Mold in Your Air Conditioner
The heat is on and the season demands an air conditioner to get through those hot days. Just like anyone in your position, you reach for the AC without thinking about what could be lurking in the HVAC system. Now, that’s when it can get scary. Of all that could be there, one of the worst you’ll encounter is mold. The big baddie of HVACs everywhere is more than a nuisance, it’s a health concern. So, what causes it and how does mold affect your life? We’ve got the answers.
Common reasons why mold grows in your air conditioner:
- Moisture - Obviously, the most common cause of mold is moisture. When any type of condensation builds up in the HVAC unit, mold is almost always sure to follow. In some cases, the unit will have controls in place to deal with the problem before it starts, but that isn’t the case for older units. Basic aspects like humidity or even unknown exposure to excess moisture sometimes turns a minor matter into a major one when it comes to mold growth.
- Dirty AC system or home - Another surprising aspect of mold growth is a lack of cleanliness in the system or rooms that it feeds. Dirt can not only damage the system, but it can also lead to excessive mold growth as it combines with moisture to create a potent combination. Regular checkups from a professional often include a thorough cleaning of the HVAC system. They can’t do it alone though, as vacuuming and dusting around the vents as well as other areas of rooms that might come in contact with the system are crucial.
- Lack of regular maintenance - Mold can also come from outdoor units that have not undergone proper maintenance and care. Because outdoor units are exposed to various types of weather, it only stands to reason that mold might build up around key components of the system. A professional can check the system for any possible concerns and help detect any growth of mold both inside and outside of the casing.
- Plant intrusion - Much like indoor systems, some common sense of care between service visits is an important tool in limiting or ending mold growth. Make sure trees and any plants near the unit are trimmed back or kept away from its area. It may be surprising but even a leaf or berry that falls into the unit could lay there and begin the process of creating mold. From there, the results could be devastating in terms of growth and rate of release into the system.
What Health Issues Come From Mold?
The effects of mold are something you may not know about, but will never forget once you learn about them. One of the most common, and frightening, concerns is that of respiratory health. Because someone would be breathing in the mold on a daily basis, the effects can start out with wheezing and grow into trouble catching a breath. For people with asthma, the symptoms could be even worse with hospitalization needed in some cases.
It’s not just the lungs involved in mold-related conditions, surprisingly the eyes and head have their own considerations. Sight for someone living in a home with mold can deteriorate, while eyes themselves could face bursts of pain. Headaches are also common and seem to accompany nasal symptoms like runny noses or irritation.
If someone has an allergy to mold, the effects could manifest themselves in noticeable rashes. These types of symptoms only grow worse if someone touches a surface that features any amount of mold. With most HVAC systems running throughout a home, chances are the contaminated air would reach furniture, walls, etc.; that makes this concern even more difficult for those with allergies.
How Can I Tell If Mold Is In My Air Conditioner?
The best way to find an outbreak of mold is to use your nose. Mold has a smell that is akin to rotting food or a generally foul stench. It's not just those odors used to describe it; in fact, any type of bad odor might be related to mold itself. As the smell grows, it will find its way into your home through places like clothing and furniture upholstery.
Next, use your eyes to find the other telltale sign of this unwanted visitor. Mold will appear as black dots or streaks, especially around vents or other HVAC openings. When it gets worse and the mold spreads, you'll find the same sorts of marks throughout the home. Once it gets into walls and flooring, the results usually end in massive renovations.
What To Do If You Need Help?
You can’t do HVAC care alone. Having a professional you can count on really helps when dealing with the frightening realities of mold. Contact us the team at Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating & Air Conditioning for the help you need with the care you deserve. We’re always standing by to help!
Call Gallagher’s Plumbing, Heating & Air, Inc. at (530) 212-7766 or contact us online to schedule an AC maintenance service to help keep your air conditioner free of mold!