Tuesday, May 10, 2022

What Does Black Mold Look Like In Air Vents

How Do You Get Rid Of Black Dust Around Air Vents

Do You Have This IN Your Vents? Mold in AC Vent
  • Prevention
  • Air vents ought to be clean for the air in your house to be pure and safe. But when you see black dust settling around air vents, something is definitely wrong. What could be the cause and how can you get rid of the black particles from the air ducts?

    Black dust around air vents can be mold, soot, or dust that combines with moisture to form moldy stuff on air conditioner vents. To remove the black dust, wipe the air vents with a piece of cloth soaked in a vinegar solution and then reduce the dust and humidity in your house.

    How To Tell If There Is Mold In My Air Ducts

    The easiest way to tell if there is mold in your air ducts and air vents is to look. Most often, if there is mold growing, youll be able to see visible spores on or around the vent. They can grow on the metal of the vent itself, or in the roof, floor, or wall that it sits on. To be sure, you should pull the vent cover off and check underneath it as well to ensure that mold isnt growing in this dark space. If you see mold, you should get a flashlight and look further into the vent to see if the colony has expanded further into your ducts.

    Another way to tell if there is mold growing in your air ducts is to smell. If there is a large amount of mold growing, you should be able to detect a musty odor coming from the vent. Since mold is airborne, if a colony is growing, it will be spread through the air.

    What Not To Use Bleach

    The goal of mold or mildew cleaning is not to kill it, or even to disinfect a surface or material, but rather to remove it from a surface. Think of mold and mildew more like dirt. If you had a wall with dirt on it, would you simply spray it with bleach and consider it cleaned? Of course not.

    Bleach is a combination of chemicals used to kill bacteria and whiten clothes, floors, and walls. Bleach contains sodium hypochlorite which is toxic to bacteria, fish, and human beings. In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency discourages the use of bleach and biocides for mold cleaning.

    Of course, there are more reasons to avoid bleach. Bleach is designed to kill bacteria, and will not completely remove a mold or mildew problem. Molds and mildew are fungi and they can, and will, grow back after bleaching.

    Read Also: How To Remove Mold From Asphalt Shingles

    How To Prevent Mold In My Air Vents

    The best way to prevent mold in your air ducts or vents is to keep moisture from building up. Investing in a dehumidifier is a good way to do this. It will pull moisture from the air and keep it from condensing in your vents and ducts. In addition, annual maintenance of your duct system and a professional inspection and cleaning can help prevent mold from growing.

    Is Black Mold On Air Conditioning Vents Dangerous

    What Causes Mold In Ductwork?

    nfsphoto/Bigstock.com

    Remember when we were kids and couldnt wait to grow up? Today, you probably realize that things are a bit more complicated than what you imagined in grade school. As an adult, you likely enjoy many aspects of your life, but you also recognize that theres a lot more involved than just being able to set your own bedtime!

    As a homeowner , there are more things to manage than you might have realized when you signed on the dotted line, including overseeing whether your HVAC unit is running optimally. When things go wrong, it can have an impact on your familys level of comfort, health, and finances.

    For this reason, its best to establish a routine maintenance plan so that any potential problems can be identified and addressed as soon as possible. One unpleasant issue that regular maintenance might reveal is the appearance of black mold in your ventilation system. This is one problem you definitely dont want to ignore!

    What is Black Mold?

    RioPlatano/Bigstock.com

    Youve probably heard the term black mold, but many probably dont fully understand what it is. Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is a greenish-black mold that grows on materials such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, lint, and dust when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding.

    How to Spot Black Mold

    Aaron Amat/Bigstock.com

    Health Impact of Black Mold

    • Difficulty breathing
    • Nausea
    • Vomiting and/or diarrhea

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    What Causes Black Mold In Ac Ducts

    Mold grows in ductwork when two things are present: moisture and warm temperatures. A warm, humid environment has the ideal conditions for mold to form. A humid climate along with poor ventilation, or anything that traps moisture in your walls and causes condensation, can lead to mold in air ducts.

    Signs Of Mold In Air Vents

    In most cases, youll feel mold in your vents before you actually see it. Breathing in the contaminated air can result in a range of physical symptoms, which can vary from person to person. The most common red flags include:

    • Itchy and irritated eyes
    • Impaired concentration

    In addition to these health concerns, you might also smell the mold itself.

    Is there a persistent, musty odor present in your home that you only notice when the A/C is running? If so, it could point to the presence of mold nearby.

    There are many behind-the-scenes issues that could lead to mold in your air vents. Sometimes, it develops in the aftermath of a flood. Other times, it can signal an operational problem with your HVAC system. Either way, its important to address it as soon as possible to avoid further complications.

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    The Dangers Of Mold In Your Air Conditioner

    If mold is growing in your house, it can release spores that can be easily inhaled. According to the CDC, molds can cause nasal stuffiness, throat irritation, coughing or wheezing, eye irritation, or, in some cases, skin irritation. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Immune-compromised people and people with chronic lung illnesses, such as obstructive lung disease, may get serious infections in their lungs when they are exposed to mold.

    Mold growing in an AC unit is not necessarily more dangerous than mold growing elsewhere in your house. However, the function of an air conditioner is to spread cool air throughout a room, and the purpose of the HVAC ducts is to distribute air throughout the house. If they become contaminated with mold, they will efficiently distribute mold spores across an entire room or the entire house. If the concentration of mold spores is high enough, you will have a mold problem everywhere, rather than in just one location, and you will be inhaling mold spores in every room, even while you sleep.

    Mold In Air Ducts And Its Signs

    How To Inspect Ducts For Mold

    Black mold everywhere, even in air ducts, is the most visible among the other types of mold. How do we notice the signs, so we can do something more and faster about it?

    Some types of mildew and mold can be seen because of their discoloration and smell. If your nose is sensitive, you will smell it right away. It is musty and earthy, like a mixture of rotting leaves and dirt.

    In some cases, the mold does not leave any specific odour. This is why you are often late to find out until you get sick for no clear reasons. Before you start sneezing or coughing, but you have no idea why, check out the air conditioning ducts. If there is a slight change in the colour of the ACs ducts, then perhaps the colony of mold has already invested that area.

    Of course, once you have discovered the signs of the black mold in air ducts, then it is time to do some seriously major cleaning up. Because if you do not, then be ready for the side effects of black mold in air ducts.

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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.

    How Do I Get Rid Of Mold In My Air Conditioner

    Cleaning up mold can be difficult, messy, and the process of cleaning mold out of an air conditioner is dependent on the type of unit. Car AC units, window units, and central AC units differ greatly regarding the resources needed to eradicate them of mold. Regardless of what you are cleaning, the area where you perform the clean-up should be well-ventilated, and you should wear non-porous gloves and a face mask with goggles, especially if you are sensitive to mold. Mold can be wiped up with a household cleaner and a cloth or sponge. Bleach is not needed to remove mold. If mold has grown on a porous surface such as wood, plaster, carpet or upholstery, you will probably not be able to get rid of all the mold. The moldy item or section will need to removed, thrown away and replaced.

    Window unit: By the time you see small mold spots forming on the air direction vanes or grate of your window air conditioner, it is probably too late. The mold you see is just the tip of the iceberg. You can disassemble the unit and try to clean mold from the internal air ducts, coils, evaporators and other parts, but there is always a chance you will miss some and the mold will simply grow back. A moldy window unit likely needs to be replaced.

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    Know When To Clean And When To Call

    Its easy to take care of mold and mildew as a homeowner, but its also a good idea to know when to call in the pros. You should be able to take care of mildew yourself, but if it keeps coming back, or is causing health problems for your family, you may want to call in the pros. It might just be mold, not mildew.

    Mold is great at hiding in hard to detect locations such as in drywall, under sinks, and in carpet. If the area of mold covers more than about 10 square feet, there is a good chance the mold problem is more than an isolated issue. If you smell a musty odor in your home you cant identify, or have health problems associated with mold, its time to call in the professionals.

    To learn more about what mold removal really looks like check out our post: Home Mold Remediation.

    Especially if you dont live in our service area, check out our post: How to Choose the Best Black Mold Removal Company. We help you know all the questions to ask and all the answers!

    Can Mold Grow In Air Ducts

    Black mold vent first view

    The answer to the question above is yes, it is possible. Mold can grow in air ducts when the ductwork has moisture in it. On hot days, cool air that flows through the vents will cause the moisture in the air to condense inside the vent. Because of its presence, then mold starts to grow.

    Mold spores can be spread through the air, so it is no wonder that some can also grow and get stuck in air ducts. As long as the environment is warm and moist, then this condition is always a possibility.

    How can we tell whether the mold exists in air ducts or not?

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    Diy Vs Professional Mold Removal

    Mildew is usually easy to remove and is easily a DIY project. Mold however is a different story. You may wonder if professional help is really necessary. Customers often ask us, Can I clean the mold myself or do I need a professional? Our answer depends several factors including:

    • how extensive the mold problem is
    • what building materials, furnishings, and belongings are affected
    • where the mold is located
    • whether or not you mind being in confined spaces such as your crawlspace, basement, or attic

    If youre familiar with our blog, you know that the first thing to do when cleaning mold is to fix the moisture problem that led to the mold growth. Until you fix the moisture problem, mold will continue to grow and spread.

    Mold is great at hiding in hard to detect locations such as in drywall and insulation. If the area of mold covers more than about 10 square feet, there is a good chance the mold problem is more than an isolated issue. Its time to call in the professionals when you smell a musty odor in your home you cant identify, or have health problems associated with mold.

    If the area of mold is less than 10 square feet, you may be able to handle it yourself. To get all the details check out our post: Cleaning Mold: DIY vs. Professional.

    Kill Black Mold In Airconditioning Vents Using A Ozone Machine

    If you are using an ozone machine to kill mold, you will also want to plan on leaving the home since the ozone can cause respiratory distress. Removing the mold from the vents is important, however, since the long term effects of mold exposure can be dangerous, especially for infants, the elderly and those with compromised immune systems.

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    How Mold Grows In Air Conditioners

    Mold spores are everywhere. Unfortunately, it is impossible to get rid of all the mold spores in your house, and even if you did, more would come in every time you opened a door or window. When spores grow into mold, more spores are released, and these higher concentrations of spores are what cause the health problems associated with mold. Thus, the key is to prevent the mold from growing in the first place.

    Mold needs two things in order to grow: moisture and an organic food source. Moisture can come from high humidity, or a leak or spill that is not cleaned up properly. Condenser and evaporator coils are the main contributors to condensation, and therefore have potential for water leakage if not properly drained. The food source can be the surface the mold is growing on, like wood or carpet, or organic particles found in dust, if there is enough of it.

    Under most circumstances, air conditioners and HVAC ducts are not hospitable places for mold to grow. Sheet metal ducts and styrofoam channels inside window units do not offer mold a food source. However, dust often collects in these places, which can allow mold to grow.

    Got Mold In Air Ducts We Can Help

    Mold in your air conditioner how to identify

    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.

    Also Check: What To Do When You Find Mold In Your Walls

    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:

    • Aspergillus
    • Fusarium
    • Alternaria
    • ADHD
    • 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.

    Can Black Mold Spread From House To House

    Yes. If you have had mold in your old house and youre moving into another space, it is possible to cross contaminate this new environment.

    Because mold spores are not visible to the naked eye, it is hard to tell which surfaces are contaminated. Therefore, the mold has to be completely cleaned before you renovate or move to a new home.

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    Signs Of Black Mold In Air Vents

    The problem with black mold in air vents is that the signs are not just physical. You will experience a range of symptoms and most often, they are likely to affect your physical health as well. For a better understanding, we have classified the symptoms into three categories visible, invisible, and health symptoms.

    Air Duct Sanitizing From Superior Air Duct Cleaning

    Is the debris (mold? no clue!) on/in this vent normal ...

    After cleaning your air ducts thoroughly, Superior Air Duct Cleaning offers an air duct sanitizing service to make sure your HVAC system stays clear. Using a special antimicrobial treatment, we sanitize and deodorize your ducts to eliminate bacteria and mold. Contact our team or call today for a free quote or more information.

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