Do You Have Mold in Your Air Conditioner? How to Prevent and Remove It

According to the CDC, molds can irritate the nose, throat, eye, skin, and lungs. AC units can be a haven for mold if not properly maintained. This can lead to mold spores in your home’s ductwork, which can impede airflow and contaminate the rest of your house.

Mold needs an organic food source or moisture coming from high humidity, a spill or a leak. Condensers and evaporators contribute to moisture on the coils, and so they have the potential for water leakage if not properly vented.

While mold does not usually grow on properly functioning air conditioners or in HVAC ducts, it’s best to ensure that your unit is not contributing to poor indoor air quality by having maintenance performed annually.

How to get rid of mold from an air conditioner

To remove mold, you don’t need bleach. Just use household cleaner and a cloth or sponge, and remember to wear goggles, gloves and a face mask. Getting rid of all mold from a porous surface like wood, plaster, carpet or upholstery might be impossible. You might need to remove the moldy item, throw it away and replace it.

Window AC Unit

It’s too late by the time you notice spots of mold forming in your window air conditioner. These units are not generally meant to be taken apart to be cleaned. If mold has grown throughout the unit, it is best to replace it.

Central AC

If you notice a musty smell or dark spots near your vents, it’s possible that you have mold growing in your ductwork. Cleaning these requires a professional.

How to prevent mold from growing in your air conditioner

Air conditioners are typically a source of moisture, so controlling moisture is very important to stopping mold growth. Here are a few steps to follow when you use an air conditioner:

Window AC Unit

When humid air in an air conditioner is cooled, the water in the air condenses outside the room. A window unit should fit tightly to prevent rain and humid air from entering the room. To prevent dust build-up, window units’ grates and filters should be cleaned regularly. Before storing portable units for the winter, make sure they are empty and dry.

Central AC Unit

The airflow tends to prevent moisture buildup in HVAC ductwork because it dries them out. Keep all grates and return airways unblocked to ensure proper air movement. Don’t use water to clean your HVAC system. Always use dry vacuuming or dry wiping.

We recommend having your AC unit service annually before the summer season. We will clean the unit and inspect it for any wear and tear. This will keep the unit running at peak efficiency and may save you the stress of having it go down on the hottest day of the year. Any mold issues will be discovered in this inspection and can be addressed through cleaning or repairs to the problem that is causing the mold to build up.