Air Conditioning Service And Moldy HVAC Systems
Mold is a common problem in air conditioning systems, but fortunately it can be easily solved through proper air conditioning service.
The first thing you need to do if you suspect mold in your HVAC system is look for obvious signs, such as a strong mildew smell or visible mold. The places you want to check for signs of mold include the cooling coils, drop pans, intake vents, and air ducts.
If you can’t see any signs of mold, but you smell a definite odor of mold, you should call an air conditioning service professional to inspect the system. Mold in any part of your air conditioning system should be dealt with immediately. Failing to remove the source of mold can lead to mold spores spreading throughout your house as the system circulates air. Do not run your system if mold is clearly present, as this can be harmful to your health. Prompt air conditioning service is important.
Causes of mold in an A/C system
The two main causes of mold in an A/C system are organic material and condensation in the system. Condensation happens when a part of your A/C system gets colder than the surrounding air, and happens especially when the surrounding air is humid and warm. For example, if you have a humid basement with air ducts running through it, the water vapor in the room will condense on the air ducts as they run. If the humidity is low enough in the room, the water can quickly evaporate again once the A/C stops running. However, if the humidity is high enough, then the water will stay in liquid form even when the A/C has stopped running. That liquid water leads to a mold problem.
A/C systems tend to collect dust, both in the air ducts and within the unit itself. Dust is made up of all kinds of organic matter, from pollen to dead skin cells, which make a perfect food source for mold. When this matter is combined with a moist environment, it makes a perfect place for mold to grow.
Air conditioning service and mold
Removing mold that is distributed throughout an A/C system can be a huge undertaking. Additionally, mold can have dangerous health consequences because the spores can easily spread throughout your home. If you have a large amount of mold in your system, it’s best to call an air conditioning service or mold removal professional. For small removing small areas of mold, use the following steps.
Steps for air conditioning service mold removal:
- Choose a cleaning solution. For this, the EPA recommends that you use a mixture of household detergent and water. You can also use one of the following:
- Commercial mold removal product (always follow manufacturer’s instructions on the label).
- Baking Soda -Detergent Solution (1/2 cup baking soda, 1 cup water, 1 Tbsp mild liquid detergent).
- Borax Solution (1 gallon of water to 1 cup of borax, or 1 part borax to 16 parts water).
- Put on protective clothing. Depending on the type of cleaning solution that you use, you will want to take some safety measures to protect yourself form the chemicals and mold. We recommend you wear a respirator or air mask to protect yourself from breathing mold spores, nitrile or rubber gloves, and safety goggles that do not have air vents. Proper ventilation is important as well.
- Apply the cleaning solution. Apply the chosen cleaning solution generously with a rag or spray bottle. Let the solution site for a few minutes, and then scrub the area with a rag or scrub pad for several minutes. Then use a rag or towel to wipe off the area.
- Let dry and clean up. After the mold has been removed, dispose of anything that has been in contact with the hold, or clean it with a proper fungicide or detergent. Let the area dry completely. If you live in an area with high humidity, you may want to use a dehumidifier.
If mold recurs after you clean it up, you should talk to an air conditioning service professional about your options for a complete cleaning of your A/C system.