When mold becomes a problem for your business, your HVAC system is often the source of the trouble. HVAC systems can not only contribute to mold growth themselves but also transport mold spores throughout your building.
Mold thrives in warm and damp conditions, with access to ready food sources such as drywall, carpeting or wood. HVAC systems, which include drain pans, coils and piping, are excellent sources of indoor moisture if they are not properly installed, operated and maintained. Once mold spores find a damp location in which to grow, indoor environments usually offer moderate temperatures and plenty of food.
Install Equipment Properly
Stopping mold growth starts at the very beginning, with the proper HVAC inspection and installation. Make sure that all of the materials for your HVAC system are in good condition and free of damage or mold, and employ an experienced technician to install your equipment.
Maintain and Treat Dehumidification System
HVAC systems control indoor humidity by condensing water from the air onto the system’s coils, from which it drips into the drain pan. If drain pans are not properly designed and maintained, standing water can accumulate and become an ideal habitat for mold and other microbes. To prevent this, drain pans need to be sloped properly and cleaned regularly so that water drains away through the deep seal trap as intended. In addition, surfaces that are frequently wet should be treated to kill microbes.
Replace Air Filters
Air filters are crucial barriers that prevent mold and other contaminants from reaching your indoor air. Dirty filters become less effective at trapping contaminants, and can also impede the efficiency of your HVAC system.
Air filters should fit snugly in the filter housing, without gaps that can allow air and contaminants through. It’s also important to turn off the HVAC fan when changing the filter, so that particles do not pass through the system unimpeded when the filter is removed.
Keep Ducts Clean and Dry
Certain areas of your ducts are more likely to be affected by moisture and condensation. If dirt builds up in these areas, it creates a habitat for spores. Wherever possible, address areas that are suffering from excessive water build-up by cleaning or fixing components to reduce condensation and replacing any elements that have been damaged by moisture.
Inspect Air Intakes
Air intakes can introduce microbes into your HVAC system, particularly if they are near areas where organic materials accumulate. Dumpsters, standing rain water, freshly disturbed earth or significant bird droppings can all produce airborne microbes, which may be sucked into your HVAC system if there are nearby air intakes. Removing these sources—moving dumpsters, draining water, cleaning droppings, etc.—can help to prevent fungal contaminations.
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