Have you ever wondered about that black stuff coming out of the air conditioner vents or about the black dust on your ceiling and ducts? What is it, and is it safe and hygienic to let it remain? That is black mold. And no, it is by no means good for your health to let it be. So you have to bid it goodbye at the earliest.
Black dust from air vents can cause a multitude of health problems like eye irritation, continuous sneezing, throat irritation, and difficulty in breathing. Black dust around air vents is not a good sign. This small and inconsequential looking enemy is a threat to your good health and well-being. How to remove black dust around air vents is what we shall be dealing with today.
Black Mold – What Is It?
Stachybotrys chartarum is commonly known to us as the black mold. It is a type of mold or fungi which can be easily identified by its typical color. Most molds or either grey or green in color, but this is dark greenish bordering on almost black or dark grey in color.
It appears slimy and feeds off moisture. The reason why it is considered bad for health is that it releases allergy, causing spores into the air.
Cause Of Black Dust Around Air Vents
It is a known fact that air-conditioners produce moisture. Moisture that is produced due to dehumidification of air is disposed through the drainage pipe of the unit. However, moisture is produced as a result of condensation as well, which has nowhere to go. Cold air flows out of the air conditioner, but the warmer air present inside and around the unit causes the formation of small droplets of water inside and around the vents and air ducts. Combined with dust particles, this small quantity of water provides the perfect ground for mold infestation. So, dust and moisture are the cause of black dust around air vents.
Signs/Symptoms To Lookout For
- If you see any of the below-mentioned signs or suffer from any of these symptoms, you should be on the lookout for black mold.
- Strong musty or mildew-like smell in the entire house or localized to a few adjacent rooms.
- Black substance growing around the vents and inside the ducts.
- Nose, throat, and eye irritation only when you step inside the house.
- Feeling of fatigue, nausea, and dizziness when inside the house.
- Unexplained frequent headaches.
- Rashes on skin.
Usually, more that one of these indications will show themselves. When that happens, you have to be prepared for swift action both in getting rid of the mold and taking the family members for a medical checkup.
How To Remove Black Dust Around Air Vents
First and foremost, contact a certified inspector who can tell you whether the black substance clinging in and around the vents and ducts is actually black mold. Once that is confirmed you can either use a DIY suspension or buy an EPA approved mold removal product. If you are planning to handle the situation on your own, do suit up with a mask, safety goggles, and industrial grade gloves.
- DIY Suspension – To make your own mold removing solution, you need to mix 1 tbsp detergent, ½ tbsp baking soda and 1 cup water. You can also mix 1 part bleach with 16 parts of water to attack the mold on non-porous substances. However, a solution of vinegar and baking soda is any day better than using bleach.
- EPA Approved Products – Some EPA approved products that can be used are MoldSTAT Plus, Concrobium Mold Control, Flo-X, etc. There is no shortage of options, and you can look for them online.
- Call The Professionals – Calling in the professionals has dual benefits. One, they will get rid of the mold and two; they will locate its source and kill it from the root.
In order to remove black dust or mold, firstly, switch off the heating/cooling vents. Spray the moldy area with the mold removal spray and scrub with a rag or light brush. Repeat the process until you are successful in removing all traces of it. Dispose of the used rags in airtight trash bags. Once you are done with the clean-up, spray the area with EPA approved mold growth inhibitors.
Prevention Tips For Mold Formation
Prevention is always better than cure. So, why wait until the mold has grown? Instead, smartness would be in not letting the mold grow at all. Some tips and tricks that help prevent mold formation are
- Replace the filters in the HVAC unit as advised.
- Insulate the air ducts to reduce condensation.
- Clean the drip pans regularly.
- Buy a dehumidifier and switch it on close to the moldy area. It will help evaporate water faster.
- Get the maintenance of your HVAC unit done by professionals.
- Clean the gutters so that water does not collect in them and cause leakage through the roof.
- Improve the air circulation in your home by using exhaust fans, ventilators, and opening windows.
- Keep an eye on the humidity levels inside the house. If it rises above, 60% take steps to keep it between 30 to 60 per cent. If that means adjusting the thermostat or switching the dehumidifier, do so.
Help Is At Hand
With the busy schedules, we keep it is difficult to find the time and energy to tackle all problems on your own. A little help goes a long way in keeping us healthy and in a good frame of mind. Black mold is a serious issue and needs to be tackled ASAP. So it’s time to call in the reinforcements. They will not only remove the mold but also tackle its cause to prevent future recurrences. At Aztilac, our elite team of professionals is dedicated to making your home a safe and happy place to live.
For more information, call us at Aztil Air Conditioning. We are one of the best air conditioning companies in the area, making sure your home stays dry. We can be reached at 888-729-8452, or you can fill out our online contact form.
Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs
Black dust or the dark cottony substance around air vents can be either of the following:
Black dust on air vents can be caused by:
1. Soot from the fireplace.
2. Dust and insulation picked up by moving air from uninsulated places.
3. Mold inside the ductwork.
There are two options for you to choose from. These are:
1. Upgrade the air filter of your HVAC system to a higher MERV rating.
2. The other option is to unscrew the vents, brush them, wipe them clean with a wet rag, and replace them. However, in this case, they are likely to get dirty again very soon as the moving air is circulating the soot.
If it is mold, we recommend you not to clean the vents yourself. Instead, call professional mold cleaners as the vents are just the tip of the iceberg. The real problem might be elsewhere. In the rest of the cases, use a brush and a rag to clean the vents. For lasting results, opt for ductwork cleaning by professionals.
Getting rid of black dust around air vents is a simple matter of detaching the vent covers with mold, soaking them for around 20 mins in a bucketful of detergent water, and wiping them clean with a rag soaked in a vinegar solution. Vinegar prevents new mold growth, and hence, the last step is essential.