Stop Mold Growth in Your Business HVAC System

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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Should I Get an HVAC Maintenance Plan or a Home Warranty?

When you purchase a new HVAC system, you may be wondering whether to invest in a maintenance plan or a home warranty. Home warranties often have more restrictions and offer less service. Warranties address problems after they arise but don’t provide maintenance to help avoid these problems. With a maintenance system, however, you can get yearly inspections and checkups, and when your system does encounter a problem, service is generally same day.

1. HVAC Checkups and Cleaning

Yearly inspections and cleanings can help keep your HVAC system running smoothly, but home warranties don’t offer this service. Additionally, many home warranties won’t cover repairs if the system hasn’t been properly maintained. With a home warranty, all cleanings and checkups are left to the homeowner instead of a qualified professional. Homeowners with maintenance plans get routine cleanings every six months, so the maintenance is handled by the company instead of the owner.

2. Discounts on Parts and Repairs

While home warranties often require the homeowner to pay a deductible in order to provide service, an HVAC maintenance plan covers service and parts at discounted prices. This means that not only are you covered for service without paying a deductible, but also that you will get this service at a better price. Home warranties generally have limits on what they will fix, since it is in their best interest not to provide service, but this isn’t an issue with the maintenance plans.

3. Lower Utility Bills

Home warranties offer service once a problem arises, but with a maintenance plan, your HVAC system can get regular tuneups that will help prevent problems. These tuneups can keep your system running smoothly, which saves on your electricity bill. Studies show that a unit can maintain up to 95 percent original efficiency when it gets regular tuneups.

4. Priority Scheduling

HVAC maintenance plans generally give you priority when you’re in need of service. This means you won’t have to wait in line for a qualified technician to come to your home. As a member of the maintenance plan, you will most likely get same-day service. With home warranties, on the other hand, you may have to wait a long time before a technician can make it out to your home.

5. Trustworthy Service

When you have a home warranty, you can’t choose your repair company, and warranty contractors usually try to make above what the warranty company pays them. An HVAC maintenance plan allows you to work with technicians you trust, so you won’t have to worry about contractors trying to charge you above what is needed for their own benefit.

HVAC maintenance plans and home warranties differ in the coverage they provide. When you choose a maintenance plan, you’ll have peace of mind knowing that service and support is available without red tape and complications.

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