful due to the use of baking soda. One tablespoon of laundry or dish detergent, half a tablespoon of baking soda, and one cup of water are all you need. As required, increase these percentages.
How To Remove Mold From Air Conditioner
We dont recommend that homeowners attempt to clean a central air unit or ventilation . If, on an inspection of a small self-contained unit, you have decided to tackle it yourself, heres what youll need to do:
If youre intimidated by the above work, remember: hiring a mold removal expert is always a safe and sure-fire way of getting mold eradicated.
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Is Mold In My Air Vents A Health Hazard
The short answer is yes, very much so. Exposure to a mold infestation can cause respiratory problems that can lead to chronic coughing, sneezing, as well as nose and throat mucus.
In addition to the above, you may find that your eyes get very irritable, and your skin may start to swell and rash.
Others suffer from chronic fatigue when exposed to too much mold and there are also people that develop chronic headaches and migraines.
While these symptoms may seem very mild, an overexposure to mold can cause allergic reactions. These reactions can be life-threatening.
They include internal bleeding from the lungs and nose bleeds. You may suffer from nausea or even severe vomiting.
Duct Mold Removal And Mold Remediation In Air Ducts
The tough thing with mold in the ductwork is that you can’t just switch off the HVAC system, spot the mold in the ducts and scrub the areas with a wet brush or rag until it’s gone. Even if you repeat this process and dispose of the dirty water properly, as well as the rag to avoid reproduction, the mold will reappear after some time. Why? It’s not possible to remediate mold with DIY methods and household cleaners.
Only the physical removal of mold and its spores and causes through professional clean-up and remediation is a certain mold treatment in home air ducts. Call upon professional duct mold removal company like Dustless Duct to ensure mold will never come back in your home.
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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.
Next Steps Of How To Get Rid Of Mold In Air Ducts:
Once you have finished cleaning the visible mold, it is time to make sure that it never comes back! You need to look for EPA registered mold growth inhibitors for this process. These can successfully prevent mold from growing again after the clean-up. Without the application of inhibitors, the fungus is most likely to come back in the same area within a few weeks.
It sounds like a time-consuming task when it comes to the process of how to get rid of mold in air ducts and it surely is. You should be especially careful to dry the area after the cleaning. It is also a process that involves high health risks. Experts will always recommend that you leave the task of how to get rid of mold in air ducts to professionals who have the right equipment to ensure maximum safety to you and your family during the process.
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Keep The House Dry To Prevent Mold Spores
So, lets imagine youve identified a potential problem area in your home. It could be that the bathroom fan is not venting well, and the bathroom is staying moist for a long time after you shower.
Or maybe youve had some recent water damage.
In this case, you know youre creating a high-risk situation for mold growth, and getting the moisture out of the air should be your top priority. A few ways to do this might include:
- Help circulate the air using tower fans The issue might be that you have a small, moist space with little air movement, like an unvented bathroom. You can use portable fans of any kind of move the air out and help get it into equilibrium with the room its connected to. By dissipating the moisture, you can keep one area from getting too humid.
- Invest in a dehumidifer to pull moisture out of the room You may have a room in the house that is just prone to dampness, like a basement. You can focus your efforts on just this spot using a room dehumidifier, which can be found relatively inexpensive .
- Make sure any vent fans are operating correctly. You can check by taking a piece of toilet paper and holding it up to the vent while the fan is running. If it sticks thanks to the suction, then you have good flow. If not, then you should investigate further, or call a heating and cooling specialist to have a look at what might be the issue.
Using Detergent And Baking Soda
- Again, once the AC is turned off, unscrew the air vents and place them in the combined solution of half a tablespoon of baking soda, one tablespoon of detergent and one cup of water.
- While you let it sit for 15 minutes, using a HEPA vacuum, hoover the inside of the air vents.
- The same detergent and baking soda mixture can be used to clean the inside of the air vents.
- Once the 15 minutes are over, scrub off any remaining mildew or dirt on the air vents.
- Once the area is dried thoroughly, reattach the vent grill.
That being said, if you stick to some regular inspections and cleaning principles, you wont ever have to deal with mold ever again.
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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.
How To Prevent Mold In Air Conditioner
Fortunately, there are a few steps you can take to prevent mold from developing in your air conditioner:
- Reduce moisture. The easiest way to avoid moisture build-up in an AC unit is back when you purchase it. Look for an AC unit with humidity control. Many modern units vent water vapour with air. If you have a unit that is designed to collect water in a reservoir, empty it regularly.
- Avoid organic debris. In addition to water and air, mold needs organic matter to breed. Clean or replace your air conditioners filter regularly, and vacuum the interior to clear out any dust and debris. Dont give mold any food to live on!
- Keep unit running while on vacation. Mold tends to build up when the air conditioner is not running and the air is still. Keep your unit running, even when on vacation. To reduce energy consumption, you can set the target temperature higher so it runs less often, but dont shut it off altogether.
Unfortunately, air conditioners represent a particular problem area for mold, since they push the air and mold spores through the house and into the air you breathe. The risk of black mold in particular makes it important to be vigilant about mold in air conditioners and nip problems in the bud.
It may feel intimidating, but dont feel discouraged. Knowledge is power, and knowing to keep an eye out for mold in your air conditioner will help you keep your home healthy and happy.
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What Type Of Mold Grows In Air Conditioners
There are thousands of types of mold. Of these, the most common types of mold found in air conditioners and ductwork include:
- Aspergillus: a genus of mold fungus prone to triggering allergic reactions and illness in people with weak immune systems.
- Cladosporium: a very common genus of mold with a green to black appearance, often relatively innocuous though it can still trigger allergic reactions and worsen asthma.
- Stachybotrys chartarum: known as black mold or toxic mold, Stachybotrys chartarum is a particularly dangerous species of mold that produces poisonous mycotoxins.
Causes Of Mold Growth In Acs
Mold is a type of fungus. Like all living organisms, fungi require three things to grow: oxygen, water and organic matter. Since air conditioners circulate air and the cooling coils tend to create condensation, the first two criteria for mold growth are bound to be present in an air conditioner.
Air conditioners and ductwork also provide the dark spaces where mold can thrive. Add some organic materialwhich can simply be dust and other debrisand you have all the conditions for mold to grow.
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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.
Symptoms Of Mold In Air Ducts
Black mold can cause negative health effects if its in your home. It can affect the respiratory system and cause uncomfortable irritation. If you have a black mold infestation in your air vents, you and other residents will likely experience some physical symptoms. Some physical signs to watch for in you and your family include:
- Irritated feelings in eyes, nose, and/or throat. Symptoms may get worse when AC is turned on.
- Persistent headache whenever you are home, but goes away when you go outside. If anyone in your household is experiencing this symptom, you could have black mold in your HVAC.
- Allergy symptoms like runny nose, itchy eyes, or rashes.
- Nausea, fatigue, or dizziness whenever you are inside the home.
If you, your family, or anyone that frequents your home is experiencing these symptoms you could have mold in your HVAC system. Please contact a professional to check the vents.
Also read our in-depth article on: Black mold symptoms.
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Is Mold On Air Conditioning Vents Dangerous
Mold present on air conditioning vents is unlikely dangerous because the material is usually metal or plastic, which is not porous. Because the vent itself is non-porous, the mold will be on the surface of the register grill only and not present danger.
Cleaning Black Mold From Air Conditioning Vents
Because vents are not porous, black mold in which the scientific term is Stachybotrys does not grow on vents. The mold that may be present on a vent is not generally toxic but can cause an allergic-type reaction such as coughing or sneezing.
However, just because mold is not dangerous when present on the vents, it does not mean mold inside of the vents cant cause occupants in the home harm.