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Duct Cleaning: The Dangerous Truth About Mold

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There’s no room for debate – if you live in Florida’s heat, you need a fully functional AC unit. But when this AC unit comes with air ducts that form a breeding ground for all sorts of nasty mold, what are you meant to do about it? Can this mold be harmful?

Let us shed some light on the microbial growth that makes its home in the darkness of your air ducts, and look at the benefits of air duct cleaning.

Types Of Mold

Mold is a non-scientific term for several types of fungi. There are thousands of species of mold which can be found indoors and outdoors, all requiring moisture to grow.

There are three principle types of mold:

1. Allergenic Molds

Allergenic molds are the least dangerous and most troublesome type of mold, especially if you’ve been diagnosed with a mold allergy. The most common type of mold, called Alternaria, is an allergenic mold. This affects the nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract, causing irritating allergic reactions, including:

  • runny or blocked nose
  • dry cough
  • watery eyes
  • skin rashes
  • sore throat
  • wheezing
  • shortness of breath (in severe cases)

2. Pathogenic Molds

This type of mold usually only affects you if you are sick already, or if you have a weakened immune system, such as those with HIV, those who have undergone a transplant, or those currently undergoing cancer treatment.

3. Toxigenic Molds

Also called “toxic” molds, these are the most dangerous type of mold. They produce mycotoxins, which can cause mycotoxicosis. However, the real danger caused by mycotoxins result from eating moldy food, as opposed to inhaling the spores.

Where Does Mold Grow?

All types of mold have one thing in common – they love warm, damp spaces. The number one area in your home where mold will form is in your air ducts. Tricky to detect, it means that mold spores will be circulating through the air in your home.

Dangers Of Mold

Not only does mold damage cost more than half a trillion U.S. dollars each year, it is unsightly, smelly, and can pose some health risks.

  • Mold causes hypersensitivity pneumonitis (HP). This is a rare immune system disorder that affects the lungs, causing inflammation of the alveoli of the lungs.

  • A large number of chronic sinus infections are linked to mold exposure. Particularly during the fall months, mold can cause allergic reactions similar to those experienced during spring when there is an abundance of pollen in the air.

  • Nasal Polyps can be caused by mold. A polyp is a grape-sized growth in the sinus tissues. Mold is not always the reason they form, but sometimes the inflammation starts from mold exposure.

  • Mold exposure can worsen the symptoms of asthma and other lung problems.

  • Actively growing mold damages the material it is forming on. The structural integrity of your home can be diminished by uncontrolled mold growth, making it important for you to have it removed as soon as possible.

Who Is Most At Risk?

Long term mold exposure is unhealthy for anyone and should be avoided as much as you are able to.

The people most at risk of suffering from mold exposure are:

  • Infants
  • Children
  • Senior citizens
  • People with allergies or asthma
  • People with weakened immune systems

How Often Should Your Ducts Be Cleaned?

After knowing the dangers of not cleaning your ducts, homeowners sometimes feel like they need to have their ducts cleaned weekly, or daily. We are here to assure you this is not necessary! In fact, the EPA says air ducts should be cleaned only when necessary.

To stay on the safe side, we recommend having routine cleaning to keep an eye on things, and spot cleaning when certain issues pop-up.

Routine Cleaning

Having your air ducts cleaned routinely has no downside and can make you aware of any problems that might have developed. We recommend they be cleaned every three to five years; or more frequently if any of the following factors come into play:

  • Residents suffer from allergies or asthma – the frequency of cleaning will be affected by the severity of these conditions
  • If any residents smoke
  • There are pets living in the house

Spot Cleaning

Situations where your ducts require spot cleaning include:

  • After damage has occurred to the home or HVAC system
  • If your home experiences water contamination
  • After renovations or remodeling
  • Before moving into a new home – even if it is newly built
  • If substantial mold is visible
  • After sorting out a vermin or pest infestation

Duct Cleaning In Greater Fort Lauderdale

The best way to prevent any side effects caused by mold exposure is to prevent it from happening in the first place. Large amounts of mold need to be removed with specialized removal techniques by professionals wearing personal protective equipment. Art Plumbing, Air Conditioning & Electric will clean every part of your AC unit’s ducts, minimizing the chances of re-contamination and keeping mold exposure at bay. Let’s clear the air—contact us today at 1-800-475-1504!


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