How To Tell If There Is Mold In Your Air Ducts

by Allied / Thursday, 15 July 2021 / Published in Mold Remediation

Mold growth is a common problem for most homeowners. If you’re lucky, the mold would be visible so that it can be removed and the affected area treated relatively quickly. 

But what if you can’t even see the mold? What if it is hidden away in a part of your home where it can still cause harm, such as in your air ducts? 

Assuming you already know that mold is present, the obvious course of action would be to find out where it is. Most people generally hire a professional to inspect and clean their air ducts. 

But other factors could tip you off to the presence of mold. Musty odors are a dead giveaway, and you may even see mold growth on different surfaces around your home. 

You and your family could also experience symptoms commonly associated with mold exposure. Needless to say, it would be best to solve the problem before it reaches this point. 

Before we go into more detail on how to detect mold in your air ducts, let’s find out how it gets there in the first place. 

How Mold Grows and Spreads

Mold is present in almost every type of environment around the world, indoors or outdoors. In most cases, it goes virtually undetected because the conditions aren’t suitable for its growth. But with moisture and a food source present, mold can quickly take root and grow out of control

The conditions typically exist in wet places, including bathrooms, kitchens, and basements. But mold can also thrive in HVAC systems and air ducts. 

The high volume of air that passes through vents and air ducts sometimes leaves drops of water on the interior surfaces. Given the ready availability of moisture, all the mold spores need to thrive is a food source, which comes in the form of dead skin cells, dust, and household debris. 

The presence of mold in air ducts is especially alarming because of the ease with which it could spread to other parts of the home. There is also a higher risk of mold exposure as the air blows the spores out into the room. 

Common Signs of Mold in Air Ducts

Unfortunately, mold in air ducts isn’t as easy to detect as when it is out in the open. Therefore, you could have a full-blown case of mold infestation on your property without being aware of the problem. 

Even so, there are a few indicators that could alert you to the presence of mold in your air ducts. Here are some of the more common signs to look out for:

Musty Odor

This is usually the first and most obvious indicator that there is mold growing in your air ducts. At first, you may notice the smell only when you turn your heater or air-conditioner on. Over time, the mold-indicating musty odor may become stronger until it fills the entire room, even when the HVAC system is off. 

Allergy Symptoms and Other Respiratory Issues

As the mold problem worsens, you and your family may experience colds more frequently. In addition, those with preexisting conditions such as asthma may have more frequent attacks. You don’t want the problem to progress to this point, so it is crucial to take action at the first sign of mold. 

Readily Visible Mold

When you can clearly see mold in the air ducts, you know that you have a serious problem on your hands. It is vital to take immediate action and call a qualified professional to remove all traces of the mold. 

How to Deal with Mold in Your Air Ducts 

Now that you know that mold is present in your air ducts, how do you deal with the problem? 

Relatively minor cases of mold infestation can be dealt with fairly easily with home cleaning solutions. For example, if the mold is constrained to a few spots near the opening, you could probably remove the grill covering the vent, reach in, and clear out most of the mold. 

Dealing with more extensive growth is a bit more complicated. You don’t necessarily want to reach in and clear out a vent that has a thick coating of mold. Remember that breathing in the particles can cause severe health issues, so you will have to wear the necessary protective equipment for your safety. 

With more severe cases of mold infestation, it is advisable to call a professional mold cleaning service. These services are staffed by qualified and experienced personnel with the necessary skills, knowledge, and equipment to remove mold safely. They will also treat the affected area to ensure that the mold doesn’t return.