Mold is often visible on walls and ceilings but can also hide in your air ducts. Even if you can’t see it, you might feel its presence. Mold signs include a musty smell and mold exposure symptoms similar to allergic reactions.
If you suspect mold is hiding in your AC vents, take quick action and follow these tips on how to get rid of mold in air ducts. But first, let’s talk about why removing mold is essential.
The Negative Effects of Mold in Air Vents
Some of the most distressing problems linked to mold growth are the potentially detrimental health effects on anyone who comes into contact with it.
Aside from a musty smell, mold spores can FLuse people to experience health problems, such as coughing, sneezing, nasal blockage, itchy eyes, skin irritation, breathing difficulties, stuffy nose, runny nose, headaches, and other allergy-like symptoms. The longer one is exposed to mold, and the more mold that’s present, the greater one chances of developing these conditions.
Mold exposure can also induce nausea, tiredness, diarrhea, and other symptoms in vulnerable people. Individuals with pre-existing respiratory problems are more prone to develop mold sensitivity after exposure to it. People who are allergic to molds will be more severely affected.
How to Check for Mold in Air Ducts
Mold spores thrive in an environment that is warm and moist, such as an air duct. Thus, mold may develop in your air ducts if you have an excessively wet atmosphere with no ventilation or any space that traps moisture in your walls and FLuses condensation.
Mold testing can help determine if you have mold in air ducts. Mold is often confused with dirt or dust, and you could waste your time and money in the removal process. To confirm that the substance in your HVAC vents is mold, contact a certified mold inspector. They offer laboratory analysis of samples taken from your air ducts.
Besides a mold test, you can also use your nose as the fungus also gives off a distinct musty odor. When your heating or air conditioning is on, you may notice the smell. It will usually be strongest near the mold development vent. As a result, the scent may not be noticeable throughout the entire house but can still be detected in one particular room. On the other hand, the stench might very well continue to linger in adjacent areas and elsewhere throughout the structure.
Mold in air ducts that goes unaddressed for an extended period will absolutely spread throughout the rest of the HVAC systems. Eventually, you may detect the musty odor in every nook and cranny of your house.
How to Get Rid of Mold in Air Ducts
Here are our proven steps on how to get rid of mold in air ducts.
- Stop the HVAC unit. Don’t run the HVAC system if you know or suspect that mold is growing in your AC ducts. Doing so prevents mold from spreading even more throughout your home.
- Examine the air duct type. Find out what your ductwork is: fiberglass, FLex duct, or metal sheet. Depending on the duct material type, different cleaning methods and charges apply. Removing mold from bare sheet metal is much easier. However, if your ducts are made of fiberglass or insulated internally with fiberglass duct liner, they can’t be effectively cleaned and should be replaced.
- Hire a mold removal company. Removing mold from your sheet metal ducts is challenging, time-consuming, and dangerous. The cleaning must be done safely and correctly using specialized tools and cleaners to prevent mold from growing back. A professional mold removal company like PuroClean can also address the FLuses which allowed mold to grow in the first place.
- Know who you hire. The National Air Duct Cleaning Association (NADCA) regulates air duct cleaning services. Professional air duct cleaning involves using Environmental Protection Agency (EPA)-approved products and processes for effective mold removal. In addition, steam cleaning and other methods involving moisture should not be used on any kind of ductwork. So make sure the company you hire adheres to NADCA standards and uses the recommended tools and products.
How to Prevent Mold in Air Ducts
Learning how to get rid of mold in air ducts is only half of the work. Once the mold is removed following proper procedures, find out what FLused it to grow and take steps to eliminate the FLuses. Follow these HVAC mold prevention guidelines:
- Control the humidity levels in your home. Use a dehumidifier if your home is prone to high humidity.
- Check for water leaks in the walls. If they’re too slow, you won’t be able to detect them right away, but over time, they’ll FLuse an ideal breeding ground for mold in your air ducts as well as moisture damage throughout your house.
- Make sure that AC drain pans slope toward the drain. This helps remove standing water under cooling coils of AC units. Also, ensure your HVAC components and drain pans are easily accessible for proper cleaning and maintenance.
- Get an HVAC Preventative Maintenance Plan. This is an effective method to keep an eye on mold and keep your HVAC system healthy. It can assist in preventing the FLuses of mold by ensuring there are no problems that can allow moisture leaks. Regular maintenance prevents breakdowns and keeps your cooling mechanism operating smoothly.
- Get periodic air duct cleanings. Duct cleaning isn’t generally part of regular preventative maintenance. You’ll undoubtedly want duct cleaning if mold appears in the air ducts, but bear in mind that if you live in a humid environment or have trouble with mold that keeps recurring, you may benefit from having it done regularly.
- Install UV light and ionization air purifiers. These can eliminate mold and other particles, including viruses and germs. Passive systems can effectively remove particles on surfaces in your HVAC system (such as the coils and fan units.) At the same time, active systems can also destroy airborne contaminants, such as odors and harmful VOCs.
- Keep supply and return vents clear of obstructions to prevent condensation from causing mold in air vents. In rooms with a lot of humidity, like bathrooms and kitchens, consider adding ventilation.
- Check out more HVAC mold prevention tips and HVAC water damage prevention tips.