How to Prevent Mold and Improve Indoor Air Quality
Since most Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors1, clean air and indoor air quality should be a top priority.
Unfortunately, individuals are often exposed to indoor allergens and irritants caused by pollution, building materials, pesticides, mold and mildew, which can compromise the safety of many homes and businesses.
Indoor Air Quality – What Causes Mold and Mildew?
Mold in particular can lead to rot, affect structure durability, and cause health hazards. Its spores grow where moisture and humidity are present – something Florida natives know all too well.
In fact, Florida is the most humid state nationwide, since it’s surrounded by the warm Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic Ocean. Even Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties average some of the highest humidity levels in the state, and coastal cities like Clearwater, Dunedin and Safety Harbor have humidity levels greater than 60% throughout the year2.
The problem with humidity is that it doesn’t just stay outdoors. It creeps its way inside, too, causing dampness in all homes and buildings throughout the area.
What are the health impacts?
According to the Center for Disease Control (CDC), mold and mildew impact indoor air quality and cause allergic reactions. These symptoms vary by individual, but most often include3:
- Runny nose
- Itchy red eyes
- A skin rash (dermatitis), or
Indoor air pollutants can also aggravate those with asthma, repository disease or weakened immune systems, usually causing these conditions to worsen2.
Can mold affect my AC system?
Mold is usually found around leaks in roofs, windows, or pipes, or where there has been a flood. It can also affect your HVAC system, since mold can grow in AC coils, ductwork, drip pans, and drainage lines3.
It’s hard to spot mold because it’s invisible at first. However, if you live in the Tampa Bay area, you more than likely have some type of mold in your kitchen, bathrooms, attic, laundry and central AC system.
If you suspect high amounts of mold in your AC unit, consider the following first:
- Is there a strong, musty smell throughout your home or business – especially when the AC is on?
- Can you spot mold growing around your AC vents, ducts or around the air coils and/or drip pans in your air handler?
- Do you or others experience headaches or allergic responses – like irritated eyes, runny nose, fatigue or dizziness – only when you switch on the AC unit or walk into an air-conditioned room?
If your answer is yes to any of the questions above, contact an experienced HVAC company to learn about AC purification services.
What is air purification?
Contrary to popular belief, the best way to prevent and maintain clean air is not to disinfect your ductwork and vents. Instead, it’s to purify your AC system and fight against harmful pollutions, mold, germs, allergens and odors.
UV Light Air Purification does just that, while cleaning your central AC system and reducing recurring maintenance and energy costs.
“Besides improved indoor air quality without the musty mold odors, we have reduced our maintenance tasks of removing and cleaning mold from the coils. This saves hours of labor and eliminates the cost of cleaning fluid,” shared a Treasure Coast Hospice employee in Stuart, Florida.
This chemical-free disinfection is also safe and effective in fighting mold and improving indoor air quality.
“I am amazed at how much it has improved the quality of air in my preschool. Our beginning of the year illnesses were minor compared to previous years, but even more amazing is the extremely low flu rate I have had this year,” shared a Christ the King Lutheran Preschool representative in Largo, Florida.
Discover more UV light benefits from the video below, and contact Air Care to learn more.
How do I prevent mold in the future?
The key to mold control is moisture control. In addition to UV light air purification, it’s important to take proactive measures in keeping future indoor air clean.
Since HVAC systems are prone to dampness, follow these tips to reduce moisture and mold in your Florida home or business4:
- Use air conditioning and dehumidifiers, especially when it’s hot and humid, to reduce moisture in the air.
- Fix any leaks in your roof, AC ductwork, walls or plumbing.
- Keep AC drip pans clean and ensure drain lines flow properly without obstructions.
- Keep humidity levels as low as you can, preferably between 30-50% all day long.
- Consider purchasing an inexpensive hygrometer or humidity reader (like this one), or maintain humidity levels with a smart or wi-fi thermostat.
- Maintain a warm indoor temperature when it’s cold outside. As the temperature decreases, the air condenses on cold surfaces, which can cause mold growth.
- Increase air circulation by using exhaust and room fans.
- Open doors between rooms to increase circulation.
You can also contact Air Care to check if your AC system is operating properly to remove humidity. They can also check your duct system for air leaks and air flow.
Should I test for mold?
The CDC does not recommend mold testing3, which can be expensive and vary by company and location. Since the health effects of mold are different for different people, you cannot rely on an analysis to determine what’s acceptable for your home or building.
The key is to safely remove the mold and prevent future mold growth, as noted above.
Need a professional HVAC company in Clearwater to help?
Air Care can help you with all your central heating and cooling needs, from AC purification services and ductwork repairs to AC installations, repairs, parts, and more.
 U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. Report to Congress on indoor air quality: Volume 2. EPA/400/1-89/001C. Washington, DC.
 Florida Climate Center. Report on humidity in Florida. Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL.
 Center for Disease Control. Control mold in your home.
 WebMD. Article on Moisture and Mold Problems: Preventing and Solving Them in Your Home.