Mold and Indoor Air Quality

Mold is the most common type of fungus on earth, so much so that it comprises roughly a quarter of the planet’s biomass. Molds reproduce mainly by producing spores but they can also reproduce when mold filaments (called “hyphae”) break off and get transported to a location where there is adequate food and moisture. Mold can have dramatic effects on indoor air quality.

Where Can Mold be Found?

Indoor molds tend to grow wherever they can find food, moisture and the right temperature. Food sources for mold include fabrics and paper products as well as wood, all of which are found in most indoor environments. However, one of the more common areas for mold growth is the HVAC system. A building’s HVAC system can provide the ideal environment for mold growth. Several components of your HVAC system have the potential to harbor mold, such as the piping and the drain pans.

Health Problems Caused by Mold

While there are no federal regulations that deal with mold and indoor air quality, the Centers for Disease Control cites mold exposure as the cause of various illnesses. Mold produces certain chemicals when it consumes the materials in a building. In some cases, these chemicals are toxic and can cause health problems. The effects of mold on health range from minor allergic reactions like runny noses and throat irritation to serious conditions like infertility and kidney damage.

Detecting Mold in Your HVAC System

One of the main indications of mold growth in a building’s HVAC system is the smell. Mold has a distinctive musty odor that you may detect whenever your air conditioner or furnace is running. Another way to tell that there is mold in your HVAC system is the fact that there is visible mold in multiple rooms; the most likely reason for this is that it has spread via your ductwork.

To learn more about preventing mold growth improving your indoor air quality, contact us at Mckee today.

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