How to Get Rid of Mold in Air Ducts

Getting Rid of Mold in Air Ducts

The Internet is littered (and we mean littered) with do-it-yourself advice on how to get rid of mold in air ducts. All the advice is a bit like reading instructions for building your own aircraft carrier – it sounds easy, if you accept the preposterous premise in the first place.

Mold in air ducts is not for amateur mycologists. Here is a simple test: If you have no idea what mycologists do, you have no business clambering inside your Phoenix home’s ductwork, cleaning mold.

Mycology

Mold is a fungus. Mycologists study fungi. Some mold –Penicillium camemberti in camembert cheese, Penicillium notatum that makes penicillin – are beneficial. One mold genus, Stachybotrys chartarum, is the nemesis of home air ducts and human respiratory systems.

Stachybotrys chartarum

When people ask how to get rid of mold in air ducts, they really are asking how to vanquish Stachybotrys chartarum, or black mold. The American Phytopathological Society (APS), examining 65 years of data, tells us we should not handle household items, ductwork and other surfaces contaminated by S. chartarum without applying proper safety procedures, including personal protective equipment (PPE). APS notes that indoor environments contaminated with S. chartarum may cause serious illnesses, especially in children.

Not DIY

If you do insist on tackling black mold in ductwork, arm yourself with adequate safety equipment, including:

1. An N95 or equivalent respirator that blocks mold spores
2. Rubber or Nitrile gloves
3. Disposable coveralls
4. Vent-less safety goggles

The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommend cleaning solutions such as plain soap and water, or bleach diluted with water (1 cup bleach per 1 gallon water).

Both the CDC and Environmental Protection Agency emphasize removing the moisture that provided an initial foothold for mold. This will prevent the re-emergence of black mold in ductwork.

As APS mycologist Berlin Nelson points out, trained mycologists can identify S. chartarum, but some very dark “dematiaceous Hyphomycetes” look similar. Nelson recommends microscopic examination of the fungus to confirm identification. This, again, is not something a homeowner is equipped to do.

A-Z Air Duct

Since most Phoenix-area homeowners do not have the proper safety equipment, training or resources to adequately identify and remove S. chartarum, the safest solution is to engage a professional mold removal contractor to clean your home’s air ducts. Contact the professionals at A-Z Air Duct to arrange a convenient appointment today. Your children, pets and lungs will all be glad you did.