Mold growth in an HVAC system is a common occurrence. Mold is a cunning little organism. It expands and spread undetected. Molds are not simply ugly looking on walls, they can cause illnesses to building occupants. And the most common cause of poor indoor air quality.
Mold can be present in the HVAC system to the degree that it is present in the building’s atmosphere, which is why this complaint is so widespread. Mold will be more prevalent in humid weather while less prevalent in dry weather. However, it is a controllable matter. Mold prevention is easy, just take note that moisture and food are what it needs to thrive. Getting rid of those, the mold will be minimized to some degree.
Causes of Mold in HVAC Systems?
The following are the most common causes of mold growth in HVAC equipment:
1. Moisture Content
Mold growth is primarily caused by high humidity levels in a household, both within the HVAC systems and within the building. The summer months are typically when natural humidity is at its peak. Indoor sources such as showers and baths and cooking all contribute to excessive humidity.
Because of the moisture in the air, the HVAC system produces condensation through the air ducts when it is running. Condensation is generated by the cooling process, which naturally eliminates moisture from the air. This condensation normally absorbs away via the condensate drain pan and condensate lines.
3. Inadequate Ventilation
Poor ventilation allows reservoirs of humid moist air to develop within the building. Because of inadequate ventilation, any steam or evaporating water in the air produces more humidity that cannot be circulated out.
What are the Signs of Mold in HVAC Systems?
- Visible mold which can start as small green or black specks is the most obvious sign of mold development. The specks will expand and even become fuzzy over time. Even worse, it won’t be visible thru paint or wallpaper but signs like bubbling and flaking would appear, which may suggest mold development.
- An odd, musty odor inside the building is another telltale sign. This is particularly troublesome if the odor only occurs while the machine is blowing cold or warm air since this indicates that the mold is located inside the ductwork, which can be difficult to locate and clean without professional assistance.
- Ultimately, mold can make the occupants sick, particularly those who already suffer from breathing or allergy problems. Even with no allergies, mold spores and contaminants may irritate the skin and eyes, and experience cold-like symptoms.
According to the EPA, HVAC systems can be checked regularly, not only for mold but also for humidity. Check to see if the drain and condensate pans are running properly. If they aren’t sealed, the moisture that collects will transform into a mold factory.
Make sure as well that all HVAC ducts and system parts, such as air handlers, blowers, plenums, and the like are dry.
But if there are still complaints about the system despite daily inspections here are some cleaning tips to share with HVAC contractor:
- Switch off the air conditioning machine.
- Everybody involved in the cleaning should put on a respirator.
- Remove any porous materials that have become damp, such as filters or insulation.
- A vacuum with a HEPA filter may be the most effective tool to use. Clean the electronic equipment and racks. Wipe the surface using the appropriate disinfectant.
- Apply mold or mildew inhibitors to all HVAC system parts. To avoid the risks associated with using the wrong chemicals and cleaners in HVAC systems, these must be EPA licensed and clearly labeled for use in HVAC systems.
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) has a major effect on occupant health. Poorly ventilated rooms may cause Sick Building Syndrome (SBS ). Respiratory symptoms, asthma, and other health problems may be triggered by dust and indoor air particles.
Steps to Mold Prevention and Improving Indoor Air Quality
Proactive actions will help to save equipment until it suffers a catastrophic failure. Contaminants are threats that are invisible to the naked eye. It’s hard to get rid of them from the facility or a building. However, lowering the number using a variety of methods will help the occupants in mold prevention and consistency the indoor air quality.
Keep Facilities Clean
A healthy indoor atmosphere is kept safe. Reduce the amount of dust and mold inside the facility. Regular cleaning atleast once or twice a week. Also, providing various flooring options, such as wood and tiles, rather than wall-to-wall carpeting, is beneficial in the fight against mold.
Use Air Filters
To remove air contaminants, adding air filters to the HVAC system may help. The HVAC system is clogged with dust, pollen, mold, and other particles. An efficient air filter increases air quality while also extending the life of the HVAC systems.
Regular Cleaning of Drapes and Bedding
These big fabrics trap dust and draw allergens. They should be washed in water that is at least 130 degrees Fahrenheit. Regularly washing bedding, such as duvets and pillows, is also beneficial.
Clean and Change Filters
Filters must be changed or cleaned regularly if the facilities have forced air heating or cooling systems. Electrostatic filters, which attract and retain dust and airborne particles, may also aid. This prevents them from being blown around within the building. If there’s a centralized system of ductwork, cleaning the ducts is beneficial.
Dust collects in areas where clutter exists. The amount of dust generated is reduced by clearing the clutter.
Install air purification systems in parts of the building that are often visited. They use HEPA filters to circulate the air. They may not be able to capture all airborne particles, but they do aid in the capture of irritants and allergens. UV lamps, for example, sterilize and destroy airborne bacteria and viruses. This is particularly critical throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.
Mold growth is aided by dampness in buildings caused by high humidity levels. Basements, toilets, and showers are all cold and humid environments. Surface mold must be scrubbed away, and these areas must be properly ventilated.
Wireless Air Quality Sensors
Proactive actions against possible issues by closely monitoring the temperature, humidity, and air quality. Air Quality Monitoring sensors such as those offered by AKCP presents the data of the facility’s air composition and condition. Air quality sensors assist in determining the level of toxic pollutants in the air. It may also give an alarm if it detects an excessive amount of a hazardous contaminant.
Wireless Air Quality Sensor can detect five different sizes of Particulate Matter. PM0.5, PM1.0, PM2.5, PM4 and PM10. This sensor can also measure the mass concentration of particles in the PM1.0 to PM10 range and particle number concentration in the PM0.5 to PM10 range. This measurement is based on the average size of the current sample.
Most of all it can detect various Metal Oxide (MOx) gases and displays the value as a VOC Index.
Examples of these gases are:
– Acetone (eg. paints and glues)
– Toluene (eg. furniture)
– Ethanol (eg. perfume, cleaning fluids)
– Hydrogen Sulfide (eg. decaying food)
– Benzene (eg. Cigarette smoke)
Wireless Differential Air Pressure
AKCP Wireless Air Pressure Differential detect the varying level of pressure in HVAC System. The filters cleanse the air coming from the outdoor before it enters the facility. The pressure on the other side after the filtration drops, to let the other opposite side suck more air.
The data collected by the sensor can be used by the technicians or administrators during maintenance to know what adequate action is needed.
Aside from measuring the pressure on the opposite sides of the HVAC System, AKCP Wireless Air Pressure Differential also monitors the performance of the unit as well. A significant change in pressure could dictate problems like mold and dirt build-up, stuck foreign matter, bird’s nest, and many more that would lead to damage or worst a breakdown.
Differential pressure checks are an essential part of general HVAC equipment servicing and wider IAQ assessment. With that in mind, check out AKCP Wireless Air Quality Sensor and Wireless Air Pressure Differential.
Indoor air quality is advantageous not only to humans but also to electronic devices. This also determines a company’s success by having quality monitoring and engineering managers who understand how HVAC systems can lead to mold problems and have a greater chance of developing prevention strategies.