It usually starts with a smell. Mold in your AC unit or AC vents may not be visible, but the steady buildup of mold can spread mold spores that cause nasal congestion, throat irritation, coughing, and an odor that you notice every time the unit kicks on.
For your health and for your nose, it’s important to take the time to find out whether there’s mold in your air conditioning ducts or the AC unit itself.
How Dangerous Is Mold in an AC Unit?
Having mold in your air conditioning system is no more or less dangerous than having mold in any other place in your home. The difference—and the danger—is in airflow. Mold in air conditioning ducts can quickly spread through your HVAC ducts and linger in any room in your home with air vents. As a result, mold spores can impact your health anywhere, as opposed to being a more isolated problem when limited to a single room like your basement or attic.
Is There Mold in My AC Unit?
The smooth metal surfaces of AC units and air vents are not well-suited to mold growth, but mold can grow on metal if it can find organic elements to consume, like human and pet dander found in household dust.
It’s not always easy to tell if your AC unit has mold. Many homeowners rely on a few signs of mold, including:
- A musty or mildewy odor that tends to get worse when the AC unit is on
- Black or dark-colored dust on or near air vents
- Visible mold buildup on AC or air vents
- Visible mold in other parts of your home
Mold spores that have spread throughout your air ventilation system can create new mold deposits in other moist areas of your home. If you discover mold indoors, it’s always worth inspecting your air vents and AC unit for mold that may have contributed to the spread.
How to Clean Mold In an AC Unit
Cleaning mold can be a messy process. Mold is a relatively hazardous substance that requires personal protective equipment.
- A face mask (preferably an N-95)
- Rubber gloves
Always keep the room you’re working in well ventilated if you’re cleaning mold from an in-widow AC unit or any indoor AC type.
How to Clean Mold in AC (Central Air)
Mold in a central air conditioning unit requires professional service. If you discover mold in your central air unit, stop using the unit immediately. You may also turn your thermostat’s fan function off to reduce the amount of air being circulated in your home.
Trust a professional mold service like STOP Restoration to address mold in your central air conditioning system.
How to Clean Mold in a Window AC Unit
By the time you notice mold in your window AC unit, it’s likely too late. It may be very difficult to remove mold spores from the coils and evaporators, even if you disassemble the unit. Mold missed during cleaning will eventually grow back. We recommend replacing window AC units that show any signs of mold.
Preventing Mold in HVAC Systems
AC units create moisture during normal operation. The key to preventing mold in your AC unit and its spreading throughout your HVAC system is to keep a careful eye on excess moisture buildup. Make inspecting drains, drip pans, intake vents, and air vents a regular part of your HVAC maintenance routine.
The more frequently you use your air conditioner, the more important it is to check for the signs of mold. This could be as often as every other week, depending on the moisture levels of your climate. Annual HVAC inspection from One Hour Heating & Air will also reduce the risk of developing mold.
For mold removal or remediation, we strongly recommend working with a mold expert to keep yourself and family safe. Mold can pose a serious health hazard and requires expert service.