When mold invades your property, it will spread by dispersing its spores throughout the home or building to affect other areas. But if it has developed in your HVAC system, the process of it spreading is accelerated because the air flow is helping to push the spores to affect new surfaces.
In addition, there are many health risks associated with mold as its spores trigger a number of allergic reactions and respiratory issues, including coughing, sneezing, watery eyes, itchy eyes, runny nose, and a variety of other health problems.
Common Causes of Mold in Air Ducts
Despite the dangers of mold growing within the home, it is common for it to develop within the ductwork. In the warmer seasons, cool air is sent throughout the ducts and moisture condensates along the sides, creating the perfect environment for mold to grow. Within a short period of time, the fungus is able to spread throughout the home or building and cause problems for everyone.
If you have found yourself in this situation, you can either hire a professional mold removal company or save a few dollars by following these HVAC mold removal tips.
How to Remove Mold from HVAC System
When it comes to cleaning mold, there are a number of chemicals and natural cleaners that can be used, although some will be more effective than others, depending on the species and how far it has penetrated.
Removing it from air ducts deep within your home can be tricky because they can be hard to reach, so you may have to remove them from their place in order to clean them properly. But you can follow these steps in removing mold from the air vents first to prevent the majority of the mold from spreading to other areas.
- Wear personal protection. Protecting your health and safety is the first priority in any cleaning process. Make sure that you are wearing gloves, eyewear, and a breathing mask to avoid all contact with the mold.
- Turn off the HVAC system. As long as the air is blowing, mold spores are floating throughout the ductwork, making it extremely dangerous to your health.
- Identify the cause. Finding the cause of the mold is essential so you won’t have to worry about it returning in the future when you are done cleaning. For example, if moisture levels within your home are too high, they need to be turned down. Or if there is too much water running in the air conditioning unit, there is significant condensation within the ductwork that is allowing the spores to develop.
- Clean the air vent cover. Before applying any chemicals, close the register first. Then spray the vent cover with vinegar, allowing it to sit for an hour. You can then wipe down the surface with paper towels; just make sure to throw them away in a heavy-duty garbage bag when you are done.
- Remove the air vent cover. After removing the screws from the cover, place it upside down on the floor on top of a plastic bag. Then repeat the process of spraying the back of the cover with vinegar, allowing it to sit for another hour and wiping it with paper towels afterwards.
- Inspect the insulation. Mold thrives in insulation because of its porous surface and the moisture it can hold. If this is close to your ductwork, make sure that it is not affected or else you will need to throw it out right away and order a replacement.
- Clean the air ducts. As long as there is not an infestation within the ductwork, you should be able to spray the vinegar onto the metal and allow it to sit for an hour. Just make sure to wipe it with the paper towels after you are done, or it will only spread further. For spots that are harder to reach, you may have to remove part of the ductwork, or contact a mold remediation specialist for help.
Vinegar is the most effective solution for removing mold because it penetrates through the surface and attacks the membrane, unlike other cleaners. But removing mold is considered dangerous and difficult due to the spores it releases as well as its ability to penetrate deep within its affected surface.
But if you have used vinegar and found that it doesn’t work, you can try mixing water with other chemicals, such as: bleach, baking soda, Lysol, grapefruit seed oil, tea-tree oil, or another mold-removing cleaner from your local hardware store. Again, some chemicals are more effective for different species and surfaces, so you may have to experiment with a few different cleaners.
Professional Mold Removal
When you have found yourself stuck, the fungus just doesn’t seem to be coming off, and you have exhausted all resources, it is best to contact the professionals. A professional mold remediation company will use advanced products to penetrate deep within the mold walls to eliminate it at the source. They will also remove the cause of the mold or inform you of what you can do – such as running a dehumidifier – to ensure the fungus does not return in the future.
When searching for a professional company, you can contact your local ServiceMaster. Although they specialize in disaster restoration, they are experts in mold remediation. Their technicians understand that the situation must be addressed right away and they will not hesitate to treat the affected area to prevent the problem from becoming worse. Finally, they will ensure that the mold does not return in the future by removing the cause or source of the moisture, disallowing it to develop in the same area.