Mold grows anywhere there is excess moisture. When it comes to your HVAC system, that means ductwork, AC evaporator coils and drip pans are places where mold thrives. When mold starts to grow it begins to spread through the air in your home and can make your family sick.

What is mold?

According to the CDC, mold is a fungus that grows in microscopic filaments throughout our environment. Mold spores drift through the air, both inside and outside, and begin to grow if they land in moist environments. These mold spores make up the majority of the dust in your house and workplace, which can cause health problems for you and your family.

Why should you care about mold growth?

Surprisingly, mold growth outside is natural and good for the environment. On the other hand, mold growth indoors can be dangerous, especially when it is located in your HVAC system’s ductwork, coils and drip pans. Do to ductwork circulating the air throughout your home, mold growth located in the ducts or around the entrances of your ducts could mean your family will be breathing unhealthy air.

Most molds only produce dust and allergens that cause minor respiratory problems, itchy eyes, coughs, sinus problems, etc.; however, there are some molds that have potential to cause more serious problems.

Some molds produce mycotoxins, known as “toxic molds,” and can be extremely harmful. Daily exposure to this kind of mold can cause brain issues and even death.

Here are three ways to look for mold in your home:

  • Keep your eyes peeled

Essentially looking for mold is the easiest way to find it, so look in your ductwork, evaporator coils and drip pans. If your home is usually humid, make it a habit to walk through your house weekly looking for mold. If your house is drier, look on a monthly basis for mold.

Do you see mold? No, perfect! However, you may still be at risk. Moisture is they key to mold growth, so continue to look for pooling water, blocked drains, condensation outside vents and inside your registers; all of these are places where there is potential for mold growth. Coils dehumidify the air and drip the resulting condensation into drip pans. If these coils are overworked or your drip pans are blocked, the moisture build-up is a perfect habitat for mold.

  • Use your nose

What about the places that you can’t see like deep into your ductwork, registers or down the drain in drip pans? Always use your nose! Mold gives off a strong mildew smell, especially when it grows inside your ductwork.

If you suddenly start smelling mildew, try turning off your HVAC system, wait 10 to 20 minutes, and then turn it back on. If the smell is gone or gets weaker when your HVAC is off and comes back when you turn your HVAC back on, you may have mold in your ductwork.

  • Call a professional

If you don’t see or smell mold, you probably don’t have a mold problem. If you want to be 100 percent positive that you don’t have mold, call one of our licensed HVAC professionals or a mold specialist. Mold testing can sometimes be expensive, but it is a good way to ensure your ductwork is completely free from mold.

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