June • 2014
Preventing Mold Growth in Air Conditioning Systems
The growth of mold in a commercial building can be influenced by many different factors, however one very common problem is the HVAC system. The piping and drain pans in the air conditioning equipment, can be sources of mold growth and a means for spreading mildew spores throughout a building. Fungal growth within a building can cause respiratory illness and other discomforts and irritations to the occupants.
And while it makes sense to kill the mold with fungicides, it is more important to consider the source of the mold spores. This is why a comprehensive maintenance plan is important to preventing mold growth in air conditioning systems. Part of a complete plan includes evaluating air conditioning equipment for mold growth potential and taking steps towards prevention.
Cooling coils dehumidify air and cause condensation to drip into a drain pan. Water becomes stagnate in the pan if it does not function properly or cleaned regularly, creating a microbial habitat. Proper sloping and frequent cleaning of drain pans is imperative to healthy Indoor Air Quality (IAQ).
Humidifiers and dehumidifiers should be periodically drained and treated to prevent microbial growth. They should also be monitored for duct lining moisture from water spray.
Periodically cleaning cooling towers to prevent sediment accumulation, as well as testing water quality and adding chemical treatment are important processes in preventing microbial growth and insuring good indoor air quality.
Air filters should be replaced on a regularly scheduled basis. Fans should be shut down during maintenance and new filters should fit tightly in the housing. High-efficiency filters are recommended as a cost-effective means of improving indoor air quality while minimizing energy use.