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MOLD: Eliminating and Preventing It

audio, podcast, moldThe long, humid summers in Middle Tennessee are conducive to mold and mildew and its associated odors forming in your home.  In this post, we’ll help you get to the bottom of any mold issues you may have and alleviate this smelly and potentially hazardous problem.

What is Mold?

Mold is a microscopic fungus that travels as spores in the air and dust all around us – inside and outside.  It thrives in moisture and easily builds colonies.  Mold can cause health problems for you and your family – such as sinus, allergy, and respiratory issues.  Some molds produce deadly mycotoxins – the so-called “toxic molds” or “black mold” – which can cause neurological issues and even death.  Contrary to popular belief, not all black-colored mold is the toxic type, and not all strains of toxic molds are black-colored.  However, anytime you see mold, it bears investigation.

Causes & Prevention

To begin ridding your home of the foul odors and health hazards caused by mold and mildew – and to prevent them from re-occurring - here are some things you can do:

  1. Change air filters.  If you have not been changing your air filter on a regular basis, change it!  Your system’s filter pulls odor-causing contaminants out of the air and if the filter is overloaded, the captured contaminants could be recirculating back into your home when the air conditioner is in use. 
  2. Clean-up the environment.  Since mold spores are most prevalent in dust, be sure to vacuum and clean your surroundings regularly, including changing linens.  Use exhaust fans while showering and cooking to dissipate humidity as needed.
  3. Fix leaks & replace seals.  Make sure there are no active leaks around appliances and plumbing, in the basement, crawl space, and roof. Replace the seals around the tub, shower, or windows where moisture collects. If there was ever a flood where the carpet, flooring, or drywall got wet, don’t just “let it dry” - get it replaced!  This can be a particular problem in Nashville, where so many houses were damaged in the 2010 floods, or experienced a burst pipe or ice damming in the winter which caused interior flooding.
  4. Fix drainage issues. Check for any standing water or drainage issues around the foundation of your home. This may be due to landscaping or erosion issues, or to faulty gutters.  Get the basement waterproofed or install a sump pump, if necessary. See our video Excess Humidity: Causes & Solutions.
  5. Service the HVAC system. During a spring/summer HVAC maintenance visit, the evaporator coil and condensation lines are cleaned. This is crucial, since a condensate drip pan is the perfect environment for mold and algae growth and is the second leading cause of AC failure.  See our video Clean Condensate Drain Lines to Prevent Mold.
  6. Check the ductwork. If you turn off your HVAC system and wait 20 minutes and the mildew smell or foul odor seems to dissipate, and returns when the system is back on, that could be a sign that the problem lies in your ductwork. Moisture and odors can enter the ductwork through a tear, gap, or hole in the duct, and then circulate through your home. In some cases, duct cleaning or replacing the ductwork may be necessary, but if caught early, just re-sealing the duct may do the trick.
  7. Test.  Buy a home mold testing kit – easily obtainable at local hardware and home supply stores for under $10. Get at least one test kit per floor, and a separate one for the basement.  After setting up the kit in the house for the required length of time (usually a few days), mail it off to a testing lab to find out what types of molds are present and whether there is cause for concern (note: a lab testing fee of about $40 may apply).  If you’re buying a new or pre-owned home, get a professional mold inspection from a reputable company with appropriate certifications.
  8. Removal & remediation.  Mold removal and remediation is a specialty of its own, and not something a homeowner should attempt themselves.  It requires specialized training, equipment, chemicals, and wearing of personal protection devices. Use only companies that are specifically certified and licensed for this type of work.

If you care about the quality of the air you and your family breathes every day – and want to prolong your HVAC investment – call on Interstate AC Service at 615-832-8500.  We’re here to help with all your heating and air-conditioning needs.

Important Tips & Advice

 

 

You often don't think about your heating or air-conditioning system until something goes wrong. But there is so much you can do to help keep your system from breaking down. We regularly post information to help you learn what you can do to keep your system running, to save money and energy.  Search our many posts, videos, and podcasts, for valuable information that is never a sales pitch. Subscribe to receive an email when something new is posted, so you won’t miss any important tips.

Choosing a Repair Company

Whether you’re talking about heating or cooling, repairing or replacing a system, you want a company that can advise you reliably based on what is in your best interest, not based on what is convenient or what earns them the most money (commissions). We'll help you choose the best solution to fit your needs. Check out our many posts at HVAC News You Can Use and our podcasts.

Going Green

We're concerned about the environment and know all the latest technologies - such as geothermal systems, LED lights, and smart thermostats - that can reduce energy and put more "green" in your pocket!  We've provided HVAC systems in certified LEED buildings and written many posts on ways to Go Green.

The Sign of Service

We are a repair company performing a full range of commercial and residential heating, air conditioning, energy management and comfort products service, maintenance, and installation. We are a locally-owned company serving Nashville-Davidson County and the surrounding counties including Williamson, Rutherford, Wilson, Sumner, Robertson, and Cheatham.

Who We Are

Our service technicians are fully trained and experienced.  We can tackle the most complicated system to the simplest of systems – from large commercial plants to single-family homes.  Our ownership group of Eddie Hutton, Tony Anderson, Roger Eldridge,  Swaney Powers and Alan Seilbeck have over 125 years combined experience as leaders in the HVAC industry.

Dispatch

We are proud of our dispatchers that respond to your telephone call. When your system is down they make things happen. Our trucks are loaded with most parts needed for a quick repair. You can call day and night 7 days a week. Our normal weekday hours are 7:00AM to 5:00PM. Click on the button below to schedule a service call online. Emails and forms can only be answered weekdays from 7-5.”  

615-832-8500 Online Service Call

Maintenance

Did you know you should service your HVAC on a regular schedule – just like you would your car?  We have specialized maintenance programs to ensure the clean, energy efficient and safe operation of your HVAC systems.  This helps minimize service interruptions/breakdowns and maximize your equipment's lifespan.  All maintenance contract customers are assigned a primary technician that will get to know your facility and equipment and will treat it like his own.  You’ll receive discounts on repairs or new installations, and get priority service when it is cold or hot outside and you need service promptly.  Plus, maintenance contract customers are never charged overtime rates for emergency services after-hours, weekends or holidays. We’ll teach you how to save on maintenance costs by showing you things you can do yourself and when you need a technician. Here are some good posts:  Repair vs. Replace, Things to Try Before Calling for Service, Springtime Tips that Pay Off.

Commercial

Our team takes on HVAC projects for office, school, retail and industrial facilities. Check out these case studies:

Replacement of a 250-ton Cooling Tower

Ductless HVAC at Brentwood Middle School