Mold in your home can cause all sorts of health problems for you and your family. This fungus is a huge problem in homes where there are small children, elderly folks, and people with existing respiratory conditions or allergies.
However, if you know what to look for, mold is usually not that hard to detect. Rent Appeal Management in Marietta advises there are always giveaway signs that alert you to the problem. This is true as long as the mold is not growing in an inaccessible location like your air ducts.
The trouble with mold in the air ducts is not only that it is hard to spot, but the mold can be transported to every part of your home. Without identifying the source of the problem, you and your family will be combating health issues that never seem to go away.
How can you tell if there is mold growing in your air ducts?
Signs of mold in your air ducts
Inexplicable illness and allergy symptoms
The first sign that you may have mold hiding in your air ducts is its effects on the health of your household. Mold spores from the air ducts will be dispersed everywhere inside the home and cause reactions in people who are sensitive to them. This will be most apparent in very young children and elderly people.
The signs you are most likely to see are coughing, wheezing, sneezing, nausea, headaches, disorientation, vomiting, fatigue, and all kinds of breathing difficulties. These symptoms will usually go away once the affected person goes outdoors.
A musty odor when the HVAC system is on
Like all living things, mold has its natural biological processes. These processes produce volatile compounds known as microbial volatile organic compounds (mVOCs). These mVOCs are released into the air in your home and they create the strong unpleasant odor that is associated with mold.
If there is mold in your air ducts, this musty odor will be strongest when the HVAC is running. This happens because there is a buildup of mVOCs in the ducts, but when the HVAC is off, these gases settle inside the air ducts. However, the moment your HVAC system is powered on, the mVOCs are carried on the airstream and circulated around your home. Hence the stronger mold odor when the HVAC is on.
Visible signs of mold growth
You can also tell if you have mold in your air ducts by doing a visual inspection of the air ducts. If there is mold, you will usually see signs of growth. These will appear as clusters of fuzzy growth that are black, green, or white.
The mold may be growing directly on the metal of the vent or its roof, floor, and walls. If you spot colonies of mold anywhere inside the vent, shine a flashlight down the vent to see if the growth goes further.
Mold inside the furnace or AC
Other places where you may find visible signs of mold growth if there is mold in the air ducts are your furnace and air conditioner. The dark and damp environments often present inside the AC and furnace offer a perfect place for mold to hide.
The mold that originates inside the ductwork may get spread to the furnace and the AC. The favorite places for mold to hide in the AC are on the evaporator coils and drain pan since these parts are often covered in condensation. Mold may also be present inside the furnace because the air in it is often hot and humid.
Causes of mold in your air ducts
The presence of mold in the air ducts may be a sign of deeper issues. Common problems that lead to mold growth inside the air ducts include:
Mold needs organic material to feed on in order to survive. This food source may the dust that builds up inside the air ducts, furnaces, and air conditioners.
Excessive moisture around and inside the air vents will create a conducive environment for mold. Events that can lead to excessive moisture on the air vents are: poorly insulated or uninsulated air ducts, improperly draining air conditioners, plumbing leaks, as well as, defective house humidifiers.
What should you do about mold in your air ducts?
Depending on the extent of the growth, there are two things you can do: try to get rid of the mold yourself or get a professional to do it.
For minor growths, you may be able to remove the mold by cleaning the area with an EPA-approved mold cleaning solution. When you do this, remember to wear safety goggles, industrial gloves, a mask, and coveralls, to keep yourself from getting sick.
If the mold growth is extensive or this process seems laborious or you have tried it and the problem still persists, you should talk to a mold removal specialist. They have the training, experience, and tools to you solve this problem permanently.