How to Deal with Ductwork Mold
Ductwork Mold, also known as mildew, is a silent and hazardous fungi that can quickly spread throughout your HVAC system and home. Mold caused a variety of health problems in humans and animals but is particularly harmful to children. With the right conditions for growth, it can quickly spread everywhere into your home causing breathing, irritation and other more harmful allergic reactions in anyone within the affected area.
Since mold naturally exists in the environment around us it is practically impossible to eliminate entirely, however, you can control the factors needed for it to grow and spread in your home. Since it is the result of microscopic spores that tend to accumulate and proliferate in damp dark places you seldom look it can be easy to have a problem and not realize it until the damage is already being done.
If mold makes its way into your air ducts, HVAC system, ductwork, and vents then it can spread even faster since it will be circulated to other parts of the system and your home. It’s important to know how to identify and remove ductwork mold from your system to keep yourself and your family safe.
What To Do If I have Mold?
It can be very difficult to remove ductwork mold and mold throughout the HVAC system. Before proceeding with the mold removal steps we will provide, it is imperative to make sure first that what you are dealing with is in fact mold. The entire mold removal process is not only costly but also very time-consuming.
If you do have ductwork mold, the best thing you can do is call in the professionals. A mold remediation expert will first inspect your home and take the appropriate steps to find out where all the mold is in your home and remove it.
Is Mold A Health Hazard?
Yes, Mold is very hazardous for your health and anyone breathing it, including animals. Mold infestation and inhalation can lead to serious respiratory problems including but not limited to coughing sneezing, as well as nose and throat problems.
Your skin can also break out in a rash and even swell depending on how sensitive your skin is and how serious the mold is in your home. You can also suffer from chronic fatigue when you are exposed to too much mold.
Some more serious allergic reactions can result in internal bleeding from the lungs and nosebleeds. You may suffer from nausea or even severe vomiting.
What Causes HVAC Mold?
HVAC mold proliferation is typically the result of accumulated condensation that builds up from the hot and cold air blowing in and out of the system. If this leads to water and moisture in a dark and concentrated area then naturally mold will begin to grow. Other common areas for mold include attics, basements, and in cabinets with sinks.
Of course, one of the most common places where mold grows is in your HVAC system. This is because there is a high level of moisture and condensation. These two factors come into play most commonly during the summer months of the year. During summer the air conditioning can lead to water vapor making its way inside your air ducts. If the area is very humid and the water is not able to evaporate then it can quickly cause mold to grow and spread.
As the moisture accumulates and captures other particles of dust and dander it quickly becomes a feeding ground for mold as it feeds off organic materials which then, in turn, help it proliferate.
How to Find HVAC Mold
An easy way to check if you have mold is to look at the vents and drips pans connected to your air ducts. If you see mold around either of these then you most likely have a more serious ductwork mold problems elsewhere. If you are familiar with the scent of mold then you can try and smell inside your ventilation system to check or even get into the bigger areas and give it a good look also.
What Are Black Mold Signs?
If mold is left untreated then it will turn black, becoming more toxic and dangerous. Black mold can release spores as it feasts on materials that are organic like carpet, drywall, wood, and insulation. If the problem is really bad then the mold will start growing out of the vents and even onto the walls around where the air ventilation is located.
If you do not see these obvious visible signs but still suspect there is a mold issue going on then you should have someone crawl inside and take a deeper and closer look.
How to Clean Ducts and Vents
Now that you know some of the common ways to diagnose whether you have mold or not in your air ducts, you should also understand what it takes to remove the mold and fix the problem. If your mold problem is significant, you should call in the professionals to take a look before you start cleaning out your air ducts.
The professional should test for mold throughout the entirety of your home. This person will also tell you if there is a presence of black mold. If your home is not infested with black mold, the test is still worth doing as it will tell you if the concentration of mold and mildew in your home is too high.
If you believe your mold problem is containable, here is a step by step guide that you can follow to clean the ductwork mold and vents yourself:
- Find A Good Mold Removal Agent – There are a number of solutions you can use to clean mold. The easiest and most cost-effective is to use Vinegar or another household detergent mixed with water.
- Use Protection – Mold is very toxic so it is strongly recommended to wear protective gear like gloves, eyewear and an N95 mask for breathing.
- Turn Off Your System And Vacuum The Mold – Scrub off all the mold and use a towel that can be disposed of to wash away any leftover mold and solution. Once you have cleaned the area, vacuum your vents as well. Repeat this process as many times as necessary until all the mold is gone.
- Destroy Waste – Once you’ve cleaned everything, bag all your clothes, gloves, respirator, and anything else that was used to clean away the mold. Dispose of these as quickly as possible. You should also dispose of your furnace filters if these were affected by mold.
- Use a Commercial Mold Inhibitor – These inhibitors can stop mold from growing back in your vents and ducts. Only purchase a product that is EPA-registered and apply it to the entirety of your air vents while following the manufacturer’s instructions.
- Maintain Your Vents – Now that you have tackled the problem, it is essential that you keep a close eye on it in order to stop the mold from growing back. While mold in these areas is not unusual, if you notice it coming back within 48 hours, the likelihood is, you have a damp problem.
How To Clean Mold From Vents?
While you can clean mold from your air conditioner vents and HVAC system using the method above, there are certain factors you need to consider when undertaking the job yourself, these are:
- Reach All The Different Components – If you do not reach all the different components in your air conditioner vents or HVAC system, you will not eliminate all the spores, thus giving them the time and space to grow back within just a couple of days.
- A Cloth Or Mop Won’t Do The Trick – While many just wipe away mildew and mold hoping that it does the trick, the mold will grow back. In order for the problem to stay contained, you have to eliminate all the spores by using a killing agent. All the solutions mentioned above will get the job done if applied correctly.
- Replace Your Insulation Vents – While the above do-it-yourself solutions are great at fighting mold, if you have insulated vents, the spores will likely not all be eradicated. To ensure that all the mold is gone you may have to totally replace your insulated vents.
- Inspect Your System Carefully – Once you have cleaned your HVAC system and replaced the parts that require replacing, you need to undertake a full inspection. This means the inside of your heating system or furnace must be checked as well as the coils in order to ensure that all the mold has been remediated.
- Call The Professionals – If you have a black mold problem, DIY solutions will likely not do the trick. In this case, you should ask for professional help. A mold remediation professional will have all the necessary products and cleaning tools to get rid of your mold problem.
Not only this, professionals know how to remove and replace the adequate parts to ensure your whole system is spotless. This mold remediation process will eliminate the chances of cross-contamination, meaning that black mold will not spread to other areas of your home.
In addition to all the above, an expert will be able to tell you how to avoid this problem from occurring in the future, thus saving you money while also allowing you to keep your family safe and healthy in the long run.