Contrary to what most homeowners believe, AC filters do not prevent bacteria, fungi, and mold spores from settling inside of units. Surprisingly, many of these filters become breeding grounds for microorganisms. Experts point out that most ac units are not fitted with a high efficiency air filter (HEPA), which is a type of filter that can trap mold spores from outside air, before they circulate inside your home, and disposable filters do not provide complete protection.
It turns out, says one air conditioning contractor Palm City FL residents probably have far more respiratory infections and allergic reactions from ill-maintained units that previously thought.
Apart from allergens, mold spores can cause infections on the skin or mucous membranes. And it becomes especially hazardous to people with impaired immune systems. Mold can grow in almost any place, when the conditions are right, and ac coils are kept moist, so filters don’t always remove deposits of bacteria and mold spores. When the air conditioning unit is turned on, mold spores are distributed.
How Hazardous Are Mold Spores in The Home?
Mold spores typically form together to create a what’s known as a cluster. This cluster is generally visible. However, when in high amounts of invisible mold spores, that are not grouped together in “clusters”, they will move around the air. For these type of spores, we are unable to see. Because their so small it can be difficult to detect and even more complex is to eliminate them.
For most of us, mold or mildew in small numbers will not harm us because our immune system typically kicks in. However, when mold is left undetected it grows and spreads, until it becomes out of control. For example, you cannot see mold spores growing on ac coils, especially if you neglect any maintenance. When this occurs, mold typically spreads and can create a health hazard.
These microscopic spores and growing mildew cause respiratory problems, common symptoms of allergic reactions, disorders within the nervous system and even mild depression. There are specific categories of mold that produce what is known as mycotoxins. This mold is particularly dangerous and creates a toxic environment for your breathing, and every other occupant and pet in the household.
How to Control Mold Growth
Start by installing high efficiency air particulate filters (HEPA) to better eliminate mold from the air. You can also use a dehumidifier to keep the air drier. Keeping indoor humidity levels at less than 30 to 50 percent will keep mold spores under control.
In the bathroom, keep the fan on when showering or taking baths to control humidity. Also, clean or replace the shower curtains if you see mold growing on them. In the rest of the home keep all sinks and tubs clean and dry, try to limit the use of vaporizers for a long periods of time, which are often used to manage asthma and allergy symptoms, and keep abreast of any musty odors in the home. Odors are a telltale sign of mold and mildew, especially in bathrooms and basements. Lastly, schedule maintenance for your air conditioning unit to ensure all parts are thoroughly cleaned and in good working condition.