Mold is a common problem that many people face when it comes to their homes. However, one place where mold is hazardous is in your air conditioning system. If you have a mold problem in your AC unit, you need to take action immediately. You must understand how mold can affect both your health and the overall functionality of your air conditioning unit.
Conditions Leading to Mold Growth
Mold spores can grow in a warm, moist environment. They need certain conditions to survive but will not grow or thrive unless these conditions are present. The most common factors leading to mold growth are:
Moisture is the most common cause of mold growth in your AC. This can happen if there is a leak in the system or if you don’t clean it often enough. If you don’t clean the unit’s coils and vents regularly, they can become clogged with dust and dirt, which will prevent air from flowing correctly through them. The result? A drop in efficiency and a buildup of excess condensation on the inside of your AC unit. This excess condensation will cause mold to grow in areas where it collects, especially in dark corners that are hard to reach during cleaning.
The ideal temperature for mold growth is between 70 and 77 degrees Fahrenheit. When the temperature is above this range, you’re inviting mold spores to make their home in your AC unit. If your AC unit sits in an area where it is always warm, you can expect that there is a lot of mold growing inside.
Nutrients are the building blocks of life. They act as catalysts for the growth and reproduction of microorganisms and plants. These nutrients are usually inorganic compounds like nitrates and phosphates, but organic compounds such as proteins can also be considered nutrients.
The presence of nutrients makes it possible for mold to grow in your air conditioning system. The most common nutrient found in AC units is water.
Air Conditioning System Mold Problem Areas
The following article tries to address some common pathways where problems may arise due to faulty parts and system construction, leading to the problem of AC-related molds.
1. Cold AC Supply Air Duct Leakage
Cold air supply ducts are the most common source of mold growth in an HVAC system. These ducts are typically located in the attic or crawl space, where they can be subject to moisture intrusion and high humidity. And if your ducts are leaking cold air into these areas, especially if they’re also in contact with wood framing members or insulation, you may have a problem with your hands.
For example, you’re dealing with a leaky cold air return duct that sends air back into your home from your furnace. The cold air will bring moisture with it when it passes through the leaking area of the return duct and then into your home. When this moisture is trapped by loose insulation or wood framing members, it creates condensation and causes mold growth.
2. An Unsealed Supply
Ducts that are not sealed when they enter the attic or crawl space can allow moisture to enter and cause mold growth. The HVAC technician should check this area for evidence of mold growth during every inspection.
3. Poorly Fitted Filter
The main areas that can cause problems for an air conditioning system are poorly fitted filters or AC cabinet access doors and unsealed duct connections at the AC unit.
If you have poor sealing in your air conditioning system, it will be challenging to keep mold and mildew from growing in there. This is because mold needs a moist environment to thrive in, and if there’s no moisture, it can’t grow. So if you have any leaks in your home’s ductwork or around your windows or doors, you should probably get those fixed right away.
4. Plugged or Improperly Installed Drainage Piping
Cooling coils are part of an air conditioning system that provides cooled air to the inside of your home. The cooling coil is a long, thin metal tube full of water. When the AC is running, a fan blows air through this tube, where it’s cooled by evaporation of water contained in the coil.
If you have an AC installed in your home, or if you’re thinking about installing one, make sure that your unit has proper drainage piping and pan installation so that they’re not prone to mold growth.
5. Poorly Insulated Refrigerant Lines
If your air conditioning system is not adequately insulated, it can be a breeding ground for mold. Insulated refrigerant lines are often exposed to moisture when not correctly suspended. This moisture can cause the insulation to deteriorate, leaving the refrigerant line vulnerable to mold growth.
When your air conditioner is improperly insulated, it is possible that the insulation surrounding your refrigerant lines may not be thick enough or well enough sealed to protect against moisture damage.
How to Detect Mold in Your Air Conditioner
Mold can be a big problem for your air conditioner, and it can be hard to tell whether or not you have mold growing inside. You should check for discoloration on the coils, smell of the air coming from the vents, condensation on the outside, and water leaks at the unit bottom.
How Do I Get Rid of Mold in My Air Conditioner?
Mold can be a problem when it comes to air conditioners. If you find that your air conditioner is growing mold, it’s time for some maintenance.
The first step is to clean the fans and coils. You can use a bleach-water solution or just plain tap water. Make sure you have a clean rag or paper towel to wipe the debris off of the coils after cleaning them.
Next, check for any leaks in your system that could be causing excess moisture buildup in your unit. If there are leaks, you should get them repaired by a professional as soon as possible. This can help prevent further mold growth in the future.
If you don’t have any leaks, it may be time to replace your air conditioning unit entirely. This will likely save money on repairs down the road and let you enjoy cleaner air without worrying about mold spores creeping up on you every time you turn on your AC.
How Do I Prevent Mold From Growing in My Air Conditioner?
Mold growth can be a severe problem for your AC unit, but it’s not something that happens overnight. You can take a few steps to prevent mold from growing in your AC system and ensure that it runs smoothly for years to come.
First, you should ensure that you’re using a dehumidifier in your home and setting it to the proper humidity levels (40-50%). This will help keep the air in your house dry and prevent mold growth.
Cleaning out the unit regularly is one of the easiest ways to prevent mold growth. Remove any debris from the unit and make sure all vents are clear of dust and dirt. If there’s any moisture buildup inside the unit, dry it out before turning it back on.
You can also try using a HEPA filter on your HVAC system, which will trap pollutants and allergens before entering your home’s air supply. This helps keep things clean and fresh in the long run.
Get Help From a Professional
Your AC needs to be serviced regularly to keep working and not collect mold. Schedule a routine check-up or repair service with a professional Bel-Aire Heating & cooling contractor.
We have serviced the greater Michigan area providing a full range of heating and air conditioning services to a full suite of indoor air quality solutions for over 60 years. We have a long-standing BBB A+ rating and are a Lennox Premier Dealer. We don’t just promise to solve your problem. We’ll consult with you to deliver on our promise of world-class service by providing innovative solutions that fit your needs.
Here at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, we are happy to service all your home or business heating and air conditioning needs. Contact us today to learn more about our services or schedule an appointment.