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How Common Is Mold In Air Ducts?

How Common Is Mold In Air Ducts?

Have you ever noticed a musty, mildew like smell around your house? Do your allergies flare up when you turn on the AC? IF the answer to any of those questions is yes. Then I’m sorry to tell you that you might have an unwanted guest living inside your air ducts.

As you might have guessed from the title of this article, I’m talking about mold. Most of us have dealt with it in some form or another since its a relatively common occurrence in bathrooms and other hot and humid spots. However, some homeowners are unaware that it can grow rampant inside their HVAC systems and can even lead to serious injury when inhaled.

What are the chances of mold growing in your HVAC system?

Don’t panic and go ripping out your air vents just yet. There are many factors that can have an impact on your chances of getting mold in your ducts, location, and age of your home being the most important.

Mold requires hot and humid conditions to survive and thrive, so if you live somewhere dry, cold, or both, you might be off the hook. Similarly, a properly functioning HVAC should keep your air ducts dry, which will prevent any mold from growing.

On the flip side, if you live somewhere with warm, humid climates, you should be wary of mold making its way into your HVAC system. The same goes for an older home since an older system is more likely to have bumps and dents that will allow moisture to pool and mold to thrive.

How to know if mold is growing in my home?

Unfortunately, mold spores are microscopic, so until your home is infested you might not be able to tell at plain sight that it’s even there. However, if you’re scared mold might be growing in your air ducts, there are some warning signs to pay attention to.

Weird Smells

Like I said above, as mold proliferates, it will cause your home to develop a musty, mildew like smell that wasn’t there before. This smell may be caused by mold spores but is more likely a result of the gasses released as a byproduct of the mold’s biological process.

However, the real harm doesn’t come from these gases, but from mold spores, which can be completely odorless, so a lack of smell doesn’t mean you’re off the hook. In fact, some molds can be at their most harmful when they are the least smelly.

Common Mold Inhalation Symptoms

While these depend on the type of mold and how much of it is in the air, most strains of mold will cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat when their spores are in the air, as well as cause allergies to flare up, leading to runny noses, rashes, and watery eyes.

As the inhalation gets worse, you may even begin experiencing headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. If these symptoms only occur when you’re at home and are inexplicably cleared when you leave. Your home might have a mold infestation. However, be sure to always consult your primary care physician.

You can see the mold.

This is the most obvious sign of a mold infestation. However, it is not recommended you wait until the mold is visible to take action, as most strains only become visible once the mold has grown to unbelievable proportions and the cleanup efforts will require a lot of time and money.

Most common types of mold

Acremonium – It can take months or even years for these spores to build up enough to be visible, at which point they’ll appear as a white, powdery substance. It can lead to infections and allergies when inhaled or entering the body through small injuries.

Alternaria – One of the most common forms of mold, it takes on a greenish hue and a velvet-like appearance. In most cases, it is not very harmful, but can still cause headaches, nausea and allergy symptoms to those exposed

Aspergillus – It’s one of the hardest molds to identify because different strains take on different colors and appearances. This insidious pest can get in your sinuses and cause bloody discharge, fever, and headaches.

Chaetomium – Manifesting as a brown substance that resembles cotton, this type of mold produces mycotoxins, which can lead to fevers, headaches, and more severe health effects.

Mucor – An extremely toxic kind that is very prone to growing inside air ducts, this type of mold has to be dealt with quickly and efficiently to avoid major health concerns.

Fusarium – It often takes on a pink or reddish appearance, this one needs a high concentration of moisture to grow, so it’s most likely to appear on damaged of leaking systems. Inhalation can lead to abscesses, lung infections, and skin lesions.

Stachybotrys – Often known as black mold for its color, this is one of the most infamous and toxic strains of mold out there. It is extremely toxic to humans, so if spotted, professional help is a must.

What to do if you have mold in your air ducts?

While you might be tempted to simply wipe it off and move on, doing this would only delay the inevitable, and not by much. As I said above, mold spores are microscopic, so even if you’re using harsh cleaning chemicals, you’re liable to leave enough spores around that the mold can quickly regenerate and continue growing unimpeded. Not only that, but if you don’t know what you’re doing, you might damage your HVAC, increasing your costs even more.

The smart thing to do if you find yourself dealing with a mold infestation is to contact professionals who are trained to get rid of mold infestations for good. Lucky for you, here at RestorationUSA we pride ourselves on offering only the best of the best when it comes to taking care of your home. So get in touch and you’ll be sorted in no time.

Resources:

EPA Mold Information
Mayo Clinic Mold Information