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.
Mold plays an important role in the environment. This type of fungus breaks down organic matter and it’s even used to make clothes, furniture, and building materials. However, there is also such thing as “toxic mold” which most often refers to a mycotoxin called Stachybotrys chartarum. Now, that’s not to say there is only one type of toxic mold but rather to point to the importance of black mold removal.
But what is black mold exactly or the dangers associated with mycotoxins?
With prolonged exposure, mold and black mold can cause health problems. Black mold produces a toxin called mycotoxin. The main difference is black mold causes more severe symptoms on your health and respiratory system.
Black mold is usually found on porous items such as drywall, padding, paper, and carpet. Long-term exposure to this mold is potentially harmful and there are different types of black mold such as the one mentioned above – Stachybotrys chartarum.
Stachybotrys chartarum features a greenish color and releases toxic chemicals called mycotoxins into the air. These fragments are dangerous when ingested and this is especially true for those who suffer from asthma or allergies of some kind.
Studies show that mycotoxins are linked to serious health issues. When ingested, these chemicals are known to cause mutations, cancer, and general toxic effects. In fact, drug resistant mold infections are the cause of serious concern for vulnerable people and “mycotoxicosis” is now a common term that refers to mold poisoning.
Either way, black mold is present in our daily lives and the potential dangers associated with this fungus is why mold removal companies are in high demand.
If you think you might have mold in your home or at work but are not sure, the first step is to hire a mold remediation company that can perform a mold inspection with sample testing (air or swab). Within 2-3 days, you will get laboratory results of the samples tested along with a report on their findings from the inspection and an evaluation of the lab results.
After the inspection and testing, it will give you peace of mind to know if you have mold or not, if it is toxic or not, and if it is a potential health risk to you and your family. The mold remediation company you hired for the inspection will also give you recommendations and advice on mold remediation and mold removal for the affected space.
If you can visibly see the mold, you can skip the mold inspection and save your money for the mold remediation you will need from a mold removal company.
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Let’s take a closer look at some black mold symptoms!
While there is no concrete evidence that mold is the cause of specific symptoms, the WHO cites mycotoxins as a serious health threat. Most types of molds are also yet to be studied and evidence suggests that exposure to toxic mold should be avoided.
But how might you know if black mold is causing health problems?
Black mold poisoning is not always easy to detect because it shares the same symptoms with many other types of virus or health problems. For example, many people who have been exposed to black mold will cite problems with dry skin, coughing, and shallow breath. It’s also not possible to outline a definitive list because more research is needed when it comes to black mold symptoms in general.
– Bodily pains/aches
– Sore throat
– Skin irritation
– Runny nose
– Itchy eyes
– Congestion in the nose
– Tightness in the chest
– Shortness of breath
Please note the above are merely some examples of black mold symptoms.
Black mold symptoms are different for every individual. As already explained, the elderly are often affected and black mold is problematic for those with allergies or existing breathing issues. Babies and young children also have a higher sensitivity to mold and black mold since their immune systems are not fully developed yet. This is also not a risk that needs to be taken and aside from contacting your doctor for health advice, the black mold needs to be eliminated.
Most people inhale mold spores every day and mold removal is the only way to eliminate this problem. If you find mold inside a building, there’s no need to perform a test and you should just want to remove this fungus to cleanse the area of fungus.
But how does a mold removal company go about this task?
There is a right and wrong way to go about mold removal and it’s possible to prolong this unwanted issue.
For instance, drywall is known to soak up moisture. Some homeowners decide to paint over the mold but this paint will eventually peel away over time. Instead, black mold should be removed from the wall and then painted afterward.
For people with strong immune systems and full health, black mold symptoms may not feel so extreme. But black mold can certainly pose a danger to those with poor health or any allergies, asthma, and respiratory issues It’s also impossible to avoid the spores around us and harmful toxins when black mold is present in the area.
Either way, it’s important to remove black mold and a mold removal company is sure to eliminate the problem and protect against this fungus showing up in the future.
Now, do you need a mold removal company? Get in touch with our team.
Ways to make your home a healthy living space and avoid costly mold removal services.
Molds are present and a part of our natural environment. In the outdoors, molds are in nature by breaking down dead organic matter like dead trees and fallen leaves. But for the indoors, mold growth should be avoided. Molds will reproduce through tiny spores; the spores are invisible to the naked eye and float throughout indoor and outdoor air. Mold can start growing indoors when mold spores land on wet surfaces.
Every house and every environment has mold spores, so it is impossible to get rid of all mold and mold spores indoors. It is normal for some mold spores to be found floating through the air and in house dust. It can become an issue and dangerous when the concentration of mold spores in a home is greater than what is found outside. Remember, there are three conditions needed for the various types of molds to thrive: an ideal temperature, a source of food, and moisture.
There is an estimated 100+ species of mold known to cause illness in humans. People who have exposure to the mold sometimes experience dermatitis, coughing, allergic reactions, asthma, nasal problems, infections, or respiratory complaints.
Some molds produce mycotoxins which are toxic substances produced by fungus. The term “toxic mold” refers to molds that produce mycotoxins such as Stachybotrys chartarum, which can pose serious health risks to humans and animals. When exposed to high levels of mycotoxins, some studies claim it can lead to neurological problems and in some cases even death. Therefore identifying mold damage should be done by a Mold Inspector. Once the severity of the issue is identified, hiring a professional Mold Remediation Company will be a good option to properly handle a mold infestation.
Humidity control is the most important factor in preventing mold growth. Whether it be your basement or attic, humidity control is key. You may purchase a humidity gauge to monitor humidity. Humidity should not be above 55% on average. Every basement in the U.S.A. should have a dehumidifier and a humidity monitoring system. Getting rid of black mold can be an uphill battle if humidity is not controlled. Ventilation in your property is also very important in mold prevention. Mold Removal Services in New York may be needed once moisture control in systems are compromised.
If there is mold growth in your home, clean up the mold and try to fix the water problem causing the growth. You should look for mold damage throughout the home after hurricanes and floods. If you clean up the mold but don’t fix the problem, the mold will most likely come back. Basement mold can be found on the foundation floor and interior foundations.
Mold growth occurs from the following:
-Leaks & Damage (Plumbing, Roofing, HVAC)
-Rain, Floods, Hurricanes
-High Interior Humidity
-Build-up of Condensation
There are many factors that affect moisture in your basement.
One of the things that should be looked at is foundation issues. Foundation issues may contribute to moisture intrusion. The soil grade of your exterior home can play a factor as well. If the soil grade is insufficient surrounding your foundation, rainwater will seep into your basement. Rain gutters also are key factors of moisture intrusion in your basement. Gutter leaders that are too close to the home will affect the excess water surrounding your foundation. Your home’s siding should be maintained properly. A formal mold inspection should be implemented once a visual leak in the foundation occurs. If there are any gaps or cracks in the building’s siding, moisture will also seep into the structure and cause mold damage. Properly installing dehumidifiers into your basement is vital to extract any moisture.
Types of building material used in the basement are important to consider as well. Using non-cellulose building material is an essential way to prevent black mold growth. Rigid insulation and cement board are some examples of these materials. Floor tiles are highly recommended for basements throughout the United States. Installing wood or carpet in a basement is not recommended as it will absorb any moisture. Moisture and mold prevention in a basement is vital when your home’s HVAC system is in your basement. If there are mold spores in your basement, near your HVAC system, the system will intake the spores and contaminate your home. If you need to hire someone, it is important for homeowners to do stringent research in finding a suitable company that offers Mold Inspection and Testing. Also, do some research since there are a limited amount of Mold Removal Companies in New York that can remediate the mold in HVAC systems.
When purchasing your home, it’s important to look at the water table surrounding your property. Properties with high water tables are at higher risks for elevated moisture intrusion events, high humidity, and mold growth.
Sprinkler systems too close to the property’s foundation will contribute to water intrusions and increases the possibility of needing mold remediation services. Monitoring sprinkler systems by a professional is recommended seasonally.
The main factor to avoid moisture and mold in the attic is having sufficient ventilation. Attic soffits should be unobstructed as well as baffles should be installed at the roof’s ridge. Extraction fans are vital if the attic does not have static ventilation systems. The extraction fan in an attic can be installed using a temperature or humidity gauge. Once the temperature or humidity of the attic has reached above 55% or 80 degrees, the fan will turn “On”. Insulation should never be installed on the interior of the attic opposite the roof tiles. Maintenance and upkeep of a bathroom extraction fan ducting should be done seasonally. If extraction fans are displaced and are exhausting into the attic, the humidity will increase and cause moisture and mold growth.
Landscaping is also a factor in preventing moisture to your foundation. Shrubbery too close to the property will prevent the drying of the soil near your foundation. Shrubbery can also grow into your building’s exterior façade. Trees too close to your property can grow roots into your foundation causing cracks in your home’s foundation. Also trees too close to the property can grow into your exterior façade causing leaks and mold growth. Seasonal tree trimming is recommended to avoid water damage on your property.
With some household products, you can create a DIY mixture for mold removal in small areas. Always wear rubber gloves to protect your hands and a N-95 face mask.
NOTE: Never mix ammonia with bleach or other all-purpose cleaners together, it can be toxic and create dangerous fumes.
Choosing a good company in the New York area can take some research and time.
You can Contact Dry Ease Mold Removal NY for a free consultation and questions about mold.
Choosing a qualified Mold Inspection Company comes down to the experience of the individual technician as well as the laboratory they use to identify the mold spore counts. Black mold testing is an important part to identifying the scope of mold and air quality. You may contact our affiliated company – Prime Aire Mold Services with any questions about your Mold Inspection. HERE