Molds are likely to form inside the air conditioner if you don’t use them for quite a long time. This often happens in winter, when many homeowners opt to have their air conditioning system turned off. With the unit not running, moisture builds up within the system, providing the perfect condition for molds to grow.
Unfortunately, most people only realize this until the weather heats up and they have to turn on their ACs. By this time, they could get exposed to air contaminated by mold spores or other airborne bacteria.
Why Do Molds Grow in Air Conditioners?
Molds start as spores, and an unused AC is an ideal place for growing. The spores will eventually become airborne once they settle inside your air conditioner and quickly spread to other areas of your home, including your clothes, home appliances, and even food.
An HVAC San Jose expert said molds could cause your air conditioner to work less efficiently if they are not taken care of immediately. They can reach the air conditioner ducts and block the drains and other parts, leading to machine failure that will require costly repairs.
How To Remove Air Conditioner Molds
Mold is a problem in any home, especially if they settle in your air conditioner. It’s best to get rid of them, but if you have a severe mold case, it’s best to let HVAC professionals handle them.
Still, if you think you can do the job on your own, you should consider the following steps:
1. Turn off the AC
To prevent molds from spreading, you should begin by turning off the air conditioner. This is the general recommendation of the Environmental Protection Agency regarding molds in your AC.
2. Protect Yourself
Molds are hazardous to the eyes and face. Keep them safe by wearing protective gear. For your hands, you should wear non-porous gloves. They can be readily bought at your local hardware store if you don’t have any of these.
3. Mold Check
Determine the extent of the mold damage by looking at your air conditioner’s overall appearance. Look for any dark patches and white fuzzy growths.
If you smell something strange when you turn on the AC but don’t see any visible mold growth, this could already mean an infestation has occurred.
4. Prepare To Clean
Use a multipurpose household cleaner to remove molds from your air conditioner. However, bleach and distilled vinegar are also options. Another alternative is to purchase an Environmental Protection Agency-registered mold removal product, usually available at your local hardware store.
5. Remove Unit Parts
You can remove AC parts in different ways. Check your unit’s instruction manual, especially regarding the exterior grille covers; while they’re easily removable, not all models are set up the same way.
Once you remove the grille covers, check your air conditioner’s interior for signs of mold growth with a flashlight. Often, you might see streaks or clusters with black, greenish, or brownish stains. Some might also appear fuzzy or powdery.
6. Vacuum the AC
Use a vacuum with a nozzle attachment to remove dirt and dust from your air conditioner. This will allow you to remove as much dirt as you can. Then, spray the U-shaped coils at the back and front of your AC with a commercial coil cleaner. Allow the solution to sit for several hours to eliminate any remaining mold residue, then use a garden sprayer to finish the job.
7. Scrub the AC
Use a sponge soaked in warm water mixed with your cleaning solution to thoroughly wash your air conditioning unit’s interior. You may also use a gallon of warm water mixed with half a cup of household bleach.
The mixture should kill all the fungi if there isn’t a mold colony. Allow your cleaning solution to sit on the AC for about 10 minutes. Use clean water to spray the solution off, then wipe the area with a dry cloth.
8. Dry the AC
It can take up to 24 hours for all of the parts of your air conditioner to dry completely. When they do, start placing all the air conditioner parts back.
9. Re-install Unit Parts
After getting all the AC parts re-installed, turn the unit on. If you notice an unusually strong smell or sudden allergic reactions, molds could still be in your unit. It is best to call a specialist if this is the case.
It can be difficult to determine if your air conditioner is moldy. It could also require you to have a working knowledge of your unit’s anatomy and function. If not, you should be careful not to touch any parts of your AC because of the potential for electrocution or other related injuries.
Yet, it is crucial to remove molds from your air conditioner system. A DIY job can be considered, but if you feel it’s too dangerous, you can contact professional cleaning companies.