How Can I Tell If There Is Mold In My Air Ducts?
Everyone is familiar with what mold looks like on walls and ceilings. Its presence is instantly recognizable. But how do you know if there is mold growing in your air ducts or AC unit?
Odor - You are likely to smell mold before you see it. Do you notice a musty odor only when your AC unit is in operation? It can indicate mold in your ductwork. Mold and mildew also produce a wet, stale, or rotten odor, so be alert for those too.
Allergic Reaction - Mold causes allergic reactions in many people and pets. If someone in your household exhibits chronic signs of nausea, headaches, sneezing, itchy nose, or sore throat, you could have mold in your air ducts.
How To Get Rid Of Mold In Air Ducts And AC Units?
The problem is mold spores. They are invisible to the naked eye and produce mold growth. Smaller than grains of pollen, spores are not filtered through your nose as larger air debris is and get ingested into your respiratory system. Thus, when mold spores have settled in your ductwork, the heating or cooling system blows them throughout your home.
Therefore, scrubbing away patches of the mold with ordinary cleaners will not solve the problem. Household cleaning only removes some mold. The invisible spores remain, float around in the air, and ultimately settle on the ductwork, walls, or ceilings to produce new mold patches. And so the cycle continues.
What about cleaning with a vinegar or bleach solution? This is a popular misconception. A vinegar/water or bleach/water mix is sometimes a good treatment for tiny patches in areas like your bathroom, but we don’t recommend it for your ductwork or AC unit.
You won't be able to reach all affected areas or kill all the mold. And the unpleasant smell of vinegar or bleach will waft through your home when you use your heating or cooling system.
AZ Total Home 3-Step Process to Clean Mold from Air Ducts
1. Laboratory-verified mold testing.
AZ Total Home Restoration provides mold testing to determine the type and location of the mold, and the condition of air quality in your home.
2. Identify the cause of mold growth.
Mold forms when there are two factors present - moisture and warm temperatures. A warm and humid environment in your ductwork provides the ideal conditions for mold to grow. Poor ventilation or anything else that traps moisture leads to mold growth in your air ducts, which can spread to the insulation.
Leaks - Leaks allow warm air into your ducts. When this warm air meets cooler air, moisture forms, which can lead to mold.
Oversized AC Unit - Another cause of mold is installing an oversized AC unit. Larger air conditioners cool down small spaces too quickly. They shut themselves down before they have dehumidified the air. This leads to mold growth.
Low Temperature Setting - Setting your AC on too low a temperature can also lead to mold. It occurs when the warm air in the room hits the cooler air on the vents, creating a temperature difference between your vents and inside the ductwork.
3. Clean and sanitize air ducts.
AZ Total Home Restoration removes mold from your air ducts with powerful cleaners and disinfectants, such as the botanical Benefect product line. It is dangerous work, so we also use specialized mold remediation equipment and protective gear.
How to Prevent Mold In My Ductwork
By the time you notice visible mold on your walls, ceilings, or other mold-prone areas of your home, the spores have already invaded air quality and reproduced.
Here are some tips that either help prevent mold in air ducts, or maintain them after a completed mold removal project.
- Add a HEPA filter to your AC unit and replace it regularly.
- An annual inspection by a professional HVAC service company.
- Use a dehumidifier to remove excess moisture from the air.
- Clean your home frequently to reduce dust. Use a HEPA filter on your vacuum cleaner.
- Insulate ducts to prevent condensation.
- Clean the AC unit drip pans often.
- Inspect the coils, vents, drip pans, and ducts of your AC unit for mold growth. Where there is some, there is probably more. In this case, contact ATH for a free assessment.
Also, cover your vents with plastic whenever you take on a remodeling or renovation project that creates a lot of dust.
If you suspect mold in air ducts or your AC unit, contact ATH for a free consultation.