Mold and how it affects indoor air quality

Air Quality

Air Quality Mechanical: Missoula, MT

In our last blog we wrote about how chemicals or VOCs can impact indoor air quality and today’s post will be about the role mold has on indoor air quality.

There are three fairly common types of indoor mold:

  • Cladosporium
  • Stachybotyrs atra ( also known as black mold)
  • Aspergillus family of molds

Aspergillus is the most allergenic mold type, found on foods and in A/C systems. Cladosporium is the small dots in green or black that are found around toilets, sinks and bath tubs, acrylic painted surfaces and fiberglass air ducting. Stachybotyrs atra is the black mold that generally grows in warm, humid areas where water has leaked.

You may have noticed a theme with types of mold that were listed. Moisture. Warmth. Humidity. The EPA has right on the top of their webpage regarding mold: The Key to Mold Control is Moisture Control and below are the top ten things that the EPA thinks you should know about mold.

  1. Potential health effects and symptoms associated with mold exposures include allergic reactions, asthma and other respiratory complaints.
  2. There is no practical way to eliminate all mold and mold spores in the indoor environment; the way to control indoor mold growth is to control moisture.
  3. If mold is a problem in your home or school, you must clean up the mold and eliminate sources of moisture.
  4. Fix the source of the water problem or leak to prevent mold growth.
  5. Reduce indoor humidity (to 30-60%) to decrease mold growth by:
    • Venting bathrooms, dryers and other moisture-generating sources to the outside
    • Using air conditioners and de-humidifiers
    • Increasing ventilation
    • Using exhaust fans whenever cooking, dishwashing and cleaning
  1. Clean and dry any damp or wet building materials and furnishings within 24-48 hours to prevent mold growth.
  2. Clean mold off hard surfaces with water and detergent, and dry completely. Absorbent materials such as ceiling tiles, that are moldy, may need to be replaced.
  3. Prevent condensation: Reduce the potential for condensation on cold surfaces (i.e., windows, piping, exterior walls, roof, or floors) by adding insulation.
  4. In areas where there is a perpetual moisture problem, do not install carpeting (i.e., by drinking fountains, by classroom sinks, or on concrete floors with leaks or frequent condensation).
  5. Molds can be found almost anywhere; they can grow on virtually any substance, providing moisture is present. There are molds that can grow on wood, paper, carpet, and foods.

 

Those are all great things to know but what can an HVAC company like Air Quality Mechanical do to help with some of those issues? We can clean your whole HVAC system. That means your furnace, A/C and your duct work. By doing that we can make sure you have a clean filter. If you have a high efficient furnace moisture can collect in the condensate tubes and collection box, we clean that. Your A/C has coils where condensation builds up. Where condensation builds up so does dirt, gunk and mold. We vacuum and clean all of the duct work, removing dust, dirt and dander. A short explanation for all the ways that having a clean system can help your indoor air quality and fight mold growth. Added benefit from having a clean system is that it runs much more efficiently saving you energy costs.

If you would like more information give us a call at the office at 406-721-7018. We will also be at the 36th Annual Missoula Home and Garden show on April the 2nd and 3rd. Come talk to us about your concerns and see a demo of our duct cleaning machine.