If you have just casually stumbled upon black mold growing in your air conditioner, you must brace yourself to take swift action to manage and prevent it. You may be wondering if it is actually worrisome at all. Well, yes, it is because it poses a significant health hazard, and you should treat it as quickly as possible.
Health problems are not the only thing, foul odor and the fear of your AC breaking down also surround the black mold growth. If you are doing nothing to encourage this growth, you need to know precisely how you can actively prevent it. In this article, we are going to walk you through every aspect of dealing with black mold effectively, so let’s get started.
Materials that Can Save You!
A few simple tools are necessary to start the process of getting rid of the mold from your air conditioner. Mark this checklist first:
Safety Tools: Face mask and rubber gloves
- A vacuum cleaner with an appropriate nozzle attachment
- Antibacterial Soap (you can use ordinary dish soap)
- AC Coil Cleaner
- Scrub brush or sponge
- Crevice tool
- Screw Driver and related tool kit
All these tools are just a few essentials and most of these items will be available already at your home. So once you get hold of everything, start the step-wise mold removal process.
Step-by-Step Guide for Mold Removal
Step1.Your Protection Comes First
Whatever you do, your protection is the priority, especially when handling chemicals and machinery. Put on your protective gear with safety glasses and latex gloves. Use a face mask to protect your nose, too, and get your tools at the ready.
Always check if you have high-quality cleaning materials that will work on removing and effectively resisting the mold. If professional cleaners are doing the cleaning for you, you must ask them about the products. However, don’t forget to do your research before you let them in your house.
Step2. Remove the Window AC
Start by removing the window AC with the help of your screwdriver. The heavy window ac needs to be removed from the frame that keeps it in place, and for that, you need manual assistance. After removing it, take it to your workspace, where you are going to clean it. It is better to clean the unit outside and carefully remove the mold so that no mold remains inside your house and annoys you later. You can use your yard or driveway as safe options.
Step3. Soak the Filters
Next up is soaking the filters from the front of the AC in hot soapy water. This will help bring out some dirt. Add half a cup of bleach to the mixture for quick removal of the dirt. Keep the filters soaked in the water for some time until all the dirt is out of them and they are ready to be cleaned and dried up.
Step4. Remove other Parts
After removing the upper filters, you can detach the top and back sections. You have to be very cautious about following the user manual, or you might not be able to put all the parts back together as they were. All the parts must be removed to expose the inside of your AC for deep cleaning. If you are unsure about doing this, you should seek professional help.
Step5. Use Your Vacuum Cleaner
The vacuum cleaner is the way to deep clean all the black mold debris left out of sight. You are going to use the nozzle attachment, as mentioned earlier. This way, the dirt will be removed faster with maximum dirt cleaned out.
If you find it hard to reach all the edges, you can also use a crevice tool if it is available. Get yourself around the tricky edges to clean better. Otherwise, a vacuum cleaner works just fine. Don’t miss out on cleaning the fins and housing. Housing is the part on the outer side of the AC, and you may forget it if you are carried away cleaning the insides of the AC.
Step6. Spray Coil Cleaner
Now it’s time to spray your AC coils with the commercial coil cleaner. They can not be just cleaned with ordinary soap but need extra care and cleaning. After spraying, leave the coil cleaner for a while to settle on the coils. Settling will help remove the stubborn dirt and dissolve the sticky gunk accumulated on the coils.
Once the coils are clean, the chances for mold growth significantly decrease as the black mold usually grows due to accumulated gunk on the coils. After a while, spray the coils with water to remove the coil cleaner. All the sticky materials will wash away instantly due to the cleaner. But avoid spraying the water on the controllers or any electrical attachments, or they might get damaged.
Step7. Rub with Bleach
Next, you need to fill your water bucket with hot water and mix half a cup of bleach in it. Take a sponge or scrubbing brush, dampen it in the mixture, and use it to clean the inside of the air conditioner. Try to reach all the surfaces and corners so that no mold is left behind and there is no chance of another infestation.
Bleach not only cleans the surfaces faster but also kills even the tiniest of mold spores in the process. Remember the filters you soaked in soap water? Take them out and spray them, too, with bleach to remove any remaining traces of mold.
Step8. Air Dry the AC Parts
This is the simplest step because you’re really doing nothing, and all you have to do is to air dry your window AC. You have done all that was needed to be done, and now you can sit back for a whole day and allow the parts to dry completely before you re-assemble them. It is important to note that if you are experiencing rainy weather, you should not perform this activity as the moisture will make it hard to dry the parts.
Reasons & Signs for Black Mold In ACs
If you are wondering about the reasons, it is not an infinite list. Typically, the mold spores are blown into your AC unit. Since they are small and unnoticeable, they get stuck in the AC filters if the moisture is a bit higher are starting to multiply in no time. Additionally, the AC needs to remain really clean at all times. Otherwise, black mold can get all its nourishment requirements from the AC’s dirty filters. So, essentially you will have to starve the mold to stop its overgrowth.
Once you know the reasons, you should also brush up your knowledge on learning about the indications or tell-tale signs of black mold in your air conditioners. This can really save a lot of frustration later on because you would be able to act swiftly and remove the harmful mold if you know the right signs.
A classic sign is often having an itchy nose or red eyes. Although this may seem to be quite a mundane symptom, it definitely does not occur without any reason, and often they are a symptom of black mold in the air. Another common tell-tale sign would be a constant, musty smell in the house, especially one that’s coming from your AC range.
Lastly, you have to understand that there are various types of black molds, and almost all have poor health effects. Black mold acts as an allergen that can make especially an issue for a health-sensitive person. So it is essential that you deal with it appropriately, and that too right away.
Tips For Mold Prevention
There is no 100% guarantee that your black mold won’t return ever, as, with time and changing weather, anything in the AC is possible. However, you may try a few things to stop this from happening too frequently.
1. Post Mold Air Test
Once you reinstall your AC, it is time to test the air to be certain that you got all the dirt out. This helps you determine that you are safe from mold now and can get a few years without going back to the entire deep cleaning process again.
2. Cleaning the Ac Often
If the air test is fine, you can simply clean the filters and insides lightly from time to time. It is not going to help you if you have dirty filters because they present an ideal environment for black mold growth. If you clean out your filters on a weekly basis or even after every fortnight, you will experience a striking decline in the pattern of black mold growth. In addition to the filters, try to keep the other parts clean as well.
3. Replace the Filters
The mold will keep on coming back repeatedly and quickly inside your AC if you do not change your AC filters, periodically. They have a set shelf life and after that, they are just providing an ideal breeding ground for fungal and mold growth. So ditch the old filters every 45 to 90 days. If you have allergies, it is better to replace the filters more often than three months.
In addition to these tips, you can try to maintain the drainage system of your AC to avoid moisture accumulation inside it. This will automatically help to prevent or minimize any frequent infestation.
The more you delay dealing with the black mold growing inside your air conditioner, the more it will be a nuisance to deal with. It starts by entering your AC as tiny spores, overgrows there in the moist environment, and makes you pay for a new air conditioner by ruining your current one and your health. Luckily, with the right tools and the proper steps, you are now able to not only clean the pesky mold from your AC unit but also prevent it from growing back. However, you must ensure you have all the right tools and remove the mold before it costs you a fortune.