Have you been away for a few days and come home to find your home smells musty? A strange smell is the most common early warning sign that you have mold in your HVAC system, but it can be easy to overlook.
We all get used to the smell of our homes so it can take leaving for a few days, the words of an honest friend, or noticing a difference in smell when your HVAC system is on or off to realize your home smells… well, moldy.
The good news is that if the musty smell is coming from mold in your air ducts, HVAC mold removal is a straightforward process. Read on to learn how it got there in the first place, ways you can get rid of it, and how to prevent it from reoccurring.
Here are some common signs of mold in air ducts:
As we touched on above, a musty or strange smell is a common sign. You may notice the smell fluctuates as your HVAC system powers on and off.
If you notice some darkening or discoloration around your air vents, it may be mold. It’s also worth shining a torch inside to see if you can see any visible signs of mold inside your air ducts.
The drip pan collects moisture that’s pulled out of the air, so any blockage can create the right environment for mold to grow.
If someone in the home suffers from seasonal allergies or has a respiratory issue (such as asthma), they may find their symptoms are worse while in the home than in another environment. If the mold in the home is bad, or one that’s particularly harmful, it can even make people with no existing respiratory issues sick with feelings of dizziness, headaches, and nausea.
Note that you don’t always need to be able to see mold for it to be there. Spores in the air may be coming from an area you can’t see. It’s also worth checking other high-risk areas of your home if you’re not sure where the mold is, such as bathrooms, laundry rooms, garages, basements, and attics.
Mold needs just three things to grow: a habitable surface (a porous material), a little warmth, and some moisture. If mold spores find these three things, and there’s little in the way of airflow, it will grow quickly. That said, if your HVAC system is well maintained and working correctly, there shouldn’t be any opportunity for mold growth. Here are some of the most common reasons why mold may be growing in your HVAC system:
If you regularly keep your AC at a warm temperature to save on your energy bills but crank it down to sweater weather when you get home, you may be creating unnecessary moisture. When the cold air and warm air meet, the moisture in the warm air may collect on surfaces near the vents. This generally has to be quite an extreme temperature change (say, walking into your home at 82F and setting your thermostat at 62F), but it does happen.
An AC unit that’s too small for a space will merely leave a room too warm, but one that’s too big can cause problems. While you feel cool and comfortable, the AC may not be running for long enough to effectively extract moisture from the air, allowing it to collect and provide the right environment for mold growth.
If you have a small leak in a water pipe in your home or you have a leak in your air ducts, it may create the right conditions for mold. A small leak in a water pipe may mean it’s slightly too damp in your home for your AC unit to sufficiently pull moisture out of the air. Equally, having a duct with a leak will allow warm air in, causing condensation where the warm and cool air meet.
If your HVAC system has mold, it’s a simple fix, but it does require the expertise of an HVAC mold removal professional. It’s not enough just to spray the areas with a bleach solution and go about your day – there’s a reason why mold is growing, and it needs to be found and treated. Mold can also grow in areas you can’t see, which must be dealt with by an HVAC Mold Remediation Specialist.
HVAC Mold Removal Specialists have the right equipment to remove the mold entirely, without putting your family or themselves at risk.
If you’re in New York, we’re here to help. Our HVAC mold removal technicians use video inspection equipment with our specialist cleaning equipment to cleanse your air ducts of mold.
Once you’ve had your HVAC cleaned (and if necessary, fixed), you’ll want to keep it running smoothly to prevent mold from growing again in the future. The best way to prevent getting mold in your HVAC system is to get regular services and cleans – getting your HVAC system serviced regularly will ensure everything can work as it should and having scheduled cleans will ensure you stay mold-free.
This is an especially good idea if your home is humid (common for those keeping fish tanks, houseplants, and reptiles), you deal with recurring mold (more common in older homes), you live in an area with high humidity, or if someone in the home has a respiratory problem.
Mold in your home can be harmful and dangerous especially if you have a baby, children, or someone who is immune-compromised or has respiratory issues. If you think you might have mold, it is worth spending the money to have a professional come to your home and do a mold inspection and mold testing. It is important to do the research and find a reputable mold inspection company. They will come to your home and inspect the areas with the mold issue. The technician will determine where and how many tests should be taken. They will take an air sample, swab sample, or tape sample. It is sent to a laboratory for comprehensive results. Within a week, you will be given a mold report and lab results.
When testing for mold in the HVAC, air sample testing is usually recommended since it is the best way to find out if you have a mold issue. Air sampling captures a volume of air and measures the contaminants in it. You should hire a qualified professional mold removal company to do mold testing at your home or workplace.
If the laboratory results show that you have mold or mold in your ducts, you should consult a remediation company. It is possible to DIY but it is time-intensive and you need to make sure it is properly removed or it can come back. It may be better to hire a remediation company who have the training, expertise, and knowledge about effectively removing mold at your home or commercial building. They will use commercial-grade chemicals, products, and equipment that you may not have.
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When you suspect you have mold in your home or at work, mold in your HVAC system, or have found significant evidence of it, our experienced team is here to help. Our HVAC Mold Remediation Services ensure NYC households stay mold-free and keep you healthy, and breathing easily.