Diagnosing The Mold Issue
If mold has infiltrated your duct system, one of the first signs will be a musty smell that spreads throughout the house. In this case, youll want to grab a flashlight and check for signs of mild in the ductwork.
The easiest way to do this is removing the air conditioning air filter. This will give you enough room to get your head up there and take a look. Be sure to wear eye protection and a respirator, as breathing in mold spores can create a health hazard.
If you dont see signs of mold with your naked eye, its a good idea to call in a professional to do some tests. Whether you choose to hire an air conditioning contractor or certified mold tester, the contractor will have the specialized equipment needed to make a safe diagnosis.
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.
Hvac Mold Removal: Search And Destroy
Visible mold and mildew isnt just an eyesore its also a spore factory. Like any living thing, mold reproduces, causing more problems the longer it grows unchecked. Porous surfaces, including stucco, plasterboard and wallpaper, are havens for mold. When possible, remove and replace them. If removal isnt practical, a mixture of household bleach and water is an effective mold killer. When using a bleach solution, follow all safety precautions and never mix it with other cleaning supplies.
Not all mold colonies are easily visible on walls and ceilings. Mold can also grow in damp attic insulation or under sinks where a slow leak gives the organisms a water supply. Inspect your home thoroughly for any areas in which moisture collects, including refrigerator drip pans, water heaters and insulation near ductwork that can trap condensation. Remove and replace insulation contaminated with mold.
You May Like: Clean Mold Off Shower Grout
Detergent And Baking Soda
Similar to our laundry detergent method, this is a little more heavy-duty because of the added baking soda. All you need is one tablespoon of laundry or dish detergent, half a tablespoon of baking soda and one cup of water. Increase these ratios as needed.
Should I Replace The Vents/ductwork
Just because the vents are moldy, theres no need to replace them. As long as structural integrity remains, simple cleaning is enough. If you have a central AC system and the vents are moldy, take a look at the ductwork. Finding mold here a well is not uncommon.
If mold exists within your ductwork, theres no need to worry about replacing that either.
In fact, with a flexible mop and the cleaning solution of your choice may be enough to deal with it. You should know that if the situation is bad enough, you can call professionals in for ductwork cleaning.
Read Also: Airborne Mold In House
What Causes Mold In Your Air Conditioning Vents
As long as theres moisture and the temperature is warm, molds will form in the air conditioning vents.
Here are the common causes of mold on AC vents.
Climate, Moisture & Humidity
The main ingredient for mold formation is water vapor. And, in a humid climate, theres usually moisture in the air, which gets trapped in walls. The condensation process then happens, causing mold to grow on the air conditioning vents.
Imagine air trapped in a house where theres poor ventilation. The moisture trapped in the walls will soon become stale since it cant escape, and in no time, there will be a musty odor.
The stale moisture then forms mold around the AC vent in the bathroom and other damp places.
Oversized AC Unit
If theres one thing we encourage as HVAC professionals, every homeowner should install a suitable AC unit for their space. Theres always the correct size for every room.
Installing an oversized AC unit in a small space encourages mold formation. Such AC will provide quick cooling but will turn off before removing the excess moisture from the house. This moisture will then cause mold in the air conditioning vents.
AC Is Being Run Too Cold
Low temperatures can also cause mold formation in the air conditioning vents. When this too cold air mixes with the rooms warmer moisture, condensation happens.
This moisture build-up, in return, causes mold to grow in the AC vents.
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.
Also Check: Does Vinegar Get Rid Of Black Mold
How To Remediate Mold In Hvac Systems
Before beginning remediation, you must find and eliminate the source of any excess moisture or water in the system. The next very important requirement is to shut off the HVAC system. You dont want a blower to suddenly come on during remediation efforts. Containment of the HVAC system is always a concern and should be established at the start of any mold removal process. The last thing you need is to allow the spread of any mold spores to unaffected areas or rooms.
When cleaning mold, there are many types of chemicals and cleaners that can be used. That said it could be very tricky, not to mention dangerous, attempting to accomplish this task. Professionals have several different mechanical means of cleaning including brushes, blowguns, air whips, and vacuums to dislodge mold inside of air ducts and then to push or pull the mold into specialized collection devices. They also know what type of antimicrobial or biocide chemicals can safely be introduced into an HVAC system for cleaning and sanitation purposes.
Prevent Future Mold Growth
There are several things you can do to stop mold from growing in the first place after you have cleaned your unit. First, you should leave your AC on at all times. Your AC does more than cool down the air. It also conditions the air by removing moisture, which also makes your home more comfortable. Leave your AC on a continuous cycle.
Itâs also highly recommended to get on a routine maintenance schedule. You should hire a professional to inspect your unit at least once a year to make sure everything works as it should. A Day & Night Air professional will also tell you if you have the early signs of mold growing. They will conduct deep maintenance and clean your unit to prevent mold from developing initially. This will save you a lot of hassle. Although you are certainly capable of cleaning a unit on your own, it helps to have a professional do it to stop the problem from coming back.
Additionally, you need to identify and stop any leaks as soon as they form. Mold requires moisture to develop, so a leak in the system will lead to mold growth quickly. Mold also needs stale air, so if you turn off your AC often, then mold has everything it needs to thrive.
Read Also: What Causes Mold On Bathroom Ceiling
Turn Off Your Ac To Prevent Further Spreading
Before cleaning your AC, you should first shut off the system. This will prevent mold spores from further circulating around your house. You need to unplug the system and visually inspect the unit to see if you have a mold problem. This will require you to grab a flashlight because mold may be further down the system. You need to be vigilant of the signs of mold, which can include streaks of green, black or brown stains. Occasionally, these stains will appear fuzzy. You also need to watch out for the development of mildew, which takes the form of white and powdery gray stains.
Get The Right Supplies
Before getting to work, you want to have everything you will need already on-hand. You do not want to be halfway through the job only to discover you need to rush to the store to grab something. The items you need include:
- Face mask
- Vacuum cleaner with attachments
Once you get everything, you need to make sure you clean your AC unit in an open space. You want good ventilation in the area, so open some nearby windows to get some air in the room.
Recommended Reading: Basement Mold Removal Diy
On Your Air Conditioners Evaporator Coil And Drain Pan
How mold grows here: The evaporator coil and drain pan inside of your air conditioner have both of the necessary ingredients for mold growth: moisture and food .
Moisture forms on the cold evaporator coil when warm air blows over it, just like how moisture forms on the outside of a cold glass of water on a hot summer day.
Split AC system with evaporator coil labeled as cold coils. Photo source: HowStuffWorks
The moisture on the coil then drips into the condensate drain pan, allowing the moisture to drain outside of your home or into your main sewer line.
Condensate drain line from evaporator coil.
During the whole process, dirt and mold spores from your homes air are also collecting on the coil and dripping into the drain pan.
Now the mold spores have a home, food and moisture to grow and thrive.
How to prevent mold growth here: First, check the air filter once a month and change it if its dirty. Keeping the filter clean allows it to catch some of the airborne dirt and dust, preventing your evaporator coil from getting too dirty. However, a typical fiberglass filter will not capture mold spores. You would need an air purifier for that.
Second, dont skip your annual air conditioner tune-up from a professional AC service technician. A proper tune-up includes cleaning the dirt and other contaminants from the evaporator coil and making sure the condensate drain line is clear.
Can Mold In The Ac System Make You Sick
Mold growth can be a scary problem for homeowners. It can wreak havoc on the house and also on your health. This is especially true for anyone who is sensitive to molds or has mold allergies. If the fungi is allowed to grow throughout the HVAC system, the ducts then carry spores into every vent in the house. With spores blown around, you and your family are constantly inhaling them.
This exposure can cause inflammation through your airways and lungs. Breathing it in can exacerbate respiratory problems, shortness of breath, skin irritation, allergies, and asthma symptoms. Common problems range from coughing and sneezing to bronchitis and allergic reactions. Some people notice rashes, itchiness, hives, a runny nose, watery eyes, headaches. Less common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. Some reactions can even be life-threatening.
Learn more about the health risks and conditions linked to the effect of black mold. And find out more on the topic of toxic mold with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention .
Also Check: What Causes Mold On Ceiling In Bathroom
Air Conditioner Cleaning Procedure
1. Start by removing the filter from the front grille. If it is a disposable type simply replace it with a new one. Other types are made in a plastic frame and can be cleaned and reused. To clean a reusable type lay it flat in the sink and sprinkle surface with laundry detergent. Then cover with about one inch of hot water. Just enough so the filter is submerged. Soak for 15 minutes. Remove from water and rinse with warm water. Hang up to dry while proceeding to next step.
2. Next, remove the front grille from the main body of the air conditioner. They usually pivot on 2 spring clips at the bottom. It is usually removed by pulling the grille gently forward while pushing it down at the same time. If there is resistance then look for hidden screws. Look near the top edge of the grille or behind the control knob door. Once removed place the grille aside until later.
3. Carefully remove metal cover of air conditioner to expose inner workings. Once all the screws are removed lift the cover straight up. Do not let it hit the other parts as it can have sharp edges.
This is where the old can comes in handy . Use it to keep track of all the screws you will be removing. An air conditioner will often use a number of different types and sizes of screws. Segregate them from each other or confusion will result when we start reassembly.
8. Wipe any dirt buildup from both fan blades using a soft rag. Do not bend blades. This would cause a vibration that would harm the motor.
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.
Recommended Reading: How To Clean Mold From Boat Seats
Monitoring Humidity Levels: How Does It Feel
Well for starters, your body has a decent built-in sense of the humidity in the room. Thermal comfort is the subjective feeling of too hot or too cold experienced by the body, and one of the key factors influencing this is the humidity in the space.
Think about it: on a humid day, it will feel uncomfortable at something like 80 degrees, whereas this is quite manageable just by avoiding the sun on less humid days.
So if the air in your home feels heavy, or wet, then this might be a first sign that you have a moisture problem. Of course, you should be on the lookout for obvious signs of high moisture content, as well. For example, in bathrooms, the relative humidity is going to tend to be much higher, thanks to showers and other plumbing fixtures that get used regularly. This is why its important to ventilate bathrooms regularly.
Also, if you have experienced any kind of water damage, either from a leaking roof or a leaking pipe, you should assume that mold will pop up unless you deal with the moisture swiftly.
Alright, all of that is pretty obvious:
- If it feels wet, then its probably wet enough for mold to grow
- Rooms with a lot of water activity are hot beds for mold growth
- Any water infiltration into the walls or ceiling is a red flag
How Do You Get The Musty Smell Out Of A Central Air Conditioner
HOW TO REMOVE ODOR FROM AIR CONDITIONER?
Also asked, how do you get the musty smell out of an air conditioner?
Fill a spray bottle approximately ¼ full of bleach and fill the rest with water. Spray directly into the area where the cool air blows out of the air conditioner. Saturate this area. Be sure to get plenty of the solution into the blower fan while turning it slowly.
Secondly, how do I get rid of the smell in my air conditioner? Therefore, it’s imperative to remove the cause of any odor from an air conditioner.
Combine one part bleach with three parts water in the bucket to deal with any mold or mildew.
Also asked, why does my central air conditioner smell musty?
Dirty sock syndrome is the foul, moldy smelling odor that comes from your air conditioner when you first turn it on. It is caused by the build up of mold and bacteria on your evaporator coil. Air Conditioning Filter How Dirt and Debris Can Affect Your Air Conditioning System.
How do you deodorize an air conditioner?
How to Deodorize an Air Conditioner
You May Like Also
You May Like: How To Treat Mold On Sheetrock