Are you seeing abnormal buildup on your air vents? Is it dark and grimy with a musty smell?
Stay away from it, and if you need to take pictures, use the zoom function on your camera or wear a mask and goggles before getting too close.
What you see is Stachybotrys chartarum, more commonly known as Black Mold.
Toxic mold is growing in your air vents, and it’s best you don’t wait around before doing something about it.
A black mold infestation anywhere is highly hazardous, especially in vents and other areas that facilitate air around your home.
Below we are talking about common symptoms homeowners experience in dealing with toxic molds in their air ducts, what causes them, and what you should do next.
Is There Mold Spores on My Air Vents?
First, let’s begin with how to identify black mold growth in your air vents. Typically, your air conditioner makes the perfect breeding ground for mold spores.
It isn’t only dark and damp to sustain black mold growth, but an HVAC air handler can facilitate its spread to the rest of your entire home even faster.
With a centralized air conditioning system, mold growth can spread through various air vents much faster due to being linked together by ducts.
An air duct can transport mold spores from one air vent to another, and the bigger the infestation, the more expensive mold remediation can be.
Prevent mold spores from getting around your home by ensuring a significant amount of excess moisture doesn’t linger around your HVAC systems.
Routine maintenance, including cleaning services, is an excellent preventive measure you can take to preserve your air conditioner and potentially remove mold growth that has already begun.
Remember that not all mold growing in your HVAC system is visible. Mold growth you can’t spot can cause health symptoms like visible mold growth. Black mold in air vents is easier to see, but chances are they aren’t exclusively growing in your air vents.
Mold infestations move quickly, colonizing darker and damper areas by settling in your air ducts.
How Do I Know If There Is Mold Growth in My Air Ducts?
It’s darker and damper inside air ducts. The mold in air vents is more likely to be an “overflow” of what is in your air ducts. It sounds scary, but it’s true.
The mold spores of Stachybotrys chartarum require excessive moisture to settle down and thrive. It is unlikely to settle somewhere regularly exposed to natural and artificial light, like the air vents of your air conditioner.
If you see black mold in air vents, call a professional to conduct a thorough and expert inspection.
Residents are not advised to peek into ductwork themselves. Increased mold exposure can lead to various health problems.
Health issues related to mold growth
It can start with allergy symptoms like:
- Itchy eyes
- Skin rashes
Still, symptoms can quickly progress to long-term and more serious health problems such as:
- Lung cancer
We recommend replacing any air ducts and vents exposed to black mold and refrain from testing their texture or attempting to clean mold with bare hands.
Call a professional for mold remediation immediately if you notice any signs of black mold in air vents or air ducts.
Signs of black mold in air vents
Mold grows anywhere with high humidity levels and can be hard to spot if they are in areas you don’t regularly visit, like your basement and other crawl spaces.
Still, black mold growing in conditioned and unconditioned spaces typically releases a musty odor.
Additionally, your home’s humidity level can sustain and amplify the smell. However, there are visual indicators if your sense of smell is compromised by the symptoms you have been experiencing lately.
Remember to look out for the following signs of black mold:
- Gray color on white panels of your home.
- While black mold is darker, its color can be thinned to a grayish one when it’s on the other side of a lightly colored board.
- Black mold is one of the more visible mold strains.
- You can see dark or black spots spread across affected areas, possibly in veiny patterns crawling from corner to corner.
- Black mold in air vents also looks like black dust gathered in one spot.
- While there is likely some dust and dead skin cells piled on top, the more porous or fibrous elements are more likely to be black mold than just black dust.
If you encounter any or all of these signs, you need to move fast enough to remove mold growth without leaving any behind.
What Can I Do About Mold In Air Vents?
We recommend scrubbing all signs of black mold with a simple homemade bleach solution. A mixture of a cup of bleach diluted in a gallon of water works fine to remove mold visible to the naked eye.
You can run it through the affected areas if you have UV lights lying around. UV lights are effective measures in dealing with any mold strain but aren’t always the safest to handle without the proper protective gear.
Still, leaving behind enough mold spores can lead to a whole new colony in no time. We suggest you call in a mold remediation expert as soon as possible.
However, you can still prevent black mold from forming anywhere in your HVAC systems by routinely cleaning out accessible air filters and air vents with the bleach solution.
Please don’t forget about the air filters on your air conditioning system. Additionally, mechanical ventilation systems also have air filters.
Are My Filters Infested With Mold?
An air filter houses various contaminants like dust, dust mites, skin cells, bacteria, and even viruses. The toxic mixture of different pollutants releases different pathogens, with some leading to moisture and eventually turning your dirty air filter into a source of your mold problem.
Mold in air filters, and drip pans often lead to pesky problems that may lead to itchy eyes and other allergy symptoms without mold.
It is a long way of saying, you should check in on your filters regularly to prevent black mold and other hazardous infestations from your air handler.
A musty smell can also mean your air filters and drip pans need a thorough cleaning as other possible buildups can cause unpleasant smells leading to their own discomfort-causing effects.
Why It’s Best: You Should Do Something About Mold Now
Kill mold in air vents, air ducts, and the rest of your HVAC system before spreading throughout your home.
You can prevent mold from growing and taking over your entire HVAC system by removing any affected air duct or air vent and replacing it immediately.
Not all AC ducts are interchangeable or replaceable, so it’s best to take preventative maintenance measures to ensure they don’t suffer from an infestation that necessitates a complete overhaul.
Why Things Can Go From Bad to Worse
One affected air duct can lead to all air ducts suffering from a black mold infestation, and it will only be a matter of time before all that “black dust” takes over your HVAC system.
Remedying mold issues for your AC system can be costly. Given Utah’s humidity levels, your house may be filled with mold spores blowing through your ambient air and settling anywhere in your home with standing water and moisture in no time.
What’s the quality of The air you are breathing?
If you are unsure about the air you are breathing indoors, a proper Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) inspection is a good way to tell if your air ducts and other handlers are producing well-conditioned air.
IAQ inspections can also determine the presence of mold and the level of spores circulating in your indoor environment. You can work on remedying affected air ducts immediately before they worsen.
Still, an ounce of prevention is better than a pound of cure.
How to Properly Maintain Air Vents and Air Ducts
We know lesser moisture means lesser chances of black mold settling and breeding anywhere. If you can prevent dust from collecting in your air ducts and air vents by regularly cycling on your air conditioner, it may mean the presence of moisture in the area is slim to none.
Lessen the presence of moisture leading to various molds by preventing leaks in your air ducts, vents, coils, and filters.
It would be best if you kept up with routine maintenance to ensure the cleanliness and stability of your ductwork and air handlers. Remember, black mold growing in your air ducts can affect your house, so don’t take any signs of its presence lightly.
When It’s Time to Call for Professional Help
Call an expert immediately if you see black dust building up in an air vent. Please don’t attempt to remove black mold from your vents or ductwork without proper protective gear and equipment. Molds commonly found in households aren’t black mold and can be dealt with more safely. However, call a reliable industry professional when it comes to black mold.
AC MAINTENANCE: One Stop Heating and Air Conditioning
Please don’t wait for a mold infestation to ruin your day. Proper installation and routine maintenance can prevent these problems from the get-go.
Let us worry about the condition of your AC ducts and their maintenance to help put your mind at ease.