What to Know About Mold and Your HVAC System?
Mold is a common problem in humid environments, especially if that humidity gets inside your home. Your HVAC system is supposed to help reduce humidity, but in some cases, it can actually make the problem worse. If you would like to protect your HVAC system and home from mold, keep reading to learn more about mold and HVAC systems.
Causes of Mold From the HVAC System
If you live in a humid environment, the air inside your home may be a little uncomfortable. On top of that, the excess moisture in the air seeps into or settles on everything, providing an excellent water source for mold. For this reason, especially in humid climates, your HVAC system should remove some moisture from the air.
It does this in cycles: the system turns on to cool and dehumidify the home. Once the home reaches a comfortable temperature, the system turns itself off until cooled air is necessary again. As long as your AC unit is the right size, the cycles are long enough to properly cool/heat your home and remove moisture from the air, leaving humidity levels around 30 to 50 percent.
If the system is too big, however, it is too efficient at quickly cooling the house, causing the system to go through cycles quickly. Not only is this a huge energy waste, but it doesn’t give the system enough time to properly remove moisture. As a result, mold may begin to grow inside the ductwork and the rest of the home.
Signs of Mold in the HVAC System
The most obvious sign of mold growth is visible mold, which may start as small green or black specks. Over time, the specks can grow and even become fuzzy-looking. Unfortunately, if the mold is hidden under paint or wallpaper, you can’t see it, but you can see bubbling or peeling paint, which may indicate mold growth.
Another notorious sign is an unpleasant, musty odor inside your house. This is especially problematic if the odor only happens when the system blows cold or heated air because this may mean the mold is inside the ductwork, which can be hard to locate and clean without professional help.
Finally, mold can also affect you, making you feel sick, especially if you already have breathing or allergy problems. Even if you don’t, however, the spores and toxins from mold can make you feel itchy (skin and eyes), and you may even have cold-like symptoms.
Prevention and Removal of Mold
One of the best ways to prevent mold is to ensure your system is the right size and that it is always kept in good condition. This includes regular cleaning, maintaining drain pans, replacing air filters, or occasionally cleaning ducts. Another way to prevent mold growth is with an HVAC mold inhibitor. These are registered with the EPA, and they can actually inhibit the growth of both mold and mildew.
A similar solution may be to be asking about UV filters. UV filters use UV rays to kill irritants like mold spores so they can’t even get into the system in the first place.
Once mold has begun to grow, you should remove it as soon as possible, but because some forms of mold can be dangerous, have a professional clean and disinfect everything. Some materials, such as drywall, which is porous, may need removing and replacing to fully eliminate the risk of illness from mold.
Mold isn’t always deadly, but it can make your life uncomfortable, especially if you have allergies, asthma, or a similar complication. The right HVAC system, however, will help keep humidity low, so mold has no place to grow. If you would like to know more about HVAC systems and mold, contact us at Baton Rouge Air Conditioning and Heating.