HOW TO PREVENT MOLD IN YOUR HVAC
Mold is a fungus 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 for mold to thrive and once there it can be dispersed around your home and be hard to get rid of.
There are many many species of mold many of which like to live in our homes where they can damage property and possessions as well as cause health problems. Beware of early signs of mold and be sure to call PureAir TN if signs of mold appear.
HVAC systems circulate air throughout your home heating or cooling it to the desired temperature. They also work to dehumidify the air but only if they are the correct size for your home and therefore working at optimum capacity.
Because they circulate air if you do have mold in your HVAC system the spores can be distributed around your home when you turn on the system and are then in the air where they can be inhaled or land and grow on other surfaces.
Therefore you should do everything you can to prevent mold in your HVAC system and make sure to remove it as quickly and safely as possible if it does start to grow either yourself or by hiring in the professionals.
Why HVAC Systems Are a Common Place for Mold Problems in Your Home
Mold thrives in moist environments with temperatures between around 32 and 120 degrees and they need access to organic material and oxygen. Unfortunately, your HVAC system can easily provide these conditions and thus a suitable environment for mold to grow.
Many homes suffer from high humidity levels and this can be worse and go unnoticed within your HVAC systems, especially if the system you have installed is too large for your home. This can mean it will reach the desired temperature more quickly and not run for long enough to adequately remove humidity.
Without regular cleaning dust and other organic matter can also build up within the system providing a food source for mold as well as the ideal temperature and humidity conditions.
HVAC systems can also be difficult to clean and so may get neglected.
Often the first indication you will get that you have a mold issue is a musty smell. Although visual inspections can also reveal mold growth in your system.
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 impact your health.
You will often notice the smell of mold before you see it. And if you are inhaling mold this can cause health problems especially in young children, those that are sensitive or allergic to mold and those who suffer from existing respiratory conditions.
Inhaling mold spores can cause coughing, sneezing, allergies, asthma, sinus infections, headaches, an inability to concentrate and lethargy as well as irritating the skin. If you notice an increase in these symptoms when you are inside and your HVAC system is on then you may have a mold issue within the system.
How to Prevent Mold in Your HVAC
Mold spores are pretty much anywhere and they like the same temperatures as we do, however, there are a number of actions you can take to prevent mold in your HVAC.
Make Sure Your HVAC System Is the Correct Size for Your Home
Firstly it is really important to make sure you have the correct sized HVAC system for your home. It might seem like a bigger system would be more efficient but this might not be the case. Often if systems are not running for long enough periods of time they do not adequately perform their dehumidification functions and this can lead to damp air or a build-up of moisture.
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 air humidity coming out of the system. If it is too high you may need to call an engineer to perform a more thorough investigation.
You can also try and 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 engineer 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 check they are emptying as they should and there is no mold growing.
- Changing filters regularly as wet or dirty filters will not be efficient at trapping mold spores and other particles.
- Clean air ducts regularly. Doing this will also allow you to notice if any are damaged or wet.
- Check 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 in preventing mold.
Invest in a Dehumidifier
If your home has high levels of humidity then you should consider investing in a dehumidifier. This will not only help reduce moisture levels in your HVAC system preventing mold growth, but it will also reduce moisture levels in the rest of your home.
DIY Mold Removal
If you discover mold you should remove it as quickly as possible as 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 then there is no reason you shouldn’t remove mold yourself. Make sure you wear protective equipment, in particular a respirator, goggles and gloves, seal off the area as best you can and make sure young children and people who are more vulnerable or sensitive to mold are not in the area.
This is because when you are cleaning an area of mold you are likely to dislodge more mold particles into the air.
Hiring a Mold Removal 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 then you should consider hiring in a professional mold removal company.
Please discuss why HVAC systems are a common place for mold problems in a home, what having mold in a HVAC system means and how to prevent mold in a HVAC or to recommend hiring a mold removal company to get rid of it if necessary
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