HOW PREVENT MOLD IN YOUR HVAC
Molds are fungi that can grow anywhere there is moisture, warmth, oxygen, and organic matter. Your HVAC (Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning) system can provide the perfect conditions in which molds can grow and thrive. Sadly, once molds get established in your HVAC system, they can be dispersed throughout your home and be very difficult to eradicate.
Your HVAC system is designed to maximize the comfort level of your home by heating or cooling the outside air and circulating it throughout the house. Because your HVAC system circulates the air in your house, the spores produced by any mold within the system will be distributed throughout your entire home. Therefore, you should do everything that you can to prevent mold from ever getting established in your HVAC system. If, however, despite your best efforts, you discover that your HVAC system has mold in it, you should act quickly to have it removed as safely as possible. The Pure Maintenance dry fog technology utilized by Pure Air Solutions has proven to be highly effective for dealing with mold in HVAC systems.
Why HVAC Systems Are a Common Place for Mold Problems in Your Home
Mold thrives in moist environments with temperatures ranging between 50 – 100 degrees Fahrenheit (provided that both oxygen and organic material are readily available). Unfortunately, your HVAC system can easily provide these conditions. Therefore, it is not uncommon to find mold infestations in HVAC systems. In fact, it is quite common.
Problems Associated With Having Mold in Your HVAC System
Mold growing in your HVAC system or elsewhere in your home isn’t just unsightly, it can cause damage to your home and adversely impact your health.
You may notice a musty smell or an “off” odor before you actually see any mold. These odors are are an indicator that you have active mold growth in your home. Active molds produce spores, and if you are inhaling these spores, they can result in some rather serious health issues that include chronic coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy skin, chronic fatigue, headaches, insomnia, and neurological dysfunction. Therefore, if you suffer from these conditions and notice an increase in them when you are inside your house or when the HVAC system is running, you may have a mold issue within the system.
How to Prevent Mold in Your HVAC
Mold spores are pretty much everywhere, and they like the same temperatures that we do. However, there are a number of actions you can take to help prevent mold in your HVAC system.
Make Sure Your HVAC System Is the Correct Size for Your Home
If your HVAC system is powered by a unit that is too large for your home, it will cool air to the desired set temperature very quickly without running long enough to adequately remove excess moisture from the air. In fact, HVAC systems and window / wall units that are too large can actually add moisture to the air due to the dynamics occurring between the cooling coils and cycle time. This will contribute to the growth of mold both in the system and throughout your home.
Check You Humidity Levels
It’s a good idea to keep a close eye on the humidity levels in your home. You can purchase a humidity meter from most home improvement stores and use it to check the humidity level in your home. Humidity levels need to be kept below 60%. Ideally, they should kept somewhere around 50%. If your humidity levels are too high you may need to call an HVAC specialist to perform a thorough investigation. It can also be helpful to keep windows closed when the air outside is particularly humid.
Keep Your HVAC System Clean and Well Maintained
Keeping your HVAC system clean and well maintained is one of the best ways to prevent mold. Regular cleaning and maintenance will also give you the opportunity to spot and deal with any mold quickly if it does occur.
Depending on your system and your level of expertise it may be a good idea to get an HVAC specialist to inspect the system every so often to make sure it is functioning as it should.
Regular maintenance and cleaning tasks should include:
- Checking drip trays regularly to verify that they are emptying properly and that there is no mold growing in them.
- Changing filters regularly because wet or dirty filters will not be efficient at trapping mold spores and other particles.
- Cleaning air ducts regularly. Doing this will also allow you to notice if any are damaged or wet.
- Checking for leaks. Leaks anywhere in your home are likely to attract mold growth so fixing them as soon as possible and drying out the area is essential for preventing mold.
Invest in a Dehumidifier
If your home has high levels of humidity then you should consider investing in a dehumidifier. While a properly sized and functioning HVAC system does dehumidify the air in your home, its capacity for doing is limited because dehumidification is simply a byproduct of the cooling process. If, for example, you have your thermostat set on 72 degrees Fahrenheit, the HVAC will continue to pull moisture out of the air until that temperature set point is reached. However, once that set point is reached, the system shuts down. If the air in the house is still above 60% when that set point is reached, no further dehumidification will take place unless you have a supplemental dehumidifier running.
DIY Mold Removal
If you discover mold you should remove it as quickly as possible because mold can spread quickly and cause problems for both your home and your health.
If the area is small and you feel confident that you can reach it and remove the mold effectively, you may certainly opt to remove the mold yourself. Make sure you wear protective equipment (in particular: a proper respirator, goggles, and gloves). Be sure to seal off the area as best you can and make sure that young children and people who are more vulnerable or sensitive to mold are not in the area. These precautions are necessary because when you are cleaning an area that has been contaminated with mold, you are likely to dislodge more mold particles and spores into the air.
Hiring a Mold Remediation Company
If the area affected by mold is large–or you do not feel confident in your ability to access and effectively remove the mold–you should consider hiring a professional mold remediation company. The Pure Maintenance dry fog process utilized by Pure Air Solutions has proven to be very effective and eradicating mold in HVAC systems. Please contact us if we can be of service.
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