Managing Your HVAC System

Advice For Spotting And Addressing Mold In Your Air Conditioner

When you have a central air conditioning unit, one of the biggest issues you might face is mold growth. Since mold can lead to allergic reactions and respiratory problems, it's imperative that you know how to prevent and address it. Here's a look at some of the things you should know to protect your home and family.

Dangers of Mold Growth

While you may not think of mold as a serious concern, it can be a bigger deal than you might think. For people with asthma and other respiratory conditions, it can intensify symptoms. It can also cause allergies and other long-term health concerns. In addition, if black mold starts growing in your air conditioning system, that's a serious threat to your family's well-being.

Causes of Mold Growth

Your air conditioner is an ideal environment for mold to grow and thrive. Here are two common causes for mold growth inside a central air conditioner.

Moisture - Condensation in the air conditioning unit can provide the moisture that mold needs to thrive. When the air in your house is warm and humid, the air ducts can condensate because of the contrast of the cold air temperature. While most of the moisture will evaporate naturally, if the air in the house is too humid, it won't be able to. This residual moisture will encourage mold growth.

Dust and Dirt - The surfaces of your air conditioner, including the intake filter and air ducts, can all collect dust, pollen and dirt. This is all mold spores need for food to start growing. When you pair this dust with the moisture from the humidity, mold can thrive. Luckily, you can reduce the risk of this by keeping your air conditioning system clean, including the air ducts.

Recognizing Mold Growth

Before you can deal with mold in the air conditioner, you'll need to know how to spot it. One of the easiest ways to identify it is by the mildew odor of your air conditioner. If you're smelling a musty smell in the air when you run your air conditioner, that's a sign that there's mold in the system somewhere.

You'll need to inspect the air ducts, drip pans, cooling coils and intake vents for mold growth. These are the areas that are most likely to show mold spores, and they are easy enough for you to access on your own. If you can't see any mold in those areas, you'll need to call an HVAC technician to inspect the compressor itself.

Removing Mold Growth

Properly removing mold takes some dedication, because some of the areas where it can grow may be hard to reach. If you're going to do it on your own, though, make sure you have protective gear including gloves and a respiratory mask. That way, you don't expose your skin or your lungs to mold spores. This is important to protect your health.

Use a cleaning solution created from water, dish detergent and baking soda. Spray that solution on the mold spores and let it sit. After a few minutes, scrub the area with a sponge or a brush. Wipe the surface down completely with damp paper towels, then repeat if needed to get rid of all of the residual mold. Once it's all gone, clean the surface one last time. Dry everything thoroughly afterward.

With the tips here, you can understand why mold thrives in air conditioners, how to spot it and what to do about it when it appears. Talk with a local HVAC technician from a company like Clément Marchand Natural Gas Service HVAC today if you aren't confident about your ability to do the work on your own.