No one wants to see mold in their home’s air conditioning and heating system. Smelling it is even worse. If you suspect your air conditioner is accumulating mold, here’s what to do before you call an expert for air conditioning servicing.
How to Know if Your Window AC Unit is Accumulating Mold
The first telltale sign of mold in your home is generally a smell. You might notice a musty, damp odor. This can accumulate in parts of your AC unit you can’t even see. Moisture (and mold) thrives in those hidden nooks and crannies.
Why Does Mold Grow in AC Units?
Mold is very common in buildings and homes. It thrives in places with lots of moisture and unfortunately, AC relies heavily on moisture to operate. Mold also grows best in dark places – like the inside of your HVAC system or a window AC unit.
Is a Moldy Air Conditioner Dangerous?
Yes, especially if you’re dealing with black mold. If you suspect your AC is growing mold, listen to your gut and look into the problem. If left unaddressed, mold can start to affect your family’s health.
Common symptoms of mold exposure include:
- Itchy or red eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Skin rash
- Trouble breathing
- Irritated throat
These symptoms can be more severe for people who have mold allergies (and it’s common to not know about mold allergies even if you have one), suppressed immune systems, asthma, underlying lung diseases, or other chronic illnesses that affect the respiratory system.
How to Know if the Mold is in Your Window Unit or Your Entire HVAC System
Of course, if you’re noticing a moldy smell in your home, you want to make sure to tackle it from the source.
The good news? In window units, it’s generally easy to rule out the possibility of mold in your unit because the mold spores will generally be specific to the room the window AC is in. The rest of your home will have clean-smelling air.
If the mold is in your ducts or central air system, you’ll notice the smell and mold exposure symptoms everywhere in your house. In that case, you’ll likely want to call a professional to make sure the issue is fully tackled.
How to Remove Mold from Your Window AC
- Put on safety gear – eyewear, a mask that covers your mouth and nose, and gloves. You don’t want to breathe in mold or get it into your eyes and mouth while you’re working.
- Remove your AC unit, unplug it, and take it outside for cleaning. You don’t want to kick up the moldy spores while you’re inside.
- Take apart the unit.
- Remove the filter. If it’s a reusable filter, clean it thoroughly. If it’s a disposable filter, replace it.
- Vacuum out any dust and scrub away visible mold.
- Let the components dry completely.
- Reassemble and reinstall your unit.
For a more in-depth step-by-step tutorial, follow HVAC.com’s guide.