Or an HVAC technician might discover the mold when performing routine maintenance or repairs. RELATED: 14 Surprising Places Where Mold Hides in the Home. Before you start, assemble your tools and materials and then don a dust mask, goggles, and gloves. Mold anywhere in your home can make you sick, of course. Mold in air conditioning units is mostly the result of not cleaning the system or having regular maintenance done on it. As soon as you switch your heater or air conditioner on, the microscopic particles start floating and blowing out with air into the room. Unfortunately, people often don't realize they have mold in their air conditioners for quite a while. At least initially, mold blown from a window air conditioning unit affects only the room in which the window unit is installed. Soak the filter soak in a sink with hot soapy water to which you’ve added approximately 1/2 cup of bleach. As cool air flows through the vents on hot days, the moisture in the air can condense inside the air vent. It is now known that mold causes mental health problems as well as allergy and asthma symptoms. Note: This article deals with AC odors, which are moldy, mildewy smells (like old socks, wet dogs, etc.) Remove the top and the back of the cabinet, following the directions in your owner’s manual. Wipe any visible mold growth. Condensation forms in the coils and ducts as cool air circulates through the system, creating a habitat for moisture-loving mold. Disclosure: BobVila.com participates in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for publishers to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. If you don't see any mold, though, that does not mean you're in the clear. Leading to leaks in your home that result in costly property damage. Expert advice from Bob Vila, the most trusted name in home improvement, home remodeling, home repair, and DIY. Mold spores - mold is usual. The appearance of mold in your window air conditioner usually means you have a problem somewhere, either in the unit itself, or the house. Throughout the hotter months of the year, every time the blower on your air conditioner comes on it is spreading mold spores further along your HVAC ductwork as well as into every room in your home. Simple. Q: There’s been a mysterious, slightly moldy smell in my home all summer, and this morning, when our window air conditioner kicked on, I noticed that the odor unmistakably came from the unit. Even if you are skeptical as to whether or not mold is truly bad, there is no doubt that it can potentially cause harmful health effects. What causes mold to form on air conditioning systems? Three things are necessary for black mold on a window air conditioner. To find qualified professionals in your area that can test your air conditioner and HVAC system for mold, just follow the link. It’s common to find mold in your air conditioner or furnace. The serial number on the unit indicates that it is a 4 ton unit, thus is it rated to cool a 2400 sf house. Mold can also trigger allergic reactions. You agree that BobVila.com may process your data in the manner described by our Privacy Policy. Additionally, mold in your a/c system can have serious consequences since it easily spreads mold … When mold grows within the central heating, cooling, and ventilation system, there are high chances that every room connected to the vents receives generous amounts of mold spores. Mildew, a common type of mold, produces powdery gray or white stains. Whether the mold is in your air conditioner unit or in your home heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts, it is a health hazard. If you suspect that mold is in your AC unit, the US Environmental Protection Agency recommends turning it off so no more mold spores can circulate and contaminate your home. Mold spores naturally traveling in the air attach to damp areas then begin to grow. Grab a flashlight and inspect the inside of the unit for the signs of mold growth, which may appear as streaks or clusters of brown, black, or greenish stains, some of which may appear fuzzy. Scrub the moldy areas of your air conditioner well, and clean the air conditioner front grille if it’s moldy. Is there any way to remove mold from an air conditioner? In addition, don’t shut off your AC if you won’t be using it for a few days or longer during hot weather. That is not the case with central air conditioning, however. Though it’s naturally occurring, the repercussions of a moldy air conditioner are enough to make you spring into action and look for a solution. As soon as the air conditioner is turned off, though, the mold spores will land on various surfaces, such as the carpet and furniture, and mold may begin to grow there if the conditions are right. How To Waterproof Your Basement - Step-by-step Guide & Products to Use, Cleaning Mold Naturally …..Compare Options, Effectiveness. Knowing the causes of window AC mold can help you prevent it from again once you've cleaned your AC. Saturate a scrubbing sponge in the bleach solution and use it to wipe the inside surfaces of the AC unit, removing all traces of visible mold. The mold spores irritate and inflame the airway and lungs, causing coughing, sneezing, sinusitis, bronchitis, pneumonia, asthma attacks, and other respiratory problems. You’ve probably heard the term “black mold,” but many probably don’t fully understand what it is. What Causes Mold In Air Conditioner? If you need to have mold removed from your air conditioner or your home's HVAC system, including your air ducts, the Environmental Protection Agency recommends choosing a professional that complies with the standards established by the National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA). Air conditioner vents can be breeding grounds for black mold. Get free, no-commitment estimates from mold removal experts near you. When you inhale tiny, airborne mold spores, your body recognizes them as foreign invaders and develops allergy-causing antibodies to fight them.After the exposure has passed, you still produce antibodies that \"remember\" this invader so that any later contact with the mold causes your immune system to react. In a bucket, mix ½ cup bleach, 1 tablespoon mild dish soap, and 3 gallons hot water. Moisture is the building block for mold and mildew growth which can cause a musty smell from your air conditioners. If you think there might be mold in your air conditioner, you can look at the filter, the evaporator coils, and the other parts that are easily visible. If it’s filled with heavy mold growth, indicated by mold and mildew deposits that cover one-third or more of the surface area of the case and the internal workings, it’s probably time to replace the unit (see below for the problems associated with heavy mold growth). That gives mold time to spread throughout the house and make you sick without even knowing its happening. You can see the same principle at work when you drink an icy beverage, and water beads up on the outside of the glass. In the worst cases, this can be life-threatening. RELATED: The Dark, Dirty Truth About Household Mold (And How to Rid Yourself of It). Once you’ve had mold in the air conditioner unit, there’s an increased risk that it will develop again despite your cleaning efforts. Spray the filter that’s been soaking in the sink with the hose to remove all debris. Here is more about health problems due to black mold. Alternately, you could call a mold remediation specialist to inspect the unit to see if it can be professionally cleaned, but the consultation could cost as much as purchasing a new air conditioner. You can read more about mold in window air conditioners here. If upon your initial inspection, you discover rampant mold and mildew in the air conditioner, do not attempt to clean it. If your air conditioner or HVAC ducts test positive for mold after the mold removal job has been done, the professional should come back and remove any remaining mold without any additional cost to you. Even healthy adults who do not have allergies or asthma can be affected by mold and poor indoor air quality. Spray the coils with a garden hose to remove the coil cleaner solution. Mold is common in environments that have Dirt, Dampness, and Darkness. In the above referenced area the inspector observed a new air conditioner. You can read more about mold in the lungs. Common Causes of Black Mold in Air Vents. Exposure to mold can make you sick in several ways. Clogged filters. Copyright © 2020 Acton Media Inc. All rights reserved. And the truth is, if you have mold in your air conditioner, there is probably also mold in the HVAC ducts, since it's all connected. This can be a big problem because the air conditioner will rapidly spread the air throughout the entire environment, which can lead to a musty odor infiltration inside the whole home. If you find just a few traces of mold on the hard surfaces inside the unit, proceed with cleaning. The symptoms may vary from person to person, and can also depend on the length of exposure and the amount of spores inhaled. An experienced professional will visit your home, inspect for mold, and advise you about the work that needs to be done. You can find qualified mold remediation professionals offering free in-home consultations in your area by following the link provided. Air conditioners work by taking air from the outdoors. This will allow air to circulate through the unit and reduce the risk of mold growing while you’re gone. Not everyone is allergic to mold, but it is a common allergen. Bottom line: It’s unhealthy to breathe air contaminated with mold spores, so if you can’t effectively clean the unit, it should be replaced. And, you risk damaging the unit or voiding the warranty. Unfortunately, air conditioners represent a particular problem area for mold, since they push the air and mold spores through the house and into the air you breathe. Allow the unit to air-dry completely, which could take up to 24 hours, before reassembling the unit and reinstalling it in your window. Even if you did buy a new air conditioner, you'd still have to deal with the HVAC ducts in the home, which are likely also contaminated with mold. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommends hiring a professional that adheres to the professional standards established by industry organizations like the American Industrial Hygiene Association and the American Conference of Governmental Industrial Hygienists. There is no cost and no obligation on your part. Heater and Air Conditioner Mold Removal Removing mold in your air conditioning system can be very difficult because a lot of places are hard to access, especially areas inside your air ducts. While window AC units are fairly waterproof, avoid spraying the controls and the spot where the electrical cord is attached. 2. A: Mold does have a tendency to grow inside air conditioners that sit unused for a while. By Glenda Taylor and Bob Vila. There’s a risk of electric shock if you don’t cut the power correctly. Successfully banishing mold from an AC depends on where it’s located. It’s important to understand how mold forms, what signs you should look for, and who to hold liable in the event there is mold growing in your car’s AC. A warm, humid environment has the ideal conditions for mold to form. How to clean mold from a ductless air conditioner We can give you some tips on how to clean mold from a ductless air conditioner. Whether the mold is in your air conditioner unit or in your home heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) ducts, it is a health hazard. Glenda Taylor, Bob Vila, 14 Surprising Places Where Mold Hides in the Home, The Dark, Dirty Truth About Household Mold (And How to Rid Yourself of It), 11 Decorative Pillow Trends to Expect in 2021, Prevent Runaway Mold in Your Vacation Home with Innovative HVAC, 15 Little Signs Your House Has a Big Problem, 9 Bad Habits That Are Killing Your Appliances, 5 Overlooked Ways to Cool Down a Hot Room. It probably does not surprise you to hear that mold in air conditioner systems can make you sick. MATERIALS AND TOOLS Available on Amazon – Screwdriver – Wet/dry vacuum with a nozzle attachment – Commercial AC coil cleaner –  Garden hose – Dish soap – Bleach – Large plastic bucket – Scrubbing sponge. This treats the water before it moves into the condensation line, preventing algae from growing. To find out for certain, we recommend having a professional come in to test for mold. It will have dissolved the gunk and it should spray right off. You might suspect mold in your air conditioner if you notice a musty odor when the air conditioner is turned on. Now, you're probably asking what exactly causes mold? Mold growth in the ducts can and often causes health complaints. ... My problems started when the mold inspector reported elevated spores were four to five times the amount found outside. In severe cases, it can cause the throat to swell, making breathing difficult. If mold is discovered, the professional will return after the mold removal has been completed to make sure no traces of mold remain. What Causes an Air Conditioner to Become Moldy? I often find mold on the exterior of air … The condensation from the drain line provides a perfect breeding ground for mold. Use a nozzle attachment to get out as much as possible. This is because mold spores could remain within the inner workings of the unit that you were unable to reach. Vacuum out dust and debris from the inside of the air conditioner. And the truth is, if you have mold in your air conditioner, there is probably also mold in the HVAC ducts, since it's all connected. A Malfunctioning AC Unit Can Cause Mold Growth A properly working air conditioner also works as a dehumidifier for your home. A humid climate along with poor ventilation, or anything that traps moisture in your walls and causes condensation, can lead to mold in air … If you want to save on cooling costs when you’re gone, set the thermostat on your air conditioner to a higher-than-normal temperature. You may have heard of black mold, sometimes called toxic mold. This is a common practice when people go on vacation, but when the weather is warm and humid, mold is more likely to get a foothold in the AC unit. I know it’s unhealthy to breathe air that contains mold spores but I’d rather not buy a new AC if I can remedy the problem myself. Unfortunately, your central air system is the perfect home for mold. Mold grows in ductwork when two things are present: moisture and warm temperatures. Here are some common reasons that could be causing a mildew odor to develop in your AC. It's been linked to health problems ranging from respiratory infections to eye infections, from joint pain to fatigue, from depression to bleeding in the lungs. Air Conditioner featured Outside of Home . When your AC has a blocked drainage tube it can cause water to leak inside which can lead to mold growth when not noticed or repaired quickly. What causes mold to form in air conditioners? That way, the AC will not run as often, but it will still cycle on occasionally when the temp in the house rises. Fill a plastic bucket with a few gallons of hot water and about 1/2 cup of household bleach. Allergic reactions to mold may include respiratory symptoms as well as an itchy rash or hives. You might notice mold in the air conditioner when performing routine maintenance, like when cleaning or replacing the filter or removing debris from around the evaporator coils. Most people are aware that exposure to household mold can cause illness. Mold exposure can cause a number of health problems, so this issue should not be taken lightly. It’s likely that mold developed in the unit over the winter and you didn’t notice it until you turned on your AC unit this summer. Mold in your air conditioner is very prevalent in homes, but diagnosing it and determining if its harmful can only be done by experts. This AC unit is just a little large for this house. The … Spray the coils (U-shaped metal tubes near the front and the back of the unit) with commercial coil cleaner and let the product dwell as directed by the manufacturer to dissolve anything that’s collected on AC coils. Use a cloth, brush, or sponge to soak up the solution. Well, mold can grow as long as the following three factors are present: food, moisture, and a stable environment. Visible heavy mold indicates that more mold is flourishing in places you cannot see or easily reach, such as within the fan motor casing. Read on for the sleuthing tips and cleaning steps you need to bring clean, safe, cool air into your home again. After paying a contractor to clean and treat for molds, the follow-up test showed the levels were even higher. If there is mold on the air conditioner coils, mold spores can easily spread through the ducts in your ventilation system. The air conditioning unit as a place for mold to grow is even more dangerous because it is constantly blowing cold air out of it and spreading those spores all over. In the end, we discuss how to take care of the nutrients and moisture part of this equation. Mold in a central air system, on the other hand, can easily affect the entire home. For example, if you usually set the temperature to 75 degrees Fahrenheit when you’re home, set it 10 degrees warmer to 85 degrees Fahrenheit before you leave. Mold in air ducts most commonly occurs when there is moisture inside the ductwork. Luckily, they are easy to clean, and your car will smell good as new. Mold in window air conditioner units is a serious problem because every time you turn on your air conditioner, it will blow tiny, invisible mold spores into the room. Air Conditioner Mold. Alternately, you could call a mold remediation specialist to inspect the unit to see if it can be professionally cleaned, but the consultation could cost as much as purchasing a new air conditioner. Unplug the unit, remove the front grille cover (most snap off but some are held in place by screws), and then pull out the filter beneath the grill. Its scientific name is stachybotrys chartarum, and while there are other strains of mold that produce mycotoxins, stachybotrys chartarum is probably the one about which we hear the most. Your furnace and evaporator coil have all the components necessary for things like mold to develop. Mold In Air Vents: Symptoms To Watch For. You can read more about that characteristic odor of mold, but it indicates the presence of mold somewhere. As air pumps past the evaporator and into the car, it picks up mold spores, which feed on the moisture. Make sure any professional you hire has experience removing mold and will guarantee the work. We recommend having a professional clean the air ducts in your home. This can be an unhealthy problem that needs attention. Most people are aware that exposure to household mold can cause illness. The air movement that occurs when the unit is running helps prevent mold growth. Primarily because there’s consistent moisture. As long as the air conditioner is blowing air into the room, the mold spores will be floating around in the air. Mold in air conditioner units is particularly likely to cause illness, though, because every time you turn on the air conditioner, mold spores are blown out into the air, where they are easily inhaled. Remove the unit from the window, using a screwdriver to remove the frame that secures it. Mold in window air conditioning units is also a problem, since window units blow mold spores out into the room. Place algae pan strips or tablets in the air conditioner's drain pan. Finding mold in your home is bad news, but finding air conditioner mold is the worse type of bad news. Finally, some forms of mold produce toxic substances called mycotoxins, exposure to which can cause numerous health problems. If you have mold in your home's HVAC system, you should call in a professional to handle the mold removal. Moisture and warmth in the air conditioner are the critical factors for mold growth. If you’re having an issue with mold in your air conditioner, educating yourself about the causes of it … Return From Mold In Air Conditioner To Our Mold In Ductwork Page, Privacy Policy    Disclaimer    Contact Us, Copyright 2020 www.mold-answers.com - All Rights Reserved. Special equipment is needed for the job and if the work is not done properly, serious damage can be done to your air conditioner or HVAC ducts. But you should get a professional to do it. AC units vary in the way they are assembled, so check your owner’s manual to determine how to identify and disassemble the exterior cabinet so that you can access the interior. Microscopic mold spores, too tiny to see and very light, are easily inhaled. The bleach will kill residual mold spores. The mold spreads into your home whenever the AC is turned ON. For more advice about mold removal, we suggest scheduling a free consultation with a mold remediation professional. Mold appears as a result of a damp environment, so any place that’s subjected to excessive moisture is at risk.Check out and follow these tips for preventing mold in your AC. Black mold in your air vents can cause a variety of unpleasant symptoms and health problems. A window unit isn't connected to your home's heating and ventilation ducts, though. It pulls excess moisture from the air and drains it outside of the home. While odds are the mold in your AC unit is not the scary black mold (Stachybotrys chartarum) that you’ve heard about, inhaling mold spores of any type can result in respiratory disorders. What could this musty smell be caused by in your ac system? Knowledge is power! Well, most likely it is the development of mold and/or mildew within this item in your home. Mold causes serious indoor air quality problems and can make you very sick. Dehumidifiers, Hygrometers, Leak Detectors and More. Exposure to mold may experience an inflammatory response to the mold, especially if you already suffer from asthma, allergies, or a weakened immune system. Mold spores can cause a variety of health complications. The risk of black mold in particular makes it important to be vigilant about mold in air conditioners and nip problems in the bud. Mold is not just icky or gross. There may be mold in areas that are not readily visible, including inside the duct work. And you’re right to be concerned about the health issues this can cause: Mold spores produce allergens that can lead to sore throats, headaches, and various respiratory symptoms. Creating mold growth problems within ductwork and insulation. Mold In Window Air Conditioner. In fact, the signs of mold may not be obvious until the air conditioner has been turned on. A leak in a duct occurs when there is an issue with the air conditioner draining system. You might also suspect mold in your home if you're experiencing symptoms of mold-related illness, like those described above. Like any allergy, mold allergy symptoms are triggered by an overly sensitive immune system response. Black mold, or Stachybotrys chartarum, is a greenish-black mold that grows on materials such as fiberboard, gypsum board, paper, lint, and dust “when there is moisture from water damage, excessive humidity, water leaks, condensation, water infiltration, or flooding.” When you have mold in a window air conditioner unit, it is usually easier and more cost effective to simply buy a new air conditioner. Mold spreads and grows easily and before you know it, you can have mold growing throughout the room. What causes your air conditioner to smell musty? AC units are heavy, so recruit someone to help you take it to your yard or driveway and place it on a concrete surface or on a large piece of plywood. If the mold is accessible, you may well be able to remove it; but if it’s growing in an area that’s difficult to access, you’ll probably have to replace the unit. The presence of dust in the unit helps mold spores adhere and grow, so make it a practice to remove the grille and filter every few weeks and vacuum the interior of the unit to keep dust from settling. Remove the grille and the filter from the front of the unit. Over time, your ac unit will collect a large amount of dust and dirt from inside and outside your home, which mold can feed on. Risk damaging the unit and reduce the risk of black mold an air conditioner front grille it... Car, it picks up mold spores naturally traveling in the air vent has experience removing what causes mold in air conditioner and indoor. For black mold on the air conditioner systems can make you very sick where the electrical is. Conditioners here which the window, using a screwdriver to remove the grille and the of... Bring clean, and a stable environment asthma can be life-threatening creating a habitat for moisture-loving mold things necessary... 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