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8 Ways to Prevent Furnace Mold

8 Ways to Prevent Furnace Mold

8 Ways to Prevent Furnace Mold

Mold thrives in warm environments with high moisture content, so even a minor issue can lead to furnace mold. Fortunately, it can be prevented in a few ways, which we’ll discuss. You can also avoid widespread problems by performing visual inspections and cleaning affected areas before mold spreads. Scheduling regular heating maintenance also helps.

How to Know You Have Furnace Mold

If there’s a mold problem in your furnace, you may notice the following signs:

  • Visible Discolorations: Mold is typically different in color and texture than its surroundings. It can be black, brown, white, or green and may appear slimy or fuzzy.
  • Musty Odors: The compounds released by mold spores can spread an aromatic musty smell from one vent or throughout your home.
  • Leaks/Puddles: If there’s a leak near a vent or water pools under any part of your HVAC system for an extended time, mold is likely growing somewhere.
  • Unexplainable Symptoms: Toxins in mold can trigger allergic reactions, asthma attacks, and cold symptoms or worsen seasonal allergies.

Preventing Furnace Mold

Furnace mold can be prevented by properly caring for your HVAC system. This can reduce the amount of moisture available and ensure all components work properly. The following steps can prevent mold growth in or near your furnace or elsewhere in your heating and cooling system:

  1. Keep the HVAC Drain Tube Clear
  2. Replace the Air Filter Regularly
  3. Check If Unconditioned Air Is Entering the System
  4. Ensure the System Is Properly Ventilated
  5. Remove Any Standing Water
  6. Fix Leaks as Quickly as Possible
  7. Use an Approved Mold Inhibitor
  8. Remove Mold Promptly

The condensate drain tube helps remove moisture from your HVAC system. If it’s blocked, standing water can support mold growth. Water can also back up near an inlet, and mold spores can take hold around leaks or puddles. 

A drain line can be cleaned out with a water/bleach or water/vinegar mixture. We recommend cleaning the drain tube once or twice a year. Our technicians can inspect and clean it during routine maintenance visits.

Blocked air filters can cause many problems in your HVAC system. A lack of airflow can strain your furnace, but it’s notorious for creating a moist environment where mold can easily grow. Therefore, follow your heating equipment manufacturer’s or HVAC contractor’s recommendations for changing the filter. 

Generally, an air filter should be changed every one to three months. Check it at least once a month for buildup and replace it as necessary. If you or anyone at home has allergies or asthma, or you have pets, change it more frequently to avoid buildup and airflow problems that can lead to mold.

Mold can enter the system through holes or gaps in ductwork, spaces in walls (especially near doors and windows), or exterior return air ducts or grills. If unconditioned air is getting in, take steps to seal air leakage, such as caulking around doors and windows or sealing leaky ducts. Consult a professional if there’s significant damage or you can’t resolve air entry or moisture issues coming from outside.

Your furnace’s venting system allows hazardous gases and moisture to escape. Therefore, a venting problem not only increases the risk of furnace mold but also exposure to dangerous gases. The ventilation components that move conditioned air throughout your home must also be in good shape. Otherwise, moisture can accumulate and enable mold to grow in your furnace or ducts.

Make a plan to check on your furnace regularly. Water can collect on the floor around the unit, especially with a high-efficiency furnace. Check for water or rust stains on or within the cabinet. The presence of water can mean a clogged drain, a malfunctioning pump, or a problem with an exhaust pipe or built-in humidifier.

Clean up the water before you even fix the problem. It can do a lot of damage and mold can grow quickly. The water can be sopped up with towels. If there’s a large amount of water, consider removing it with a wet vac.

Call a professional if you notice any leaks from or around your furnace. A problem with a drain line, pipe, or duct can lead to moisture or water leaks and you’ll have furnace mold before you know it. Fixing it promptly prevents mold from spreading throughout your HVAC system, where it can do significant damage and contaminate the air in your home.

Furnace mold can be prevented with an EPA-registered, HVAC-approved inhibitor. It is most effective when used along with a disinfectant that kills any mold that is present. A disinfectant also cleans the system of other biological contaminants like bacteria and viruses. Follow the instructions provided by the product manufacturer when applying it to heating components.

If you have furnace mold, you can prevent future issues by promptly cleaning it. Usually, mold is easily removed if the situation hasn’t gotten out of hand. Cleaning isolated patches can save you much time and money later. If you catch mold early, you may not need to hire a contractor to address the problem.

How Do I Clean My Furnace If It Has Mold?

To clean furnace mold:

  • Turn The System Off: Shut off the furnace and heating vents to prevent spores from spreading.
  • Create a Household Cleaning Solution: Combine water, dish detergent, and baking soda into a spray bottle and coat the affected area before wiping it up (when handling mold, wear goggles, gloves, and a face mask).
  • Safely Discard Dirty Materials: Cleaning rags used to wipe up mold should be sealed in a bag before being thrown away. If you plan to reuse these, wash them separately from clothing with hot water and bleach.

Should I Hire a Professional?

Cleaning furnace mold yourself can cost less than $50. However, it might not be effective if the mold has spread. If the problem is extensive and may have been present for a while, hire an HVAC professional. They know where mold is most likely to grow in an HVAC system and have the tools to clean and disinfect it properly. According to Angi, the average cost of such a service is $1,100 to $3,300. Therefore, acting quickly can help you save.

Contact Monarch Home Services If You Have Furnace Mold

Our heater maintenance and repair professionals can handle urgent issues such as furnace mold. Homeowners throughout the San Joaquin Valley depend on us for prompt solutions and seasonal maintenance. EPA- and NATE-certified, our technicians use the latest methods, tools, and equipment to optimize furnace performance and deal with mold and related issues such as leaks, clogged drain lines, and excess moisture. For assistance, request service online or call (661) 215-5851.

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