Remodeling your home can be
incredibly beneficial – it can add function, form and value to your home, not
to mention increase your quality of life. However, larger remodeling projects
tend to create a lot of dust. Dust can cause serious problems for anyone living
in your home that has asthma, suffers from respiratory illnesses or has severe
allergies. In addition to making sure you have a professional come perform an
air duct cleaning not soon after your renovations are finished (to help clear
any dust that has gotten into your air ducts and has built up within them), you
should also take preventative measures to keep as little dust from getting into
the air during the remodel as possible. The following are a few ways to
minimize dust during renovations:
Put up dust barriers – At the very minimum, you
should have plastic sheets applied to the different entry points leading to the
room that is under construction. These plastic sheets are known as zip walls.
Zip walls will help keep dust and debris inside the room that is being worked
on, preventing it from spreading throughout your entire house.
Use sticky mats – Sticky mats should be placed
right outside the area of construction. This way, workers won’t track dust and
debris throughout your home when they enter and exit the construction space. If
the room being worked on is in the middle of the house, line the path to the
exit with floor paper.
Use dust extractors – Power tools tend to cause
quite a mess when used in a renovation. This is because they create a lot of
sawdust and other debris when they are being used. A number of power tool
companies have begun adding dust extractors to their power tools that suck up
the dust as soon as the power tool creates it. This means that a power saw with
a dust extractor will collect sawdust while it’s cutting, thereby helping
prevent much of it from getting into your air.
Use these tips to help minimize
dust during a remodel and don’t forget to get a professional air duct cleaning.
This time of year, we have many new
clients whose problem with mold generates from their HVAC not running properly.
We want to make sure you are aware of this issue so that you can safeguard your
home. It has been said that more than 50% of mold issues have been caused by
HVAC systems. But why is this HVAC mold so common?
First of all, it wants to have a
party every time it encounters an area with high humidity levels and warm
temperatures. These conditions are created during the heating and cooling of
HVAC systems. That makes both over-sized and under-sized systems the perfect
atmosphere for active growth. Improperly sized unit has to work harder than it
should. This creates more condensation than usual and can easily cause a moisture
issue. Condensation lines with standing water is a big problem. Not only will
mold grow here, but an excessive amount of spores will be blown throughout your
home every time your HVAC system turns on. Rain, snow and other precipitating
substances can also create a mold-friendly environment in HVAC systems.
HVAC Mold Symptoms
Health Symptoms – Health symptoms
of HVAC mold could be the same health symptoms that you would experience if the
mold grows anywhere else in your home. The most common of these health symptoms
includes coughing, wheezing, allergies, asthma, sneezing, pneumonia, sinus
infections and respiratory illness. While these symptoms do not require a
specified location of growth in order to appear, if the mold problem is in your
HVAC system, symptoms such as coughing and wheezing may appear more prevalently
while the system is in use.
Sensory Symptoms – The two senses
can help identify HVAC mold is sight and smell. If you can see a mold-like
substance growing around your air ducts, drip pan or intake vents, there is
likely a mold problem there. Also, if the smell of mold is most prevalent when
the system is in use, there is likely a mold problem.
How to Prevent HVAC Mold
Most importantly, make sure that
your HVAC system is the correct size. Many people believe that investing in a
larger system will work since the system won’t have to work as hard. This
belief is true. In fact, it’s so true that the HVAC system doesn’t only have an
easier job, but it gets to only do half of it’s job. The unit does a great job
at heating and cooling. It cools down the property and when the ideal
temperature is reached, the system shuts off. It does it quickly, but maybe too
quickly. The problem is that an HVAC system has two jobs: heating/cooling and
dehumidifying. The system kicks on and off so quickly since it reaches it’s
ideal temperature in a short amount of time, that it doesn’t have time to
dehumidify correctly. It takes a minimum of 15 minutes run time for a unit to
start to dehumidify and under normal conditions, an HVAC system runs 2-3 cycles
per hour. While running the air conditioning in a larger system, water vapor
condenses on coils. There has to be enough of condensation on the coil for the
water to drip into the pan below. Also, there has to be an adequate amount of
water in the pan for it drain outdoors. This dehumidifying system won’t work if
the property space is not large enough to create the correct amount of water
vapor. Instead, the moisture will remain indoors. Humidity levels at 60% or
higher provide perfect conditions for growth of common species of mold that
often looks like dust. Undersized systems will also create a humidity issue.
These are usually the hard workers of the HVAC world. They are overworked and
have too much on their plate to keep the property cool/hot and dehumidified.
Not only will temperature levels almost never reach the ideal temperature, but
the indoor environment is likely to become humid. This doesn’t only threaten
the air conditioning system with mold, but the entire property.
How to Check Your Humidity Levels
Place a humidity meter and over
your HVAC duct to measure the humidity levels of the air blowing out. Humidity
readers can be purchased at most home improvement retail stores. If the
humidity reads 55-60%, you need to call an HVAC expert. An expert can calculate
load and the proper size unit that you should install in your home. Be sure to
tell the expert if you have added any changes that would create more
efficiency, such as new windows, extra or new insulation, spray foam, etc.
Other Prevention Methods
Keep your HVAC system clean.
Change air conditioning filters monthly
Check for leaks regularly
Drain any excess water and clean pans regularly
Clean air ducts regularly
Invest in a dehumidifier. Use a dehumidifier anytime
there is excess humidity in your home for any reason. Humidity levels can rise
due to issues including floods, plumbing issues, humid outdoor conditions, etc.
Keep windows and doors closed during humid days.
Keeping humidity outdoors can not only keep the indoor humidity levels lower,
but it can allow your system to work easier, resulting in less condensation and
a longer lifetime for your system.
Check your drip tray regularly. Standing water
in drip trays can cause active growth.
Have an HVAC company come out to inspect and
clean your system regularly.
Do not constantly run your fan. It is common
that HVAC technicians and installers will recommend that you run fan constantly
to circulate the air. Initially, this seems good, but in reality it will create
extra humidity in your home and fuel mold growth.
If you already have HVAC mold, what
do you do? The first thing that you need to do is to STOP using your system.
HVAC mold spreads fast! Every time you use your moldy system, mold spores will
blow throughout your ventilation system in huge amounts and could begin growing
in other areas of your home or business. Once you stop using the HVAC system,
below is how you can go about the HVAC mold removal process.
DIY Mold Removal
If you’re dealing with a small
amount of mold (less than nine square feet), you can try a DIY removal process.
The first thing that you will need to do is protect yourself and your family or
employees. After protecting everyone, you will need to find a dependable mold cleaning
product that does not use bleach and follow the instructions given by the
manufacturer. We go over the details for how to do this, and why not to use
bleach on our What is Mold page.
Professional Mold Removal
If you are dealing with more than nine
square feet of contamination, or if you just don’t want to clean it yourself,
you will need to contact a company that can help with your HVAC mold
With high humidity levels
throughout the property and excess moisture in your HVAC system, Aspergillus
could grow. Aspergillus is on of most common mold species and looks similar to
dust and floats around like dandelions. When a person inhales an excessive
amount of these spores, it causes a health condition known as Aspergillosis,
which physicians often overlook.