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How to Tell & Deal with Mold In Your Air Conditioner

mold in air conditioner

According to reports, there are an estimated 104 deaths each due (which is 38,000 a year) due to mold. Mold can cause a variety of health problems and even death, so it's important to know how to spot mold (especially black mold) and get rid of it.

It's not uncommon for mold to grow in air conditioners, especially if they're not properly maintained. When there is mold in an air conditioner, it will quickly spread throughout a home. You could be breathing in mold all day and night without even knowing it!

If you wondering how you can tell if there is mold in your air conditioner and how to deal with it, we're here to help. There are a few telltale signs that mold might be growing in your air conditioner.

Let's take a look!

What Causes Black Mold In An Air Conditioner

There are a few different things that can cause black mold in an air conditioner. The most common cause is moisture. Mold thrives in an environment with moisture, darkness, still air, and warmth. If parts of your air conditioner fail, it's easy for the unit as a whole to produce the ideal conditions for mold growth.

Oftentimes homeowners don't even realize that they have black mold in their AC unit. There are at least 45 million buildings just in the U.S. that have an unhealthy level of black mold in their AC unit according to Real Time Lab.

One of the most common reasons the black mold will grow in your air conditioner is a clog. When a clog happens in the condensate drain, it can cause water to back up in the unit. Which provides the perfect environment for black mold in an AC unit.

Another common cause of black mold in air conditioners is usage. If an AC unit isn't used often or sits for a long time. On top of that, it can happen fast. Black mold in an air conditioner can grow within 24 to 48 hours!

ac unit mold

How to Tell if You Have Mold in Your Air Conditioner

The best way to know if you have black mold in your air conditioner is by doing a visual inspection. Take a look at the coils and drain pan. If you see any kind of mold or mildew, that's a good indication that there is black mold in your air conditioner.

Another way to tell if there is black mold in your air conditioner is by noticing a musty smell. If you notice a musty smell coming from your AC unit, that's another good indication that there is black mold growing inside of it.

Here are all of the ways to tell if you have mold in your air conditioner:

  • Noticeable musty smells
  • Distinct odors while the ac unit is running
  • Spots or patches of black fungi on the vents, coils, or drip pans
  • If you or your family start to notice irritation to your face, throat, eyes, or sinuses

If you're still not sure, you can always contact a professional HVAC team to come and take a look for you. They will be able to tell you for sure if there is black mold in your air conditioner or not!

Thomas Service Company is your local air conditioner pros and we have team members on standby to provide air conditioner mold inspection and repairs. If you think that you may have mold in your air conditioner, give us a call. we're your first choice for Huntsville HVAC!

How to Clean Mold From an Air Conditioner

cleaning black mold in air conditionerNow that you know how to tell if there is black mold in your air conditioner, let's talk about how to clean mold from an air conditioner. If you have a small amount of mold, you can try to clean it yourself with bleach and water.

Start by unplugging your AC unit and then disassembling it so you can access the coils and drip pan. Next, make a bleach solution with a few gallons of water and 1/2 a cup of bleach. Saturate a sponge or cloth in the solution and then wipe down all of the affected areas. Any remaining mold spores will be eradicated by the bleach.

Make sure to use cleaning gloves and goggles so that you don't have bleach touching your skin!

Once you're done cleaning, reassemble your air conditioner unit and plug it back in. You should notice a difference in the musty smell and the overall air quality in your home.

If you have a large amount of mold or you're not comfortable cleaning it yourself, you can always contact a professional HVAC company in Huntsville, like Thomas Service Company. An expert can come out to disassemble, clean it, and reassemble it. A professional team will have the proper equipment and experience to safely and effectively clean black mold from your air conditioner unit.

How to Clean Mold From a Central AC Unit

how to clean mold from central ac unitIf you have a central AC unit, the process of how to clean mold will be different. This is because central AC units are using ductwork which can make this process much more complicated and involved.

The first thing you need to do is identify where the mold is. If it's just in the AC unit, then you can follow the steps above. But if the mold has spread to the ductwork, you'll need to take a different approach.

The EPA suggests that you turn your unit off as soon as you think there is mold growing. Otherwise, the mold can spread through the ductwork. In order to clean mold from the central AC unit, you'll need to vacuum and clean the air ducts thoroughly.

This typically will need to be done by an expert as it requires quite a bit of work and can be difficult.

Preventing AC Unit Mold

The best way to deal with black mold in your air conditioner is to prevent it from happening in the first place. AC unit mold grows fast and spreads even faster. Every homeowner should take steps to help prevent mold from ever-growing.

Here are a few tips on how to prevent black mold growth in your air conditioner:

  • Ensure that your AC unit isn't leaking periodically
  • Check your condensation levels on the bottom of your unit
  • Make sure that your AC unit is properly insulated
  • Window units need to fit tightly 
  • Clean grates and filters regularly
  • Make sure your unit has proper drainage
  • Portable AC units will need to be emptied on a regular basis
  • Ensure nothing is blocking your grates and air returns
  • Replace your air filters regularly

Following these simple steps can help prevent AC unit mold in the first place! In addition to that, many HVAC companies offer monthly maintenance plans. With HVAC maintenance plans, you'll have an expert coming to your home and inspecting your unit for you!

Professionally Removing Mold in an Air Conditioner

woman in a home in huntsville alabama

If you think that you may have mold in your air conditioner, it's important to take action as soon as possible. Not only can mold cause respiratory problems, but it can also cause damage to your home if it continues to grow.

In this article, we've talked about how to tell if there is black mold in your air conditioner and how to clean it if there is. We've also provided tips on how to prevent mold from growing in the first place.

If you're uncomfortable cleaning mold yourself or if you have a large amount of mold, contact a professional HVAC company for help. Prevention is always the best solution, so make sure to follow the tips listed above!

Thomas Service Company is your local Huntsville HVAC company. If you need an expert, give us a call!