A guide on how to clean mold out of AC. Find an easy process that will help eliminate mold spores from your AC systemAre you looking for how to clean mold out of AC? You are not alone; many homeowners and renters face this issue in their AC units year in and year out.
It is such a massive problem that it surpasses the structural problems of an AC unit. Its spores in your system can cause serious health problems.
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So, how do you clean the spores out of your air conditioner? And because they cause health issues, how can you safely clean them? And even before we get to that, how will you know that there is mold in your air conditioner?
Come with us as we give details of cleaning it out of air conditioners.
Shall we get started?
Signs of Mold Spores in Your Air Conditioner
How will I know that there is mold in my AC unit? The scary thing about all this is that their presence may be subtle for a long time. This means that you can stay with it for ages without noticing it, which is dangerous.
However, if you are careful, you will realize that the signs are noticeable. A key sign is the presence of a mildew smell. It smells like a stuffy attic, old and musty socks, or an earthy smell.
If you are noticing this smell; how do you know it is from your air conditioner? How do you know it is not from the carpet or woody furniture?
When it is in your AC unit, you will notice the smell increases when the Air Conditioner system is on. When you switch it off, it will not be as noticeable.
Here are signs to watch out for when you switch on your AC unit:
- The mold-like smell is filling the air.
- The visible presence of mold in different colors such as black, pink, yellow or orange; black mold in AC unit is the most common
- Black dust accumulating around the vents,
- General poor indoor air quality.
How Dangerous is Mold in Air Conditioners
Mold in your AC unit is so dangerous that sometimes cleaning is not practical. Sometimes, you may even need to replace the entire AC unit, or invest in air conditioning repair services to get rid of it and its effects of being exposed to it.
Small amounts sometimes may go unnoticed. However, after some time, these symptoms of mold exposure will start being clear in your house:
- nasal congestion,
- itchy and red eyes,
- throat irritation,
- skin rash.
These symptoms can be severe for people and pets with mold allergies.
How to Clean Mold out of AC Safely
We give you a simple guide on removing mold from your air conditioning unit.
But before we get there, we want you to know that if you see mold on your window air conditioner, it is probably not as widespread. This means that you can easily clean it. However, if you notice that it is both on the window AC unit and the central air conditioner, chances are it is too widespread. In such instances, we recommend that you hire a professional to inspect the extent of the growth.
Still, you can perform DIY and even prevent mold growth in the future.
Follow the guide we give you below.
Requirements to Remove Mold from HVAC System
Here is what you will need to clean mold from AC unit:
- Protective eyewear,
- Face mask,
- Laundry detergent,
- Vacuum cleaner and attachments,
- Mild soap,
- Five-gallon bucket,
- Scrub brush,
Top Tips before you Start Cleaning Mold from Air Conditioners
Many people overlook the protective wear and take it as regular cleaning of their air conditioner unit. When you are self-cleaning the mold from your unit, ensure you have protective wear to protect you from touching and inhaling mold spores.
Also, you want to do the cleaning in a well-ventilated room. This will minimize any risks of taking in the mold spores.
Also, remember to be careful when handling bleach.
Step by Step Guide on How to Clean Mold from Air Conditioners
Follow these steps keenly to get rid of the mold spores from your AC unit.
Step 1: Turn off Your Air Conditioning Unit
You need to turn off the AC system during the cleaning process.
Leaving it on while cleaning will further spread the spores into your house.
Also, switching it off allows you to thoroughly clean it without worrying about electrical hazards.
Step 2: Put on Your Protective Wear
Ensure you have on your protective eyewear, a face mask perfectly covering your mouth and nose, and non-porous gloves. You can find all these in your local hardware store.
Remember that mold exposure can make you sick. If you have mold allergies or are worried about the health effects, HVAC Santa Clarita can do the risky cleaning activity for you.
Step 3: Inspect for Mold Extent
Check your central air conditioner to determine how far the mold problem has progressed. However, it would be best to remember that you will not always spot visible dark spots or white growths. Sometimes, you can smell its mustiness in the air but cannot spot anything.
Use a flashlight to look inside the unit for any signs of mold. If you see a severe infection covering half of the surface area of the unit, you have to call a professional HVAC contractor to get the work done for you.
We only encourage you to try and clean small deposits of molds yourself. If it is widespread, a professional is better suited to get the cleaning done for you. A simple “cooling services near me” search can land you a professional company.
Step 4: Mix Cleaning Solution
Mix the cleaning solution in a bucket. Many household multi-purpose cleaners will do the work. But, distilled white vinegar solution or diluted bleach will do it perfectly(1).
However, you can also buy an Environmental Protection Agency-registered mold removal solution from your local hardware store. While mixing, go for a 1:3 ratio of cleaning solution and warm water.
Step 5: Remove Air Conditioner Components
If you are cleaning the window air conditioner or working with individual vents of the air conditioners, use a screwdriver to remove the grille in front of the air conditioner.
Next, unscrew the top and back of the cabinet and the front filter.
As you unscrew, arrange them in an order that will help you have an easier time reassembling back. Put all the screws in one container; you do not want to lose them.
Step 6: Vacuum Inside Air Conditioner
Use the vacuum cleaner to clean dirt and debris from the AC. Ensure you use its various hoses and attachments to reach every cranny of the unit. This will make your cleaning process later much more effortless.
Step 7: Scrub Inside Air Conditioner
Immerse your scrubber into the cleaning solution you made. Thoroughly scrub inside and around the AC unit.
Change the cleaning solution as needed. A thorough scrub should be able to remove the mold growth. However, if you notice that it is persistent, you are better off calling a professional to remove the mold from your AC.
Allow the cleaning solution to sit on your AC surface for approximately 10 minutes.
Step 8: Rinse
After your cleaning solution has settled in on your central air conditioner, it is time to rinse it and then scrape off the debris.
Spray clean water on the surface as you wipe it with a clean cloth. Keep going until the surface is spotless.
Step 9: Allow the AC Unit to Air Dry
Allow the AC enough time to air dry. This could take as long as 24 hours. Ensure that the unit, grille and filter are completely dry before using the system again.
During the 24 hours, you can seek other ways to cool your room, but do not use your air conditioning unit. Remember, moisture creates a good breeding ground for mold.
Step 10: Reassemble the AC Components
After everything is fully dry, you can re-install the parts of the AC unit and switch it on.
If you smell a moldy or a musty smell in the air after your AC is on, there is still mold growing in the AC unit. You will need to call an expert to help you eliminate all the mold spores in your central AC system.
How to Prevent Mold from Growing in the AC Units
You do not want to scrub mold growing in your central air conditioning or window air conditioners every other summer.
Therefore, after you clear the AC mold, you want to prevent it from regrowing.
Here are tips to prevent mold from growing in both window AC units and central air conditioners:
- Ensure the window unit perfectly fits the window. If it is not tight, rain and humidity from outdoor air will get into the system. This moisture creates thriving grounds for mold.
- Have your window unit tilted towards the outside. This allows the condensation to drain well.
- Clean the grates and filters on your AC units regularly. This prevents dust build-up, which can provide a food source for spores and impede air flows.
- Ensure central air conditioners have a proper drainage system. It can be a drain tile through a basement slab or towards a utility sink. Ensure the drainage always works well; otherwise, moisture will get into the ducts. Remember that ducts and drains can get clogged, making a thriving environment for molds.
- Periodically empty the portable AC units. Usually, you come with no auto shut-off and light that allows you to know when the reservoir is full. Ensure that you empty the reservoirs, especially after storing water during winter.
- Regularly replace the air filter. Clogged air filters are a food source for spores. Look at “how to clean clogged air filter of ac” for washable air filters.
- Never introduce moisture into your HVAC system. While duct cleaning, ensure you are dry vacuuming.
If you would love a hand in any of these, please give us a call. We will perform an AC upkeep to ensure that we get rid of spores in your air conditioner and prevent their regrowing.
How to Clean Mold Out of AC Frequently Asked Questions
We answer some FAQs on how to remove mold from your air conditioner. We understand how tricky and worrying this can be, especially with the severe health risks involved.Hopefully, these questions will help you learn how to clean the mold in AC better or know when to call for a professional HVAC technician.
How do you Clean Mold from Window Air Conditioner without removing it?
If you want to clean the window air conditioning unit without removing it, you need to use a vacuum cleaner attached to a soft brush. Vacuum out all the dust balls building up on the surface. Next, you will need to clean using a detergent or bleach. Spray the detergent or bleach into the machine. Wait for it to settle in before wiping it down.
How Do You Clean Mold out of a Portable Air Conditioner?
Unscrew the top grill to access the condenser coils. Then, remove the layers of dirt you accumulated on the surface of the condenser. Next, you will want to vacuum the surface of the vacuum cleaner to clean the dirt, which is food for the spores. To kill the growing mold, you can spray bleach or vinegar on the surface. Wipe off the surface with a wet clean piece of cloth. Finally, allow the AC to dry completely before screwing in the grill.
Does Vinegar Kill Mold in Air Conditioners?
Yes, vinegar solution can kill spores in your AC without destroying the system. A 1:1 ratio of lukewarm water and vinegar in a spray bottle can help you kill the spores in your AC units.
Is mold dangerous in the AC unit?
Yes, you can get sick from moldy air. Mold in your air conditioner is distributed to your indoor air. This makes the air highly toxic for people and pets. It is known to cause severe breathing and respiratory disorders(2).
Final Thoughts on How to Clean Mold out of AC
Time to call it a day for us. We all know that mold in the air is dangerous for your health. The good thing is that if it is not widespread, you can clean it yourself. However, if it is widespread, it is better off letting an HVAC professional clean it. Sometimes, you can try cleaning it, but it keeps regrowing. You do not want to get stuck in such an unhealthy cycle of trying to kill mold.
Feel free to contact us for help cleaning mold from your air conditioner. We are a heating & cooling nearby Santa Clarita company that will eliminate mold and ensure your AC unit is in good condition to prevent regrowth.
Contact us 24/7 for HVAC services!