Mould can be a severe issue in warm and moist areas that don’t get plenty of light. Unfortunately, your air conditioner may be an area where mould growth could pop up if you’re not maintaining it. Organic matter such as airborne dirt and dust may build up in the filter, giving mould plenty of nutrients to grow. You can prevent this by cleaning or replacing the filter regularly.
Common Signs of Mould in Your Air Conditioner
There are a few signs you can look for when it comes to mould growth in the air conditioner. One of the most obvious signs is that a musty scent fills the air when you turn on the air conditioner. The odour comes from mildew inside, as the scent can be limited to a single room for window-mounted, freestanding or wall-mounted air conditioners. Still, it may also fill your home if you have mould buildup in the central AC unit.
You may also notice larger mould patches, such as green-black or fuzzy black particles, which clearly indicate mould. Mould may also come in white, pink, yellow, orange, green and brown, but black is the most common colour.
How to Check for Mould in Your Air Conditioner
If that lingering musty smell is an obvious sign of mould, you should check the air conditioner to see if you have that problem. That means inspecting the smaller, mounted or freestanding unit by unplugging it and removing the front or back grill to reach the filter.
You should pull the filter out and check it for brown, green or black spots and stains with a fuzzy look. If the filter lacks any signs of mould, you should get a flashlight and inspect the inside of the unit, as mildew can produce a powdery grey or white stain.
If you have a central AC unit, this is a more difficult process, as the unit is largely hard to access. You can use a flashlight to check the supply vents, air ducts, exterior AC unit or fan for any signs of mould, but for a deeper look, you will need to hire a professional HVAC maintenance company.
What to Do If You Have Mould in Your Air Conditioner
Finding mould in the air conditioner is an issue you need to handle right away. If the mould heavily infests your small air conditioner, it’s best to replace the unit with a new one since there is a high chance the mould will keep living inside the appliance in hard-to-reach places. If the mould is fairly light, then you may be able to get rid of it before it spreads all over.
Take it outside, then open it and remove the filter. You can replace the old filter or wash it with a mix of bleach and water in a 1:10 ratio, letting it soak for about ten minutes and killing off the mould. You should wear safety glasses, a face mask and gloves when you take the unit to a place where you can clean it without spreading mould spores.
Rinse the filter and allow it to air dry. While it dries, you should work on deep cleaning all affected surfaces of the air conditioner with a solution of bleach and water. Rinse off the AC unit, but be extra careful with the electrical components and let them dry before reinstalling the filter.