Get Mold Out of Your HVAC System
In a business setup, indoor mold growth is responsible for more than just nasty smells. Mold is a fungus that spreads through the ventilation and HVAC system, into the very air that you, your customers and your employees breathe.
This can seriously affect your health and wellbeing, triggering asthma, allergic reactions and lung disorders when it’s present in indoor air. The fungus can also damage heating and cooling equipment installed in a building, leading to expensive furnace repair bills and air conditioning breakdowns.
Why is Mold Growth a Problem in Business HVAC Systems?
As a fungus, mold loves your business HVAC. The system creates the perfect environment for it – warm, moist and (mostly) closed in.
The heat and humidity generated during heating and cooling operations collects within your HVAC units, allowing fungi spores to set up colonies quickly and spread through the air. They can also enter the system from outside, by sticking to clothes and shoes that people wear. Rain, snow and sleet can also increase the humidity indoors, helping mold thrive.
Some forethought, effort and professional advice can go a long way toward preventing mold, as well as the lawsuits/repair costs that come with it!
How to Prevent Mold Growth
Here are 5 simple ways to prevent excessive mold growth in your business HVAC system:
1. Clean and maintain your HVAC regularly, since that’s the best solution for keeping mold at bay. Make sure to check for leaks and damp spots, and use the right air filters for the system you’ve installed on the premises.
2. Install proper drainage for the heating and cooling units you use, so water doesn’t collect indoors. A “dry-off” area at the entrance with mats and floor drains can also be very helpful if your area is prone to sudden showers.
3. Consider investing in dehumidifiers, fans and space heaters that can be used to dry up damp spots or leaks. Smart thermostats and humidity control systems can also help keep your building at optimum temperature and humidity levels.
4. Use proper insulation for pipes, ceilings and walls, paying special attention to underground and ground-level systems. Install sealants or caulking for visible cracks and leaks in walls, windows and roofing.
5. Avoid opening doors and windows as far as possible, especially when the weather is warm, damp or dusty outdoors. Pay extra attention to cleaning and maintenance for entrances, loading docks and other exposed spaces.
How to Remove Mold from the System
Removing mold is a little more complicated than preventing it, but here are a few things you can do:
1. Carefully inspect the cooling units, furnaces, pipes and ventilation ducts for signs of water damage or mold growth. If there are damp spots or pools of water anywhere, use fans, space heaters and dehumidifiers to dry them out. Repair, clean and seal any leaks you find, to prevent repeat issues.
2. Clean the air filters, ventilation ducts and exposed pipes on a regular basis. Make sure to clear the area around outdoor and indoor units alike, since debris encourages mold growth. Schedule professional HVAC maintenance and cleaning at least twice a year, but preferably every change of season.
3. If there is any damage or excessive mold growth in the system, call a specialist to have it evaluated, cleaned and treated. Sometimes, it can be hard to tell exactly where the spores originate from, or why the air never smells fresh enough. Hidden mold colonies may be to blame!
4. When in doubt, always consult a professional. There’s a good reason why cooling and heating repairs, construction, insulation and other services are conducted by licensed pros. They know where problems occur and how to fix them in a timely manner, which is crucial for uninterrupted performance at the workplace.
Taking the right precautions against mold growth is necessary in a business HVAC system, since your staff and customers depend on it for comfort. If you let mold get the upper hand, you could end up losing a lot of time and money in the attempt to halt its growth later. Schedule periodic HVAC cleanings to ensure the indoor air you breathe remains at high quality!
Dan is the Digital Marketing Manager for Service Champions. He blogs about home improvement in his spare time.