Mold is naturally present in indoor and outdoor air as spores. Mold spores are the reproductive cells or seeds from which molds mature, provided they find a habitable spot. The spores typically form colonies around a food source and moist environment and begin to grow. Once mature, molds stick to surfaces and appear more visible to the eyes, damaging the aesthetics of homes and impacting human health.
Mold spores move freely in the air and can land on any surface, including your air ducts. When this happens, your air conditioning system tends to deliver contaminated air, which can lead to health issues, especially when your household is sensitive to mold.
Since air ducts are often cool and damp, they tend to be the perfect spot for mold to grow, which is why you should pay extra attention to your AC vents to ensure they’re mold-free. Here are some signs that can tell you if you have mold in your air ducts so you can take the proper measures to eliminate them.
1. Musty or mildew-like smell in the house.
Your air ducts play a significant role in conditioning the air in your house. The device works all year round, cooling your home during summer and providing warmth in the winter. The quality of the air you and your family inhale depends on what your air ducts supply.
If your air conditioning system has mold, it will carry these organisms and spread them throughout the building. And when mold is present in the atmosphere, it gives off an unpleasant or musty-like odor.
Interestingly, if you clean everywhere and open the windows to allow fresh air, the odor will return as soon as you shut them and turn on your HVAC system. Sometimes it can be challenging to figure out the nature of the odor, especially if you have gotten used to it. Nonetheless, if you ask an outsider to verify the musty smell, they’re more likely to detect it quickly.
2. Coughing and sneezing when your AC is on
Another way to tell if you have mold in your air ducts is when you or a loved one frequently coughs and sneezes whenever the AC is on. This sign is more apparent in people allergic to mold since they cannot live with the fungi without reacting to it.
3. Runny nose and watering eyes.
You might need to check your air ducts for mold if you’re suffering from a runny nose and watering eyes and don’t know where it’s coming from. This is especially important if you observe that these symptoms become more severe whenever you’re indoors but less prevalent when you’re away from home.
One of the most common allergy symptoms of mold is a runny nose and watering eyes, so make sure to speak with a mold inspection professional to check your system and verify its status.
4. Rashes and skin irritation
Mold exposure can also cause skin irritation and rashes, indicating that the air in your home might have mold. Although rash caused by mold exposure is very similar to other types of rashes caused by other medical issues, you can’t assume your skin irritation is due to mold. However, some common symptoms of mold rashes include:
- raw and sensitive skin
- dry and scaly skin
- pink or brown skin
- small raised bumps that may leak fluid
If you’ve treated your rashes, but it keeps coming back after some time, it might be because you’re still inhaling mold-infested air from your air ducts. Reach out to a house mold removal specialist for mold testing and treatment.
Other common allergies that can arise due to mold exposure are headaches, nausea, fatigue, and dizziness when you’re at home.
5. Visible mold
When mold spores accumulate in a particular area, they grow and become mature molds. Mature molds are visible to the eyes and have a cotton-like appearance with patches of different colors, such as green, brown, black, or white.
If you have noticed these strange things around your air ducts or on the vents, then you already know your air conditioning system has mold.
In conclusion, when you notice any of these signs, it’s essential to take quick action toward verifying the status of your home and getting rid of the fungi before it becomes severe. Delaying for too long can give room for toxic mold to grow, which can be dangerous to everyone in the house, even those less sensitive to mold.