Inhaling and/or touching mold can cause both small and large health problems. It can trigger allergies, asthma, infection, skin irritation, organ damage, and cancer. Yeast infections, athlete's foot, and a burning sensation in various parts of the body are also possibilities.
One of many places mold and mildew can grow in your home is in your air ducts. What can cause mildew and mold to grow in your air duct system?
Preventing mildew in the air ducts starts with clean air filters. Filters should be cleaned or changed regularly to remove any build up that occurs. If there are plants, pets, or allergies in the home, a HEPA filter is recommended, as these can remove the smallest airborne particles that can enter a home. If built up gunk is allowed to stay on a filter, dirt and spores can get through and cause mildew to be able to take root in the duct work where it is not easily seen or cleaned.
Humidity in the Home
Humidity in the air ducts is unavoidable during regular use of the heating and cooling systems. The air inside the ducts is at a differing temperature than the air outside the ducts, which can cause condensation inside the ducts. Proper insulation can help assuage this problem. Keeping the home at a humidity level between 30 and 50 percent can also keep conditions out of the favorable growth range for most mildews. Keeping the plumbing system in good repair can also help keep humidity down.
Holes in Air Ducts
Holes in air ducts will allow outside air into the system without the benefits of a filter. Dirt and spores can settle in the ducts easily through holes, and they can also make the heating and cooling systems work harder to keep a steady temperature. Inspecting visible duct work oneself and hiring a professional to inspect the ducts on a regular basis can help find and repair these holes before they become a huge problem.
A Dirty Home
A clean home will go a long way toward having clean air ducts. If there is almost no airborne dirt or mildew spots to throw spores, it is harder for these particles to enter and settle in the ducts. Obviously, it will be impossible to remove all dirt and spores from the home, as more gets tracked in every time the door opens, but keeping the levels down is achievable. Keeping walls and ceilings clean and dry will starve any spores that may try to settle in the home. Cleaning any suspected mildews or molds as soon as they are found will also help keep the ducts clean.
As you can see proper maintenance of your air duct system, cleaning your home, and maintaining a safe humidity level are the keys to protecting your air ducts from mold and mildew growth. When in doubt, don't hesitate to reach out to a professional to have a mold inspection.