Having mold in your ductwork could severely lessen the air quality in your home, no matter how much mold there is inside. That means your family could potentially deal with the side effects that follow, such as coughing, sneezing, a runny nose, trouble breathing, and more. The U.S. EPA says you should inspect ductwork regularly. This includes checking not only for mold but for moisture as well.
Identifying the Presence of Mold in Your HVAC System
Mold in your HVAC system can be a silent threat, often going unnoticed until it’s a significant problem. However, the first step towards remediation is identifying its presence. Fortunately, it’s not as difficult as you may think to determine the presence of mold in your HVAC system — as long as you know the signs to look for:
- Visual Inspection: Mold typically appears as black, green, or white spots or streaks inside the ductwork, around vents, or on other parts of your HVAC system. You might need a flashlight to check dark and hard-to-reach areas.
- Unusual Smells: If your house has a musty or earthy smell that intensifies when the air conditioning or heating is turned on, it could indicate mold in your air ducts.
- Health Symptoms: If you or your family members experience unexplained health issues like allergies, respiratory problems, headaches, or fatigue, it might be due to mold spores circulating in the air.
- High Humidity Levels: If your home consistently has a high level of humidity, it creates a conducive environment for mold growth.
How To Clean The Mold
To begin the cleaning process, you must ensure your HVAC system is not running. Assuming there is mold in the ductwork, you do not want it to circulate even further with the system running. You can then choose a mold removal detergent and spray it around any supply vents showing signs of mold. After letting the detergent sit for a few minutes, scrub the area before vacuuming any remaining particles. As always, be sure to wear protective gear like gloves, goggles, and a mask throughout the process.
While you could rent equipment, like a fogger machine, and properly attack the mold problem in your air ducts, doing it yourself will likely offer a temporary solution. The odds of you missing a spot and the mold growing back are rather high since you need to be precise and use the proper professional equipment. Instead, most experts agree that you should hire a professional, like Mold Medics, to come in and eliminate all of the mold in order to guarantee the desired resolution of total mold removal.
DIY Mold Cleaner: The Baking Soda, Detergent, Water Solution, or Using Bleach or Vinegar
One of the most effective ways to remove mold from your air ducts is by using a homemade solution of baking soda, detergent, and water. This mix is efficient and safe for your health and the environment.
A typical ingredient set would include (adjust as necessary):
- 1 tablespoon of baking soda
- 1/2 cup of detergent
- 1 cup of warm water
- Combine all the ingredients in a bucket or spray bottle.
- Apply the solution generously on the moldy areas in your air ducts.
- Let it sit for about 15 to 20 minutes.
- Scrub the area with a brush to loosen the mold.
- Rinse off with clean water and dry thoroughly to prevent future mold growth.
Alternative Method: Using Bleach or Vinegar
Bleach and vinegar are potent mold killers. However, they should be used cautiously due to their strong odors and potential to irritate.
- 1 cup of bleach
- 1 gallon of water
- Pure white vinegar
- For the bleach solution, mix the bleach and water in a bucket.
- If using vinegar, no dilution is necessary. Pour it into a spray bottle.
- Apply the solution to the moldy area. Do not rinse after applying bleach, as it prevents future mold growth. Vinegar can be left to dry or rinsed off after an hour.
- Ensure the area is well-ventilated during and after the process to disperse the strong odors and fumes.
Always wear protective gear such as gloves and a mask when handling these solutions and dealing with mold in general.
How To Prevent Future Mold Growth
After successfully removing the mold from your HVAC system, it’s crucial to take measures to prevent its return. Mold spores can quickly multiply under the right conditions, leading to a recurring problem that’s not only bothersome but also hazardous to your health. If you want to avoid any of the headaches and stress that comes with discovering mold in your air ducts, there are some simple steps you can take, like:
- Replacing your HVAC filters regularly
- Using a dehumidifier to control humidity
- Keep the spaces in front of your vent clear to prevent condensation
- Cleaning your drip pans
Even though these actions aren’t guaranteed to stop mold growth, they can help keep your air cleaner for a longer period of time.
When to Call an Expert
DIY methods can be very effective for mold removal, but they aren’t the end all be all. Mold removal experts exist for a reason, typically for complex issues like mold in your air ducts. Navigating mold is already a problematic issue, much less trying to remove it from hard-to-reach locations like your ducts. So, when should you call on an expert mold removal team for your air ducts? We’ll break it down below.
Large Scale Infestation
If the mold has spread extensively throughout your HVAC system, it’s time to call a professional. They have specialized equipment and techniques to effectively remove mold from large areas.
Persistent Mold Growth
If you’ve tried removing the mold yourself, but it keeps coming back, this could indicate a deeper issue. Professionals can diagnose the root cause of persistent mold growth and provide a long-term solution.
Exposure to mold can lead to health problems, especially for individuals with allergies, asthma, or a compromised immune system. If anyone in your home falls into these categories, it’s safer to have a professional handle the mold removal.
Not all molds are created equal. Some types, like black mold, can be particularly hazardous, while other types, like red mold, can be confusing and leave you wondering what you’re looking at. If you’re unsure about the kind of mold in your air ducts, get a professional opinion.
Mold can grow in hidden areas within your HVAC system. If you suspect there’s mold but can’t locate it, a professional can help. They have tools that can reach into deep corners and hidden areas of your system.
Contact Mold Medics Today
At Mold Medics, removing mold from air ducts is our specialty! Click here to learn more about our air duct cleaning services and what you should know before contacting our team. Once you have answered our short list of questions, you can submit your case to us and get a quote for our removal efforts. If you would rather talk to a member of our team, just call (888) 992-7947.