So you found mold in your air conditioner. What do you do now? Although you can call professionals to come and clean your unit, ducts, and vents, washing the mold away is a short-term solution. The mold will return because the cause was not eliminated.
That’s where licensed and trained experts in heating and cooling systems come in handy. We understand the science behind air, and how it’s affecting your property.
Before we can cover how to get rid of mold in your AC system for good, it’s important to understand what causes mold to thrive.
The Recipe for Mold
Right now, there are mold spores floating in the air around you, and they are hoping to find the perfect spot to settle down and make spores of their own.
Mold needs two things to grow:
- An organic food source (IE: dust)
Combine those two, wait a while, and mold will thrive.
Moisture typically collects from humidity in the air and living in a subtropical climate like Florida, humidity is something we all face. But an efficient air conditioning unit or HVAC system will combat the moisture indoors by dehumidifying the air to the optimum level of 50-55%.
However, not all air conditioners were installed by professionals who take air as seriously as Action Air Conditioning. If you have mold in your air conditioner, then you probably have moisture sticking to your vents, ducts, or the unit itself.
Sweating Vents, Ducts, and Units
If you take a cold can of soda or beer outside on a hot day, what happens next? The can becomes drenched in sweat. The dew point has been reached between the hot air and the cold object causing water vapor to condense on the surface.
When there is a lot of water vapor (humidity) in the air and the grille, register, diffuser, ducts, or unit is cold, condensation forms and creates a breeding ground for mold.
So, how do we fix that?
Sometimes your unit simply isn’t dehumidifying the way it should be. Let’s review a few problems and their solutions.
Lowering Sensible Heat Ratio (SHR)
When the sensible heat ratio drops, latent heat is removed. Less air passing through the evaporator coil will cause the coil to be colder and dehumidify better. In layman’s terms, when your fan speed is set to low, the air runs through the unit slower resulting in cooler and drier air.
But just changing your fan speed might not be enough.
A licensed technician will be able to figure out what changes need to be made to your cooling system to reduce the relative humidity of the air. Many times, the unit is too large for the space it’s cooling.
Bigger isn’t always better. An oversized unit will run through shorter cycles that do not give it enough time to dehumidify properly. Too much humidity will lead to moisture problems. This is why it’s crucial to choose the right sized unit for the space you need to cool.
But if your unit size is just right, the problem could be humid air intrusion or ventilation issues.
Let’s go over these two issues and a few ways to solve them.
Technical Solutions to Lower Dew Point
Where is the humid air coming from? If your vents are sweating, you or a professional will need to remove the cover and look inside. A professional will use a blower door test to identify precisely where the leak is coming from.
If the humid air is coming from inside of the vent, remedies may include silicone or foam tape inside of the can and/or mastic on the outside, sealing it to the wall or floor.
If the area around the ducts or unit is humid, there could be gaps in your insulation or it could be old and deteriorating. Adding new insulation to the space where your ducts and unit sit will help to stop outdoor humidity from creeping in.
If humid air intrusion is not present or it’s corrected, ventilation should be evaluated next. You may need to add more airflow to areas that need it most. If your vents are struggling to stay dry, one possible fix is to seal around the boxes in the attic.
But if your ducts and indoor unit are wet, you need to focus on insulation and a dehumidifier. To draw water out of the air around your ducts and unit, you will need a dehumidifier installed.
No matter what the right solution is, the result is always a dry environment between 30% and 60% humidity that inhibits the growth of mold.
Consult the Air Conditioning Pros in Tampa Bay
If you’re experiencing mold in your air conditioner, vents, or air ducts, Contact Action Air Conditioning today.
We will form a personalized plan of action to assess and balance your airflow, temperature, and humidity. You deserve to live and work in an optimal environment for you, not mold.