Regularly changing your filters is one of the most important steps you can take to prevent dust and dirt from clogging your air vents. Irritation to mucus membranes of the throat and nose. Over time, your ac unit will collect a large amount of dust and dirt from inside and outside your home, which mold can feed on. Mold in air conditioning units is mostly the result of not cleaning the system or having regular maintenance done on it. Step 4: Clean and disinfect the ductwork using the proper tools and approved killing agents. Depending on the type of filter you have and the size of your family, you should change your air filters every 30 to 60 days. At least twice a year, you should have a professional technician perform maintenance and cleaning on your air ducts. For example, if you usually set the temperature to 75 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home, set it 10 degrees warmer to 85 degrees Fahrenheit before you leave. Further spores will be released and become airborne. As an HVAC service tech and owner, I open indoor air handlers often for repairs and maintenance. Your air conditioner is full of moisture and airborne mould spores. You can improve circulation in your home by cracking open windows, opening doors between closets and placing furniture away from your walls. Since the process can be complex, sensitive, time-consuming and toxic, it’s highly advisable to seek professional help if you have a problem with black mold. Mold produces chemicals called microbial volatile organic compounds that give off a characteristic musty odor. If you address seemingly small problems such as these early, you may be able to prevent them from growing into more costly, more serious concerns like black mold infestation. The types of substances this type of mold feeds off of include things such as wood and cotton. Air conditioner vents can be breeding grounds for black mold. You might be dealing with black mold. So, inevitably, the airborne spores and moisture combine. Sprinkle a thin layer of powdered laundry detergent on the filter and cover it with hot water. RELATED: The Dark, Dirty Truth About Household Mold (And How to Rid Yourself of It). Alternately, you could call a mold remediation specialist to inspect the unit to see if it can be professionally cleaned, but the consultation could cost as much as purchasing a new air conditioner. You’re sneezing and coughing. The black dust may be patchy and difficult to wipe off. Contact ABC to have a service specialist come out and make sure your AC unit is healthy enough to keep you cool. I know it’s unhealthy to breathe air that contains mold spores but I’d rather not buy a new AC if I can remedy the problem myself. Let’s start by identifying the enemy: black mold. It will also explain how, preventative maintenance from an AC professional. You can typically identify black mold by its color. Bottom line: It’s unhealthy to breathe air contaminated with mold spores, so if you can’t effectively clean the unit, it should be replaced. If mold is build up in the ducts or mold on Styrofoam insulation, spray Tilex on the moldy spots. With years of experience and licensed professionals. Mold in your car’s AC is typically hidden deep inside the dashboard, which makes it difficult to spot during the pre-purchase inspection of the vehicle. There are a few tactics you can use to stopping black mold from growing in your air ducts and home. Remove the grille and the filter from the front of the unit. Lower levels of humidity can cause excessive dryness and other health concerns, while higher levels promote mold growth and can make your home hot and uncomfortable. If you smell that, there is mold somewhere in your home. If your home is consistently humid, mold growth may be a problem in more than just your air ducts. On your air conditioner’s evaporator coil and drain pan Black mold in your air vents can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms and health problems. Grab a flashlight and inspect the inside of the unit for the signs of mold growth, which may appear as streaks or clusters of brown, black, or greenish stains, some of which may appear fuzzy. People with mold allergies may have more severe reactions. Visible heavy mold indicates that more mold is flourishing in places you cannot see or easily reach, such as within the fan motor casing. This is a common practice when people go on vacation, but when the weather is warm and humid, mold is more likely to get a foothold in the AC unit. Spray the filter that’s been soaking in the sink with the hose to remove all debris. Q: There’s been a mysterious, slightly moldy smell in my home all summer, and this morning, when our window air conditioner kicked on, I noticed that the odor unmistakably came from the unit. If you notice black dust around your air vents, this could be a sign of black mold growing within. Condensation forms in the coils and ducts as cool air circulates through the system, creating a habitat for moisture-loving mold. In North Florida I find mold tends to grow inside these air conditioner areas. Black mold has a distinctive unpleasant, musty smell. Along with more obvious things like cigarette smoke, dust mites and pet allergens, one of the greatest factors to influence indoor air quality is mould. MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon – Screwdriver – Wet/dry vacuum with a nozzle attachment – Commercial AC coil cleaner –  Garden hose – Dish soap – Bleach – Large plastic bucket – Scrubbing sponge. When debris is allowed to build up in your air vents, this promotes the accumulation of spores. Because of this, the most common places you find black mold include walls, carpeting, insulation, furniture and ceilings. If air vents haven’t been professionally cleaned in a while, there will be plenty of dust for black mold to feed on. Unfortunately for homeowners, black mold also loves air vents, where spores are naturally circulated. If there is mold on the air conditioner coils, mold spores can easily spread through the ducts in your ventilation system. An AC professional will also be able to spot and fix any problems before they lead to mold growth in the first place. The truth is, this type of toxic mold is uncommon in air ducts that are regularly cleaned and maintained by professionals. If you have a pet, you should change your filters more frequently. 3. RELATED: 14 Surprising Places Where Mold Hides in the Home. If it’s filled with heavy mold growth, indicated by mold and mildew deposits that cover one-third or more of the surface area of the case and the internal workings, it’s probably time to replace the unit (see below for the problems associated with heavy mold growth). Remove water-damaged rugs from your home immediately. If your air-conditioning system contains mold, act as soon as possible to reduce the risk of negative health outcomes. Once comfortably at home in your air conditioner, a mould spore will reproduce. What’s an even better solution to stopping black mold? Most systems are very straightforward. With years of experience and licensed professionals, ABC Home & Commercial Services can provide proactive care for your air ducts and prevent black mold from ever rearing its ugly head in your home. can prevent black mold from ever coming into your duct system to begin with. I often find mold on the exterior of air conditioning systems more often than the interior. This is the best way to remove mold from air conditioner ducts – the passageways that cycle air from indoors throughout the device and back into your room – and those on the outside that take away heat. A warm, humid environment has the ideal conditions for mold to form. Remove the air filter. Your eyes are itchy and watery. If the black mold in your air vents has spread to the insulation, it will need to be replaced. Mold grows in ductwork when two things are present: moisture and warm temperatures. Otherwise, you could end up wasting a lot of time and money in the removal process. When your air conditioning unit is at rest, it’s the perfect petri dish for a wayward mould spore to grow on. Never Stop the Air Conditioner. Clean and disinfect the ductwork using the proper tools and approved killing agents. The presence of dust in the unit helps mold spores adhere and grow, so make it a practice to remove the grille and filter every few weeks and vacuum the interior of the unit to keep dust from settling. Common symptoms and health problems caused by black mold may include: If you suspect that you or someone in your household has been exposed to black mold, it’s crucial to take swift action to protect your health and remove contamination. With some easy cleaning and general maintenance, you can take care of most mold problems in your AC unit. My customers are often shocked to see it and want it removed. Take off the front body grille of your unit. Mold spores can cause a variety of health complications. Some individuals may develop asthma after prolonged exposure to mold. If you find just a few traces of mold on the hard surfaces inside the unit, proceed with cleaning. 2. The spores of black mold can cause a variety of undesirable symptoms and health problems when inhaled or ingested by humans. The air conditioning unit as a place for mold to grow is even more dangerous because it is constantly blowing cold air out of it and spreading those spores all over. But sometimes, harmful mold lurks in a place you can’t see: inside your air vents. Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is a species of mold or fungi. It will appear around the home as a slimy, dark greenish-black or gray substance. Otherwise, the black mold will continue to reappear even after you remove it. Glenda Taylor, Bob Vila, 14 Surprising Places Where Mold Hides in the Home, The Dark, Dirty Truth About Household Mold (And How to Rid Yourself of It), 11 Indoor Gardening Projects Absolutely Anyone Can Do, Prevent Runaway Mold in Your Vacation Home with Innovative HVAC, 15 Little Signs Your House Has a Big Problem, 9 Bad Habits That Are Killing Your Appliances, 5 Overlooked Ways to Cool Down a Hot Room. air duct checkup, repair and cleaning to us. More times than not, I find mold. It also involves the condensation and evaporation of moisture. Mold will grow where there is moisture, such as around leaks in roofs, windows, or … Let it … You can typically identify black mold by its color. The outside of ducts more often than inside. When the furnace or air conditioning kicks on, the mold-laden air ducts can distribute mold spores throughout the home. It will also explain how preventative maintenance from an AC professional can prevent black mold from ever coming into your duct system to begin with. The simplest way to monitor the humidity levels in your home is to purchase a humidity sensor. 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. Mold is common in environments that have Dirt, Dampness, and Darkness. Allow the unit to air-dry completely, which could take up to 24 hours, before reassembling the unit and reinstalling it in your window. Musty Odors. It’s likely that mold developed in the unit over the winter and you didn’t notice it until you turned on your AC unit this summer. Generally, air conditioners are not designed to make you sick but if you do not have it cleaned regularly it will collect dust and dirt and all kinds of organic matter such as dead skin cells, DNA and pollen, all of which can make your air conditioner a perfect medium for mould to … Many other molds are green or grey, but black mold tends to be a dark greenish black or gray color. Eliminate sources of dampness in basements, such as pipe leaks or groundwater seepage. You should clean and repair your gutters routinely, and look out for wet spots after rainfall that could be a sign of a problem. Fill a plastic bucket with a few gallons of hot water and about 1/2 cup of household bleach. And you’re right to be concerned about the health issues this can cause: Mold spores produce allergens that can lead to sore throats, headaches, and various respiratory symptoms. In these cases, good cold air is not necessarily good healthy air. 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