Have you ever opened the air ducts and peeked inside? If you haven’t, maybe you should now, especially if there is an unpleasant smell in your home. The chances are that you will see some cotton-like black, grey, or white substance spread inside the ducts. This is mold. Where there is constant moisture, there is bound to be mold. Mainly so, because mold likes warm and moist climate. In homes equipped with an HVAC unit, mold formation is nothing unusual. If there is mold in ducts in your home, you need to understand how it got there and then take steps to get rid of it.
Mold In Ducts – How It Got There
Mold needs 3 things to grow.
1. Warm climate
When the outside environment is humid and cold is passing through the ducts, it loses moisture and forms water vapor. The water vapor condenses and forms water droplets. These droplets of water collect within the ducts instead of evaporating. It creates a conducive environment for mold formation and growth. The sustenance for the mold comes from dust, dirt, dander, pollen, and dead skin cells that accumulate inside the ducts.
Fundamentally speaking, humid climate, together with inadequate ventilation, or anything that traps moisture in the walls of your home and leads condensation, can cause mold formation in the air ducts.
HVAC Problems That contribute To Mold Formation
1. Thermostat On Low-Temperature Setting – When you set the thermostat on a low-temperature setting, it results in the warm air of the room meeting very cold air from the vents. As a result, the moisture present in the air condenser coil in and around the ducts. If this moisture does not dry within a day, it leads to can cause mold to grow.
2. Leaking Ducts – There may be cracks in the duct through which warm air may be entering and coming in contact with the cold air. Essentially, it would again cause the moisture to condense and turn into droplets of water. Again creating the perfect environment for mold to proliferate.
3. Oversized AC Unit – Large HVAC units tend to cool small spaces faster. Due to this, it is unable to draw away moisture from the air effectively. Basically, the dehumidification function is compromised. There is moisture buildup inside the room, and its effect carries into the ducts as well, creating condensation and mold.
Mold In Ducts – How To Get Rid Of It?
Figure Out The Source Of Moisture – Getting rid of the mold is not a very complicated process. However, before you attack it, you need to figure out where the moisture is coming from. Once the root of the problem is tackled, it will not give you frequent trouble. In order to figure out the cause, you will have to ask your HVAC company to send a technician to have a look at your HVAC system. Based on their findings and recommendation, take steps to resolve the matter.
Cleaning The Mold – You know the cause and took steps to solve the issue. Now its time to take the bull by the horns and clean the mold. It’s a step by step procedure as follows –
1. Turn OFF both the heating and cooling vents.
2. Use an EPA approved mold growth inhibitor and spray it generously over and around the mold.
3. Using a brush and a rag scrub the area gently but thoroughly.
4. Repeat the process until the area is clean.
5. Don’t just throw the rags in the dustbin. Dispose them in trash bags that are airtight. A 6mm or thicker bag is perfect for the purpose.
Preventing Mold Formation
Attacking the source of moisture and getting rid of the mold is not the end of the story. There is one more step involved, and that is prevention. Mold is not good for health so you should do everything to prevent it from flourishing. Here are a few preventive measures that can come to your aid –
1. Buy a good dehumidifier if necessary, and place it near the damp area of your home.
2. Lower the condensation in the ducts by suitably insulating them.
3. Clean the drip pans regularly so that the standing water does not encourage mold colonies.
4. Inspect the air ducts regularly and get them professionally cleaned.
5. Invest in preventive maintenance, which would take care of such issues.
Why Is It Necessary To Get Rid Of Mold In Ducts?
The HVAC system installed in your house circulates air within your home. When the air circulates, it passes through the ducts and picks up the spores of the flourishing mold. Mold spores are not good for health and can cause skin irritation and breathing problems in addition to other medical issues. The air passing through the ducts spreads these spores throughout the home. The quality of air gets compromised. Therefore, the key to maintaining a healthy environment inside depends on getting rid of the mold in the ducts.
Why Should You Get The Mold Professionally Cleaned?
Getting rid of the mold seems like an easy peasy job. But, it is subject to taking the proper precautions and doing a thorough job of removing it. A professional is best suited to perform the task because they have the appropriate clothing and other equipment to keep the mold from entering their body or coming in contact with their skin. Also, they have the best cleaners that assure prompt removal and long respite from the mold. As a homeowner, you may not check all the boxes in this regard.
Mold formation in ducts is normal and nothing to panic about. Getting rid of it is also simple thanks to the mold growth inhibitors available in the market. For lasting relief, you need to understand why it is forming. Once you gain this relevant piece of knowledge, you can take steps to curtail the environment that propagates its growth. You can also treat the ducts with sprays that prevent further proliferation of mold. Use only those products that have been approved by EPA as anything else can be dangerous to your health and well being.