Is Your HVAC System Creating Mold? How Can You Prevent It?

mold in air ducts

Air conditioning systems are a major culprit in the creation and spreading of mold. Mold can be spread through ducts/pipes throughout the building and permeate every room. Damp drainage pans can often be the culprit when it comes to mold creation. Often you will see mold sports in the pan, and if surrounding areas are not cleaned routinely, the mold can spread very quickly to other areas within the building. HVAC experts are well aware of the dangers that mold presents to anyone inhabiting the space, and know how important it is to prevent the mold from developing, let alone spreading.

Usually no one knows that they have mold in their HVAC system until it is seen with the naked eye. At that point, the mold has probably spread massively. But why is the mold so prevalent in HVAC systems and buildings? Mold needs several items to survive: moisture, certain nutrients, and a specific range of temperature. Buildings provide all the nutrients that mold could ever want. These nutrients are found in wood, carpet, cardboard, paper, drywall, etc. Pile that on top of the fact that the indoor temperature/climate you love so much usually happens to be the exact temperature that mold LOVES! One way to combat the growth and spread of mold is to reduce the amount of humidity within the building. Remember, humidity means there’s moisture in the air, and when moisture is present, mold multiplies. Having mold within a building can cause its inhabitants to have severely agitated lungs and respiratory complications. So, the goal of your air conditioning unit is to not only provide you with a comfortable indoor climate, but to also reduce the amount of humidity within the building.

Now, the visible mold can be reduced quite easily with certain cleaners, like biocides, fungicides, and other mold cleaners. However, this isn’t going to solve your problem. That mold will spread once again to a visible area if you don’t clean out your ducts and the rest of your HVAC system…not to mention, just because you can’t SEE the mold doesn’t mean you’re not BREATHING it in. If mold is present, it usually means that the building has a poor ventilation system and a bad dehumidification process. Obviously, redesigning the building isn’t really an option. That means that the building will continue to build up mold over time. To combat this, you’ll want to schedule regular HVAC maintenance and cleaning to ensure mold cannot grow past a certain extent and is being reduced as much as possible. Your HVAC expert will ensure that your drain pans and coils are free of standing water. They will clean and inspect your humidification and dehumidification equipment. You will need to ensure that your air filters are changed routinely and fit properly, to prevent any mold accumulation from permeating your living space.