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Understanding Mold and Its Impact on Indoor Air Quality

Mold growing inside air handler wall

Mold is everywhere in Florida’s indoor and outdoor environment. Getting rid of all mold spores is impossible, but you can be proactive to help prevent their growth in your home or business. Air conditioning systems help rid the air of mold, damp air, dust, and debris, but over time these begin to build up in our AC systems and may eventually lead to costly repairs. Regular air conditioning maintenance and servicing can help prevent these issues and identify indoor air quality concerns before they become too problematic.

Symptoms and Susceptibility

For those allergic to mold, reactions can occur from mild to serious. Symptoms include sneezing, runny nose, red eyes, and, for those with asthma, asthma attacks. Studies have shown that early exposure to mold might be linked to respiratory illness in children considered healthy otherwise.

Those most susceptible are:

  • The elderly;
  • Persons with compromised immune systems;
  • Babies and children; and
  • Persons with chronic lung disease.

Where Does Mold Grow

Everywhere! But most especially damp and dark environments, which gives it no limits in Florida. The most common places for mold to grow in an HVAC system occurs around the evaporator coil and condensation pan where small amounts of water tend to accumulate.

Mold can grow on virtually anything, including leather, fabric, food, sheetrock, tile, carpet, paper and wood. Mold spores, which float in the air until they land on a host, are invisible to the naked eye. The most common types of mold include:

  • Alternaria: This mold is usually in your nose, mouth and respiratory tract
  • Aspergillus: This mold is found in extremely warm and damp climes, and is commonly in house dust.
  • Cladosporium: These spores come from outdoors, but work their way inside.
  • Penicillium: This is a very common mold which can be found on wallpaper, decaying fabrics, carpet, and fiberglass duct insulation.
  • Stachybotrys: This is the extremely toxic “black mold” that produces mycotoxins that can cause serious breathing difficulties and bleeding of the lungs. It is not usually found in homes.

Keeping Mold Growth Down in Your Environment

There are a number of tips for homeowners who want to keep their indoor air quality as high as possible:

  • Use vent fans in your bathrooms and clean with mold-killing cleansers.
  • Don’t put carpet in your bathrooms.
  • Always run your air conditioner during the humid months, even if you are not at home. A warm, damp interior will quickly breed mold.
  • Make sure your air conditioning vents and coils are clean and free of mold.
  • Use UV lights to prevent molds growth in your air conditioning unit.
  • Replace air conditioning filters every 30 days.
  • Call a professional for help with mold removal.

For help keeping mold at bay in your home of business, please call our team of licensed HVAC professionals. In Port St. Lucie, call (772) 398-0023 and call (772) 220-1496 in Martin County.


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