How To Avoid Mold in Your Air Conditioning Unit
Mold is everywhere but especially in Florida homes. Mold isn’t fun for anyone. It’s a fungus that is a decomposer of dead organic materials. Mold will grow in a damp area with temperatures between 40 degrees and 100 degrees F. It cannot grow without water and it feeds off its food source, oxygen. Mold will typically grow on wood materials, but can also grow on the organic dirt/dust of inorganic material such as concrete, plastic, glass and metal. Thus, making your HVAC unit and ventilation system prime real estate for mold to flourish.
Luckily, there are ways of preventing mold. Controlling the moisture of a home or building can be the best way to prevent mold from growing. Buildings like HVAC units are both composed materials that mold need in order to grow.The areas that contain the most moisture are the kitchen and the bathroom. Keep these places dry by using the exhaust fan. When doing laundry, make sure the air from the dryer exhausts from the house. You also want to make sure the humidity in your house or building is not above 60%, so it would be wise not to use a humidifier. Remembering to keep all the areas of your house dry at all times is a necessity in combating mold. These helpful tips can greatly reduce the chances of mold to grow in your home.
You see mold now what do you do? It’s very important to evaluate the area. Determining what type of mold is important. To get an idea of what you are dealing with you can test the mold. Mold test’s can be purchased at a local hardware store and are relativley inexpensive. A small area of mold growing can normally be taken care of failry easily. There are a few things you can do. Small areas can be cleaned with household soap and water. White vinegar or Tea Tree oil has also been shown to lift mold. It’s important to rinse thoroughly and let the area dry. Unfortunatley, in most cases if you see mold in one area it’s more than likely invading other areas as well. If the area is on a wall or ceiling, it’s important to first determine where the moisture is coming from so you can prevent it from occurring again.
Investing in a dehumidifier is a great way to keep moisture low in areas that are prone to mold. Mini dehumidifiers for one room use can be purchased at your local hardware store for under $100.00. Larger ones can cost more, but is well worth it to keep your family breathing clean air and to prevent mold growth.
Do you smell a musty odor coming out of your air ducts? Maybe you see a small discoloration or see strange discoloration on your air vents? This is more than likely signs of active mold. There are multiple reasons why we often find mold in air conditioning units and air ducts. In Florida, we see a lot of warm and hot humid air. When we cool the air we are also removing moisture from it. If your unit is working properly you should notice that water is consistently draining into the drain pan or draining through the pipe to the outside. If the pipe becomes clogged and your not noticing drainage you could have a problem with the humidity level in your home. It is not uncommon for an air conditioning system to not remove all the humidity from the air. When you live in a hot climate like Florida at times the air conditioning system simply cannot keep up with the demand. This allows humidity levels to become high in the home, thus needing an extra source of dehumidification.
We always recommend routine maintenance, this becomes especially important with keeping mold at bay. When the AC coil or fan becomes dirty or filled with debris it is a prime habitat for mold to grow.Cladosporium is the most common type of mold identified within the HVAC unit. Cladosporium can spread very quickly and produces a musty odor. Cladosporium has been associated with many allergies. Infections of the eyes, skin, and sinuses can ocurr. In severe cases infections in the brain can occur. Young persons, the elderly and people that are immune compromised are at greater risk.
If it is a large area in your house or building that contains mold, then it is wise to call an expert. If you see mold growth on your HVAC register it more than likely means there’s a larger hidden moisture problem. Mold can spread very fast, the occasion where mold is only a problem within the ac unit itself is very rare. The best plan of action if you suspect you have a problem with mold growth in your HVAC unit is to contact a professional. The Mold Environmental Protection Agency recommends that you call a professional if you suspect that you have mold in your air conditioning unit.
ACJ’s Heating & Air Inc. is proud to offer service to Pasco, Hernando, Pinellas, Hillsborough, Citrus, Sumter, Lake, Manatee, and Marion Counties. Call us today for a free estimate!