If you own a heating, ventilation and air conditioning unit, or HVAC for short, mold may be something you wonder about. You may have read an article about mold in a unit, or heard about it on a television show. Regardless of what has you thinking about mold and your HVAC unit, you likely have many questions about this topic. Here are a few common questions about mold and HVAC units and the answers to these questions.
Should I Be Concerned About Mold in My HVAC Unit?
It is uncommon for harmful mold to develop in your HVAC unit or the connecting ductwork. However, while it is uncommon, it can still occur. Because it is fairly uncommon, it is not something that the average homeowner should worry about. As long your HVAC unit is being inspected annually and your ductwork system is being cleaned every three to five years, it is unlikely harmful types of mold will develop. But, if you notice any signs of mold in your unit, you should have the unit and your ductwork system inspected. If you notice no signs of mold and are having your unit maintained as recommended, you should not worry yourself over mold.
What Are the Signs that My HVAC System Has Mold?
There are three primary signs that your HVAC system may be harboring mold. Every homeowner should familiarize themselves with these signs. The faster mold is noticed, the less likely it is to spread and be hazardous to the health of those living in the home.
The first sign of mold in your HVAC services is a moldy or mildew-like smell coming from your air vents when your HVAC system turns on. This is the sign that most homeowners notice. If there is mold within your HVAC unit or the ventilation system, it will blow through the vents, into your home. As such, you will notice this smell. If you notice this smell and it is most prominent or only noticeable when your HVAC unit is running, you will need to have your system professionally inspected.
The second sign of mold in your HVAC unit is actually seeing mold. You should be replacing or cleaning your HVAC unit's filter every one to two months. If you notice mold on this filter, or on any other part of the appliance as you change the filter, you will want to call in a professional to inspect your unit.
The last sign of potential mold in an HVAC unit is the hardest to sign to notice. If you or a family member often find themselves sick with a sore throat, cough, or other upper respiratory conditions, and can tie those occurrences back to when your HVAC unit was running, you may want to have your system inspected and possibly tested for mold.
What Should I Do If I See or Suspect There is Mold?
If you see or suspect you have mold in your HVAC system, you will want to call in a professional to assist you. Mold is never anything you want to touch or mess with yourself. In such a case, you should call in a professional HVAC service and repair company. The service and repair company can inspect your system and look for signs of mold. If they notice mold, they may recommend you call in a mold testing service to determine what kind of mold you are dealing with.
What Can I Expect When Having the Mold Removed?
If the mold is found to be a non-dangerous type of mold, it can be scrubbed away with liquid dish soap and water. If the mold is found to be dangerous, a mold remediation company, or an HVAC company that specializes in mold removal will need to remove the mold.
The first thing that will happen is that your HVAC system will be shut down while the process is occurring. Anything porous, such as the filters, will be removed and properly disposed of. They will be replaced with new ones once the mold is removed. From there wet vaccums will be used to remove any standing water or condensation. A mold disinfectant will then be used to clean the HVAC unit, the ductwork and vents. Once all the mold is removed, a mold inhibitor product will be used to deter the future growth of mold in your HVAC system. The exact length of time depends on the size of your home and how accessible the ductwork is, but you should plan on the cleaning professional being inside your home for a good portion of the day.
It can be scary to think about mold residing in your home due to the potential harmful side effects of mold. However, while mold in HVAC units is not very common, it is something that you should be aware of. Knowing what signs to look for and what to do if you suspect there is mold in your system can help you catch it and have it removed before some of the side effects can affect you and your family.