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MOLD - A TRUE SURVIVOR

 

Why is mold so difficult to control? Mold is at the bottom of the food chain. It thrives on very little, grows rapidly, and produces spores, volatile organic compounds, and other toxins. One organism can multiply to trillions in less than three weeks. When given the right conditions, mold can occur anywhere; in homes, schools, workplaces, entertainment centers, vehicles, etc.

The interior of your ductwork, drum type humidifier, and air conditioning equipment - anywhere that it is dark, damp, and filled with nutrients - provides an ideal environment for mold growth. The result could be like blowing air over a swamp or through a sewer and then into your home, vehicle, and workplace.

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), 60% of indoor air quality (IAQ) problems and allergies may be mold related. Some IAQ diagnosticians and practitioners today say the figure may be as high as 80%. The increased usage of air conditioning systems almost directly parallels the increase of allergies and IAQ problems.

As mold and bacteria grow on coils and in drain pans, they are disseminated through the ducts to occupied spaces. Some mold products (toxins) produce serious and sometimes life-threatening reactions, including allergy, asthma, hypersensitivity, pneumonitis, and in some extreme cases even bleeding lung.

Additionally, mold creates a troublesome maintenance problem. Its activity results in dirty coils, a loss of air-flow, loss of heat exchange efficiency, dirty and sometimes plugged drain pans and drain traps, and excessive energy use.

The most successful way to handle mold in your system is through ultraviolet (UV) germicidal lights. But if you don't have these installed yet, make sure that you, or your equipment servicer, check to be sure that drain pans, drain lines and condensate pumps are clear of standing water.

Another good way to help stop the growth of mold spores coming into the furnace and then back out into your home is to add an air cleaner, as we discussed in "Freshier, Healthier Air".

We also recommend that you not use a drum-type humidifier, as these units keep a drum of water in the unit for the warm air from the furnace to pickup moisture and distribute through your house. These units often grow mold, especially in milder winter weather when the furnace doesn't run as often, allowing mold spores time to multiple in the damp environment. Instead we use the Honeywell TrueSteam humidifier. This humidifier does not use a pan or drum to disperse water, but rather uses steam injection that provides more humidity in dry winter conditions without causing any mold related problems.