Your A/C may be making you sick. HVAC systems can provide the perfect environment for mold to grow. Unfortunately, this common problem for homes can cause health problems for homeowners. It also has the power to lower a home’s value.
Learn more about what causes mold in an air conditioning system and how to spot it. Plus, we’ve provided some tips from the pros on how to prevent mold growth and get rid of this pesky invader.
How Does Mold Get into HVAC Systems?
Any environment that is affected by moisture can be prone to mold growth. The summertime is humid. Plus, vapor develops in the ductwork as the cold air runs through warm ducts. Whenever the heating, ventilation and air conditioning system isn’t running, water droplets can collect in the air handler or ducts. Instead of evaporating, the water inside the system accumulates and gets warmer. This becomes the perfect place for spores to grow. Then, built-up dust, skin, and pollen particles act as fuel for mold infestation inside the air conditioning system.
How to Check for Mold in the HVAC System?
Every homeowner should know how to spot mold in their cooling system. It can be hard to tell that a problem is growing in your house, which just gives it more time to spread.
Here are some tell-tale signs that there may be some fungi lurking there:
- A noticeable musty smell near the air vents in the indoor environment.
- The distinct odor increases when the air is running.
- Patches of black fungi re visible around the vents, evaporator coils, or drip pans.
- You or your family has an irritated throat, nose, eyes, or sinus passages when the cooling is on.
At your annual maintenance check, your HVAC tech should test for mold. Also, check for signs of mold whenever you empty the drip pans or change the furnace filter. But, if you suspect that there may be a problem in your system, don’t wait. Have the HVAC and duct system checked by a professional so that the mold can be eradicated as soon as possible.
How Does Air Conditioning Affect Your Health?
People often associate cold temperatures with colds and cases of flu. But doctors have proven that the cold doesn’t cause illnesses. Air conditioning can actually be beneficial for some health conditions. If the HVAC system is well maintained and the filter is changed regularly, it can relieve some lung disease, asthma, and allergy symptoms.
A poorly maintained system or a dirty filter, however, can circulate harmful bacteria and mold around your home.
Learn more about How to Cool Your Home Efficiently this summer.
Can Mold in the AC System Make You Sick?
Mold growth can be a scary problem for homeowners. It can wreak havoc on the house and also on your health. This is especially true for anyone who is sensitive to molds or has mold allergies. If the fungi is allowed to grow throughout the HVAC system, the ducts then carry spores into every vent in the house. With spores blown around, you and your family are constantly inhaling them.
This exposure can cause inflammation through your airways and lungs. Breathing it in can exacerbate respiratory problems, shortness of breath, skin irritation, allergies, and asthma symptoms. Common problems range from coughing and sneezing to bronchitis and allergic reactions. Some people notice rashes, itchiness, hives, a runny nose, watery eyes, headaches. Less common symptoms include fatigue, nausea, and dizziness. Some reactions can even be life-threatening.
Learn more about the health risks and conditions linked to the effect of black mold. And find out more on the topic of toxic mold with information from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
How Can You Clean Mold from the HVAC System?
Cleaning different types of mold from a window AC unit is fairly simple, but for a central air conditioner, removal is a more complex job. It often travels through the duct network, infecting the HVAC system. So, effective removal requires cleaning all of those various components.
This is a job better left to the professionals. Seek out a reputable HVAC service provider who is connected with the National Air Duct Cleaners Association. Ensure that the company you hire has experience with this type of removal and will offer a guarantee for the work done.
Read the helpful tips provided by the Environmental Protection Agency on how to clean up household mold.
How Can You Prevent Mold Growth in the AC System?
It’s not 100% preventable, but with a few simple measures you can cut down the risk of mold developing in your HVAC system. Especially if you have had reoccurring problems with mold at your house, you will want to take these steps to protect your system. Here are some expert tips:
- Replace your HVAC filter as scheduled – every 30 to 90 days.
- Install a filter that is specialized for mold control.
- Add a UV light air purifying system to your HVAC to kill mold and improve air quality.
- Have the air ducts sealed and insulated to help reduce the amount of condensation produced inside them.
- Empty water from the drip pans and clean them with bleach to kill any festering colonies.
- If you live in an area with high humidity, controlling moisture is critical. Use a dehumidifier to remove some of the excess moisture in the affected areas.
- Have your HVAC ducts inspected by a professional annually.
- If mold is detected, have the ducts cleaned and the HVAC system remediated by a specialist.
Get some helpful Tips for Dealing with Allergies.
Your Local HVAC Specialist
A mold infestation can be a serious health problem for your family, but it’s also preventable. Be sure to have your system checked so that your concerns can be addressed right away. Let us help you protect your family and keep your HVAC system running cleanly. Request an estimate or call AQM – in Exton, Pennsylvania – at (610) 363-3940