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How to Know If Your Air Conditioner Has Mold

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Airborne mold spores can travel anywhere and settle in the most inconspicuous places, like inside the air conditioner. A mold invasion inside the air conditioner will cause major health issues. Plus, the air inside the home will become polluted. Here are signs of mold inside the air conditioner.

What is mold?

Mold is a type of fungi that is abundant in the natural environment. The spores meander through the air in the great outdoors and live in moist organic matter. Outdoor mold is essential, as the spores break down decaying matter, such as dead trees, fallen leaves and similar debris.

Indoors, however, mold is both a nuisance and health hazard. Moist places in which spores thrive include damp wood, paper, carpet, and insulation. Indoor mold growth should be eliminated immediately to prevent a range of health issues and structural problems.

What does mold need to flourish?Girl Pointing to Mold on the Wall

Mold spores are sustained by a constant supply of moisture, darkness, oxygen, and an organic food source. High humidity levels, like those that occur during summer weather, introduce moisture; and, combined with dust, they create a nourishing environment in which mold spores thrive.

The summer’s constant heat, humidity and dust can cause mold to grow, even inside the air conditioning unit. Air conditioners run intermittently, which allows a buildup of debris and moisture within the air handler and ductwork. A mold problem in the air conditioner is the unwanted result.

Mold colonies inside the air conditioning unit may be unnoticeable at first, because the growth is inconsequential. Left unaddressed, the mold spores will rapidly multiply. The mold growth will eventually build so that homeowners notice its dark splotches or musty odors.

What causes mold inside an AC?

Air conditioners operate by pulling excess moisture from the home and depositing it outside of the home. A functional air conditioner acts as an efficient dehumidifier. When the air conditioner malfunctions, moisture problems can arise and allow mold to grow inside.

For example, an air conditioner may develop a blockage in the drainage tube. If not repaired quickly, the blocked drainage tube will cause water to leak inside the air conditioner. The constant moisture gives mold spores an excellent habitat in which to flourish unhindered.

When the air conditioner is serviced and mold growth is visible, the technician should notify the homeowner. However, in between service appointments, mold can grow. A homeowner will know if the air conditioner has mold when the following signs of mold growth appear.

1. Musty Odors When the AC is Turned On

The smell of mold is distinctive. Musty odors accompany mold growth. The entire home can reek of unpleasant, musty smells when the air conditioner is switched on. When pungent odors increase upon turning on the air conditioner, it is a telltale sign that mold growth has latched on inside it.

Antique homes are known to exude a musty, earthy smell, which is a common and normal occurrence. However, when such odors are emitted inside newer homes (especially when the air conditioner runs), mold is most likely growing inside the air ducts.

2. Black Splotches Appear Inside the AC

A visual inspection of the air conditioner’s interior can point to a mold infestation. The black splotches resemble mold found anywhere else in the home, such as in the bathroom or basement. The growth is difficult to remove and will require heavy-duty cleaning to permanently eliminate.

3. Recurring Respiratory Symptoms OccurChild-Allergies-Mold

Inhaling mold spores can cause a range of respiratory issues, especially in vulnerable people. When the air conditioner blows moldy air throughout the property, the home’s occupants will experience recurring allergylike symptoms, such as wheezing, watery eyes, coughing and rashes.

People who are allergic to mold may experience severe reactions, like fever and shortness of breath, when breathing in mold spores. Indoor mold exposure can also trigger asthma symptoms in people suffering from asthma. Immune compromised individuals are susceptible to fungal infections.

How Can AC Mold Growth Be Prevented?

Mold growth inside the air conditioner may be prevented through professional maintenance. Yearly service will ensure the air conditioner runs efficiently. The service technician will inspect, clean, and lubricate the unit. Recharging the refrigerant to correct levels is also included.

Humidity levels inside the air conditioner can be controlled by ensuring the unit is properly installed from the start. Improperly installed air conditioners can lead to humidity and moisture control problems—which will continue to feed mold spores until the issue is corrected.

If the mold growth has already latched on, clean the spores. Upon wearing a mask and turning off the air conditioner, use a rag to remove visible moisture. Apply mold cleaning products that are safe to use in the system. Install mold-reducing filters to deter future mold.

Professional Mold Removal ServicesMold-Removal

When a mold infestation is severe, professional mold removal is necessary. ServiceMaster is experienced in eliminating all types of indoor mold from both residential properties and commercial spaces. We also provide reconstruction services to repair materials damaged by mold.

Mold is a serious issue that can cause weakened building structures and ill health. The spores will also multiply rapidly when the moisture source is left unrepaired. Property owners can count on ServiceMaster to clean up the mold and promote indoor air quality.

Our mold remediation specialists arrive promptly and assess the extent of mold growth. We contain the area to prevent the spores from contaminating other parts of the property. Using advanced equipment and safe products, our technicians eliminate all traces of mold growth.

Any surfaces, furnishings and structural materials damaged by the mold infestation undergo a thorough cleaning and, if necessary, repair. We use infrared technology to locate both visible and concealed mold. After our successful mold remediation, the mold is unlikely to return.

Contact Us

When mold colonies have seized your Lincoln, Nebraska, home or business, contact ServiceMaster for immediate, professional mold remediation. Our technicians stand by 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, to respond to emergency mold cleanup calls.