Today, we’ll walk you through the process of removing mold from an air-conditioning unit. It would just take a few simple measures, but it’s always a good idea to follow mold safety guidelines.
In addition to using suitable cleaning tools, we should not come into contact with these organisms while unprotected. Molds thrive in our air conditioners because they provide an excellent environment for their growth.
That’s because there’s enough moisture and other substrates to go around. And it would aid in their survival. However, this is a perilous circumstance, especially if they’re in our air conditioning system. That is why you should read this post. Continue to learn more!
What are sings of mold in air conditioners?
You should be on the lookout for these indicators if you suspect mold growth in your air conditioner:
- Strong odor of mold. Mold spores emit an unique musty odor when they are present. An unidentified musty smell could be coming from your central air conditioning equipment, but there are no apparent indicators of mold. Window air conditioners may emit a noxious odor in the room where they are installed. Whenever the air conditioner is running, a musty odor might be detected emanating from an air vent.
- AC-induced signs of illness. An allergic reaction and respiratory issues are only two of the unpleasant effects of mold. Mold may be to blame if you or a member of your household develops these symptoms exclusively when the air conditioner is running.
- Signs that can be seen. However, depending on the placement of your AC unit and the air vents if you have central air conditioning, you may be able to visually inspect them. Look for the classic black or green-black mold patches that are occasionally hazy. It’s important to keep in mind that mold spores are minute, and the source of them may be hidden from view. In other words, even if you don’t see any mold, it could be there.
- Inspection by a qualified expert. It’s recommended to hire a mold inspector if you have any suspicions about mold in your air conditioner. Mold in your air conditioner, ventilation system, and other areas of your house can be detected by these professionals.
Causes of mold growth in ACs
Mold is a fungus that grows on surfaces. Fungi, like other living organisms, need oxygen, water, and organic matter to thrive. A mold-infested air conditioner is likely since it circulates air and has cooling coils that generate dampness.
Additionally, ducting and air conditioners offer mold with a dark, moist environment in which to grow. Add some organic material—which can simply be dust and other debris—and you have all the conditions for mold to grow.
What are types of ACs prone to mold growth?
Different types of air conditioners can be used to chill your home:
- Air conditioners with a view
- Portable air conditioners that aren’t attached to a wall
- Stand-alone units that are mounted to the wall
- Central heating and cooling units
Mold can grow in any air conditioner, but each has its own set of considerations when it comes to mold detection and removal.
- Mildew growing on the inside of window air conditioners. In many cases, window-mounted air conditioning units may be readily inspected and removed. Depending on your degree of experience and confidence, you may be able to handle mold in your window unit on your own, but caution and safety equipment should always be used while dealing with household mold.
- Mold in air conditioners that stand alone. More people are opting for freestanding air conditioners. Air and humidity are vented out the window aperture, just as window-mounted devices. It’s possible that you can handle and possibly dispose of a moldy unit on your own due to the fact that these units are designed to be portable. Still, if you suspect mold in a free-standing unit, you should be on the lookout.
- In wall-mounted air conditioners, mold. In certain cases, the air conditioner is mounted directly to the wall. There is no ductwork attached to these units, therefore they are similar to window air conditioners in that they only cool one room at a time. An inspection, cleaning, or replacement can be more focused if this is the case. As a result, they may be more difficult to work with than free-standing or window AC units.
- Central air conditioners are a breeding ground for mold. If mold is found, central air conditioners are more difficult to clean. They are often substantially larger and may be positioned in a difficult-to-reach location. Because they are connected to a ventilation system prone to mold, this is even more of a concern. It’s nearly impossible to replace a central air system because it’s so large and complex. Professional mold remediation is the best course of action for these units.
What type of mold grows in air conditioners?
There are tens of thousands of mold varieties. Mold in air conditioners and ducting can be discovered in a variety of forms, including:
- In persons with weakened immune systems, Aspergillus is a mold fungus that can cause allergic reactions and sickness.
- Cladosporium is a common mold species that can range in color from green to black. It is usually harmless, but it can still cause allergic reactions and exacerbate asthma.
- Mycotoxins produced by Stachybotrys chartarum, often known as black mold or toxic mold, are extremely toxic and can cause a wide range of health problems.
Black mold in AC
In AC units, black mold poses a particular threat because of its propensity to produce allergic reactions and respiratory issues in many different species of mold. Mycotoxins produced by black mold are harmful to humans. Black mold spores will be blown into the air you inhale and throughout your home by AC systems since they circulate air. Many places in your home, including behind walls, above ceilings, or even under carpets, can become colonized by these spore-bearing microbes. In order to avoid these problems, it’s critical to find and get rid of any black mold infestation as soon as possible.
What should I do if I notice mold in air conditioner?
Replace. There are several situations in which safe disposal and replacement may be the wisest course of action, particularly for smaller window and free-standing units. The cost of removing mold from an AC unit may be less than the cost of replacing the unit if there is a large buildup. In order to reduce mold exposure when checking or removing the old unit, wear goggles, a face mask, and gloves when handling the unit.
Engage the services of a professional. Although it would be a pity to get rid of an air conditioner that is still working, hiring a professional to fix it can be both safer and more cost-effective. For the vast majority of central air conditioners, this is the sole effective option for eradicating mold from the AC unit as well as all of its accompanying vents and ductwork.
Self-clean. As long as it’s a small, portable unit that isn’t attached to any ventilation system, cleaning it yourself may be possible. Make sure you inspect the unit with goggles, a mask, and gloves to keep yourself safe. Open the door and take a peek inside: The mold can only be used for a third of the product. It is important to know whether or not you can look into the unit to determine the presence or absence of mold. How much of the air conditioner will you be able to clean? Do not attempt to clean it yourself if the answer to any of these questions is “no.”
Steps In Removing Molds From Your AC Unit
Take action right once if you detect mold growth in your air conditioning system. The spores might be transmitted via the air coming from your unit’s vents or vent pipes. It’s possible that their number could grow as a result of them landing on new habitats.
When breathed, they can cause major health issues, including asthma and skin ailments. Let’s take care of it now by studying how to remove mold from an air conditioner.
Step #1. Unplug your unit
Make sure your air conditioner is completely turned off using a programmable thermostat or remote control. Finally, shut off the power. Unscrew the cord from the wall outlet and remove it. This is a precautionary measure to prevent any electrical shocks or accidents. Aside from that, we might additionally isolate your machine in order to prevent the growth of mold.
Step #2. Prepare your workspace
It’s best to do your cleaning outside, if possible. Alternatively, an area where these organisms would not be blown away by the wind. While removing portable air conditioners, such as ductless and window AC units, would be simple, you should enlist the assistance of a professional.
That’s because it’s more difficult to move them. Choose a room or location that isn’t frequented by your family on a daily basis. Additionally, you’ll need to stock up on any supplies you’ll need for the entire process. So far, the following items have been added to the list:
- Buckets and containers
- Cleaner for the evaporator coils
- Soap for washing dishes
- With the use of a little brush attachment, vacuum
- Watering can
- Cloth or sponge
- Sniper’s tool (optional)
Also, don’t forget the gloves, goggles, and appropriate attire.
Step #3. Remove and soak the filter
The filter is the first item you’ll see when you remove the front cover. Dirt and grime may obscure its appearance at first glance. Using soapy water, add a couple of drops of bleach and mix thoroughly. Soak the filter(s) in water until they are completely submerged. Allow the system to remain in this state until you’ve completed cleaning it.
Step #4. Vacuum
To remove dust and other particles from your machine, start with the nozzle. The nozzle makes it easier to reach the tiniest of spaces. Even in the most difficult-to-reach areas.
The brush attachment can then be inserted and the coils traversed. Run a brush through the condenser slowly, following the same path as the condenser itself. Fins should not be bent.
Step #5. Disperse your coil cleaner
Moisture can be seen accumulating in the hollows of coils all the time. Consequently, it’s a great environment for molds. Molds are easily removed and dissolved by the majority of coil cleaners. As a result, it is imperative that you do not neglect this step.
Your condenser and the coils should be thoroughly cleaned with your air freshener cleaner. This step can be applied to the entire unit, but it’s recommended that you focus on the edges. Rinse off after applying. Let it sit for a few minutes, allowing your unit to absorb the chemicals.
Step #6. Rinse
Rinse the coil cleaner with a garden hose. In order to protect your air conditioner’s components, set the water pressure to a low value. Avoid pouring water on wires and thermostats, and be aware of their locations. The combination of water and electricity is not a good one.
Step #7. Wipe a bleach solution onto your unit
The most frequent substance used to remove mold is bleach. Then, add half a cup of bleach to a small pail of warm water, and stir until the bleach dissolves. Make sure everything is well-combined. Wipe away mold growth in your air conditioner using a sponge or cloth soaked in bleach solution. It’s best to use the cloth to get into those tight corners.
Step #8. Rinse your filter
Your device has had some time to dry out now. This is a good time to return to the soaking filter. Discard the soapy water and rinse your filter(s). To get rid of all the soap and chemicals, give it a thorough rinsing with your garden hose. The screen could be ripped off if you apply too much pressure. Additional dirt and debris can be removed as a result of this procedure.
Step #9. Air dry
Leave the unit in a cool, dry place. To put it on your balcony, for example, make sure it doesn’t tumble into the ground or get dirty from the wind. This phase will take around 24 hours, so be patient. Don’t forget about your filter, which likewise needs time to dry up..
Step #10. Reinstall
It’s time to reinstall them after they’ve dried completely. Install them again using the same method you used to set them up when you first bought them.
How to prevent mold in air conditioner?
The good news is that there are a few things you can do to keep mold at bay:
- Reduce water content. Preventing moisture buildup in an air conditioner is as simple as buying one. Look for an air conditioner that can regulate humidity. Venting water vapour with air is common practice in many modern units. Make sure that you drain your water reservoir on a regular basis if you have one.
- Avoid organic waste. Mold can’t grow without organic substance, in addition to water and air. Vacuum the inside of your air conditioner and replace or clean the filter on a regular basis. Do not offer mold a source of food!
- While on vacation, keep the unit operating. When the air conditioner is off and the air is calm, mold growth is more likely to occur. Even if you’re out on vacation, keep your equipment operating. Set the goal temperature higher to have it run less frequently, but don’t turn it off completely to save energy.
Since they circulate air and mold spores throughout the house, air conditioners are a specific source of mold contamination. Keeping an eye out for mold in air conditioners is especially important because of the possibility of black mold.
Despite the fact that it may seem frightening, don’t let that deter you. The ability to keep an eye out for mold growth in your air conditioner is one of the most powerful tools you can have in your toolbox.
9 Air Conditioner Maintenance and Care Tips
1. Change Your Filters
If you have a central or window AC unit with washable filters, replace them every month during the cooling season because dirty filters reduce efficiency.
MERV, or minimum efficiency reporting value, is a number between 1 and 12 that indicates how well a filter is filtering air (and the more energy needed to pull air through it, so balance air-quality concerns with energy costs).
2. Fix AC Leaks
Window air conditioners are notoriously difficult to seal effectively, with leaks causing up to 30% of the airflow to be lost. The “smoke trick” can be used to find leaks in a building.
Light an incense stick and hold it near the unit’s window frame; for central air conditioning, hold the stick near the ducts. Leakage is evident if the smoke is blown in all directions. Foil tape can be used to fill minor gaps in ductwork, while duct mastic can be used to seal larger gaps in window AC units.
3. Use a Timer
When you’re at work, there’s no need to crank up the air conditioning to maximum capacity. In the case of central heating and cooling systems, you can set higher temperatures while you’re away and lower temperatures while you’re at home using a thermostat programmable for this purpose.
You can buy a timer for $10 to $20 at any home store; just make sure it matches your device’s voltage. Newer window units include built-in timers and adjustable thermostats. The air compressor will have to work harder to keep your house cool if you turn off the system, unless you’re going on vacation.
4. Insulate to Keep Air Cool
Attic and crawl space ducts should be wrapped to keep the air inside them at a more comfortable temperature. It’s possible to insulate with spray foam, batts, or rigid foam. Foil tape can be used to seal batt and rigid insulation (not duct tape). Some form of insulation can be found in wraps like Reflectix, which can be used in confined places.
5. Service Your Compressor or Condenser
Consider installing condensers on the north or east side of your home, or building a screen to protect them from the sun. As much as 10% of their effectiveness is lost when exposed to direct sunshine.” Plumbing and heating expert, Richard Trethewey of TOH, says:
The air compressor and condenser of a central air conditioning system are often positioned outside of the home, near the foundation. Get rid of shrubs, tall grass, leaves, and hanging branches in the immediate area to get the greatest results.
6. Keep Your AC Unit Cool
Awnings can be used to protect south-facing windows from the harsh sun, which can shorten the lifespan of your air conditioning system. Run the AC in conjunction with ceiling or floor fans for better air circulation.
7. Perform Annual AC Maintenance
A yearly cleaning program should be set up by the dealer who installed your central air conditioning (or one you can find in your area).
Prior to the cooling season beginning (or right now if you didn’t do it earlier in the year), book an appointment for this checkup and make sure the following chores are included:
- Coil inspection and cleaning
- Filter cleaning or replacement
- Replacement of fan belts and adjustment of fan belts
- Motors and bearings need to be lubricated.
- Maintenance of fans and blowers
- Controls and safety measures evaluation
- Temperature readings and pressures are checked.
- Checking the temperature of the machine.
8. Get Airflow
When the central air conditioning system is out of balance due to too frequent interior door closures, less air is able to circulate throughout the house. Keep the doors slightly ajar if you’re looking for some seclusion.
9. Upgrade for Efficiency
Air conditioners must now be far more energy efficient than they were ten years ago, according to federal regulations. The seasonal energy-efficiency ratio, or SEER, is used to rate central air conditioners; the energy-efficiency ratio, or EER, is used to rate window air conditioners. A SEER of 13 and EER of 8 are mandated by the standards, but devices with greater figures will cost less to run.
Mold may be removed from an air conditioner by following these simple steps. You can also outsource the cleaning and maintenance of your storage unit to a professional. You and your family will benefit from a cleaner and healthier environment as a result of the entire operation. As a result, be sure to take care of yourself!