Do I Need Air Duct Mold Cleaning in My Home

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air duct mold cleaning

The air we breathe every day is a lot dirtier than you may realize – even when you are inside your home. Nearly every home in the United States has over 1,000 types of mold whose spores are suspended in the air. Unless you get an air duct mold cleaning, these mold spores can also spread from one room to another through the HVAC system.

HVAC (heating, ventilating, and air conditioning) systems are quite common in most homes. While these are great for regulating the house’s temperature, the air ducts can be the perfect breeding grounds for mold growth.

Mold thrives in humid, dark spaces with a high water vapor content. When your HVAC system runs, it creates a perfect environment for mold growth as heated or cooled air runs through the ducts. Further, the airflow can cause spores to break off from the mold and spread to other areas, infesting the entire home with more mold!

But how can you tell if there’s mold in your air ducts? And will a professional air duct mold cleaning really make that big of a difference?

Here’s what all homeowners need to know about the dangers of mold growth and what an air duct cleaning can do.

1. What are the Signs of Mold in Air Ducts?

Since mold growth is so common in homes throughout the United States, it’s a pretty safe bet to say that your home has at least a small amount of mold. Mold in small quantities is not anything to be too worried about. However, you should be on the lookout for signs that the mold growth is becoming excessive.

Mold-Related Sickness and Allergies

mold related allergies

Perhaps the most alarming symptom of mold growth is the health issues it can cause. Medical studies have shown that long-term exposure to inhaling mold can cause numerous health issues, including:

  • Asthma attacks
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Severe allergic reactions
  • Throat and eye irritation
  • Continuous coughing
  • Headaches
  • Nausea
  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness

Prolonged mold exposure can also cause more severe health concerns for people with pre-existing conditions as well as children. Toxic molds can lead to neurological issues and even internal organ damage.

It is important to look for the signs of mold growth in your home before they become too severe. If anyone in your family develops allergies or complains of chronic issues like sneezing, coughing, or irritation, mold in the air ducts could be to blame.

Musty Smell Throughout the Home

Mold can create a very distinct smell that gives off a musty odor, similar to what you smell in most basements. If you notice that your home develops this type of odor, especially when the HVAC system is running, it is likely caused by mold growing in the air ducts.

Visible Mold Growth in the Home

visible indoor mold growth

While you may not be able to spot mold in your air ducts, you might be able to find it in other areas of the home. Depending on the species, mold can be green, brown, black, blue, or white. It usually has a fuzzy or spotty appearance, and it is often accompanied by water damage or rot to the surrounding area.

Again, mold loves to grow in damp, dark spaces. So, you’ll often find mold forming in areas like bathrooms or kitchens, hiding underneath cabinets or underneath baseboards. Check other areas like your basement and attic or areas that have pre-existing water damage. If mold is growing anywhere in your home, it could very likely be growing in the air vents, too.

You Live in a Humid Environment

Although mold grows in just about every area of the US, if you have high humidity levels, then mold is more likely to grow in your home. Humidity is the measurement of water vapor suspended in the air.

While New Jersey is certainly not the most humid state, the average relative humidity level is 68.5%. This can certainly contribute to mold growth, especially if your home has limited airflow to release the humid air.

2. Why Should You Consider Removing Mold from Your HVAC System and Air Ducts?

old air duct with dust and mold

Since mold can be incredibly dangerous to your family’s health, it should be the primary reason for you to schedule an air duct mold cleaning. Mold-related sicknesses and allergic reactions can often be reversed if the mold is removed. An air duct mold cleaning can also improve the home’s overall air quality.

Another reason to hire a professional service to clean the HVAC system is to protect your home from mold damage. Mold can seep into the structure of your home, destroying materials such as wood, carpets, drywall, and fabrics like furniture and clothing.

If you let mold continue to grow in your air ducts, it will start to spread throughout your home. While a mold removal service may be able to save some things, your home may require extensive repairs and renovations.

3. What Does an Air Duct Cleaning Service Involve?

air duct mold inspection

Before you schedule an air duct mold cleaning, you first will want to confirm that mold is indeed growing and where it is forming. So, the first thing to do is hire a mold inspection and testing company.

Professional mold inspectors will search your home and look for signs of mold growth, such as visible spots or musty odors. They will also collect air and swab samples, which are sent back to the lab for confirmation that mold is growing in the home.

Mold inspections may also include indoor air quality testing, which will indicate if mold or other contaminants are present in your home’s air. Some other dangerous air contaminants which will be measured on the test include:

  • Radon
  • VOCs (volatile organic compounds)
  • Formaldehyde
  • Mercury
  • Dangerous fumes from carpets, flooring, and other building materials
  • High levels of smoke
  • Carbon monoxide

Even trace amounts of these pollutants can be incredibly dangerous. If your home has mold in the air, it could very likely have other hazardous contaminants, too. Scheduling a mold inspection and air quality testing is something that every homeowner should consider.

indoor air quality testing

Once the test results come back, the service will let you know if mold was detected and what kind and where it is predominantly growing. This information will be helpful for you to pass along to the air duct cleaning service. If the mold growth is toxic, you will likely need to vacate your home until the cleaning and removal are completed.

During an air duct mold cleaning, technicians will use professional chemicals and tools to thoroughly clean and disinfect the fans, motors, coils, and all surfaces of your HVAC system. They will also use specific cleaning solutions designed to kill mold spores growing in the ducts.

4. How Can You Prevent Mold from Growing in Your Air Ducts?

So, how can you prevent the mold from growing in the first place – or from growing back after an air duct cleaning? There are some things that all homeowners can do to reduce mold growth in the HVAC system and the rest of the home.

First, replace your HVAC system filters regularly to ensure that it is running correctly. Limiting the airflow can trap moisture throughout the ducts.

change hvac filters regularly

Next, be sure that your air ducts are properly sealed and insulated. This will help to keep the air duct system dry.

Another useful tip is investing in a dehumidifier and running it near any areas prone to mold growth. Running one in the bathroom or your basement can make a huge difference by removing moisture in the air.

Could Your Air Ducts Be Growing Mold?

If you’ve noticed any of the signs of mold growing in your home, you’ll want to schedule a professional mold inspection right away. Mold exposure can be incredibly harmful to your family’s health and destructive to your home. Having a mold inspection and air quality test can help you determine the cause and address the issue before it is too late.

To schedule a mold inspection or indoor air quality test for your home or business in New Jersey, please contact Paul Sakson. Our environmental experts offer site assessments, testing, and inspection services to ensure that your building is safe and clean. Reach out to us today for a free quote and schedule a service.

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