Mold growth in an HVAC system can cause serious indoor air quality issues and health problems if left unchecked. Mold spores circulating through your home's ductwork get blown into the living spaces, leading to allergy symptoms and other concerns.
So, how to prevent mold in HVAC system? Regular maintenance, changing air filters, installing UV lights, and keeping humidity under 50% are keys to preventing mold growth in your HVAC.
Fortunately, with some preventative maintenance and proper care, you can stop mold from taking hold in your HVAC system. Here are tips for keeping mold out of your air conditioning equipment and ducts.
The first step is to thoroughly inspect all of your ductwork and HVAC components for any visible mold growth. Turn off your system and use a strong flashlight to look inside air vents, ducts, the air handler, blower motor compartment, and evaporator coils. Look for areas of black, green, or white fuzzy growth. Also, check for water stains or moisture, which can allow mold to grow. If you find mold, take steps to clean and disinfect those areas.
Excess moisture is the main factor that allows mold to grow. Use a hygrometer to monitor the humidity levels in your home. The ideal range is 30-50 percent relative humidity. Use a dehumidifier during humid summer months to keep moisture under control. Make sure your home has proper ventilation, as stagnant indoor air can lead to high humidity. Open windows periodically or run exhaust fans to circulate fresh air.
Dirty air filters can allow increased dust and moisture into your HVAC system, providing a breeding ground for mold. Change your filters every 1-3 months, depending on use. Electrostatic pleated filters do the best job trapping mold spores and preventing them from circulating through your home. Consider upgrading to a HEPA filter if someone in your home has severe allergies or asthma.
An HVAC technician can thoroughly inspect, clean, and disinfect all components of your air conditioning system as part of yearly maintenance. They can catch small amounts of mold growth before major infestations occur. A tune-up improves efficiency and airflow while checking refrigerant levels and other functions to prevent ice buildup on coils. Better airflow means drier coils and ducts.
Refrigerant leaks, drain line clogs, or condensate pan issues can all cause water to accumulate in the HVAC system. Any leaks or drips should be repaired immediately before moisture problems lead to mold growth. Insulate cold refrigerant lines to reduce condensation as well. Keep the condensate drain line clean and flowing freely so moisture doesn’t back up.
As part of your AC unit's ductwork, you can install UV-C germicidal lamps that kill mold, bacteria, and viruses as air passes over them. The UV light damages the DNA of microorganisms, neutralizing their ability to reproduce and spread. Just a minute of exposure kills most mold and other biological contaminants. UV light systems provide ongoing disinfection without chemicals or ozone.
There are biocidal products and foggers marketed for cleaning HVAC mold and disinfecting ductwork. However, many are ineffective or simply cover up the problem. Chemical spraying can also spread spores to other areas. Unless you have a serious mold issue, skip the duct cleaning products and focus more on addressing the conditions that enable mold growth and mold prevention.
Rodents, insects, and other pests in the attic or crawlspace can spread mold into the HVAC system. Droppings and nesting debris can provide food sources for mold growth. Get rid of any pests and thoroughly clean up any remnants in your ducts. Make sure screens on vents and drains keep critters out of your air conditioning system.
Preventing mold in an HVAC system requires staying vigilant against moisture and keeping all components clean. But catching issues early and doing proper maintenance goes a long way towards healthy indoor air free from mold hazards. With a bit of care and awareness, your air conditioning equipment can keep providing clean, comfortable air for your home.
Be wary of poor ventilation and excess moisture accumulation in your house or property.
About Humble HVAC Repair Pros
Humble HVAC Repair Pros has been servicing the local community for over fifteen years. Each contractor is certified and experienced in residential and commercial HVAC care, including air filtration and duct cleaning services. To schedule an appointment, please call (281) 336-9448.
What is a HVAC mold inhibitor?
HVAC mold inhibitors are products designed to prevent mold growth inside air conditioning systems and ductwork. They typically contain anti-microbial chemicals or UV lights that kill mold spores and stop them from spreading through the ducts into a home.
Does not running HVAC cause mold?
Not running your HVAC system can lead to increased humidity and mold growth for several reasons. When the AC unit is not circulating and dehumidifying the air, moisture can build up inside the ductwork. Stagnant air with no airflow allows humid conditions that enable mold to thrive. Turning your HVAC system on regularly helps keep humidity under control and prevents mold issues from developing in unused ducts. However, simply running a non-working system won't solve underlying maintenance problems that allow mold to grow.
How do I know if my HVAC has mold?
You can visually check your HVAC system and air ducts for signs of mold growth, which may appear black, green, or white and fuzzy. You may also notice a musty odor when the system runs or experience allergy symptoms that get worse when you are inside, which could indicate mold spores are being distributed through your home's ductwork.