Outdoors molds play a part in the natural environment by breaking down dead organic matter, such as fallen leaves or dead trees. Inside, however, mold growth should be avoided! Molds reproduce by means of tiny spores, which are invisible to the naked eye as they float through the indoor and outdoor air. Mold may begin growing indoors when mold spores land on surfaces that are wet. Molds only grow when there is moisture present.
The interior of your ductwork and air conditioning equipment provides the perfect environment for mold growth, especially in an air conditioner’s drain-pan where it is dark, damp, and filled with nutrients. As mold and bacteria grow on coils and in drain pans, they are distributed through the ducts to occupied spaces. The result can be like blowing air through a sewer and then into your home. According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60% of Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) problems and allergies may be mold-related.
Below are the affects of mold in your home and some tips and techniques if you suspect you have a mold problem.
Affects of Mold in Your Home
Health. Molds have the potential to cause health problems. Allergic reactions to mold are common. They can be immediate or delayed. Molds can also cause asthma attacks in people with asthma who are allergic to mold. In addition, mold exposure can irritate the eyes, skin, nose, throat, and lungs of both mold-allergic and non-allergic people.
Maintenance Problems. Molds create a troublesome maintenance problem. Its activity in your heating, cooling and ventilating (HVAC )system results in dirty coils, a loss of air-flow, loss of heat exchange efficiency, dirty and sometimes plugged drain pans, and excessive energy use.
Tips & Techniques
- Fix plumbing leaks and other water problems as soon as possible. Dry all items completely.
- If you suspect that the (HVAC) system may be contaminated with mold (it is part of an identified moisture problem, for instance, or there is mold near the intake system) contact a HVAC technician.
- Regular maintenance of your heating & cooling system can greatly reduce the possibility of mold. During regular maintenance the places where mold grows, the coils and the drain pans are cleaned out.
- If you have mold on the coils of your heating & cooling system or drain pan then chances are it is spreading through your duct system. Contact a HVAC technician to do a thorough cleaning of your ducts.
- Scrub mold off of hard surfaces with detergent and water and dry completely.
- Absorbent or porous materials, such as ceiling tiles and carpet, may have to be thrown away is they become moldy. Mold can grow on or fill in the empty spaces and crevices of porous materials, so it can be very difficult if not impossible to remove completely.
- Avoid exposing yourself or others to mold.
- Do not paint or caulk moldy surfaces. Clean up the mold and dry the surface before painting, otherwise the paint is likely to peel.
- If you are unsure about an area where mold is present, consult an expert.