Life Cycle of Mold
There are four main phases for the life cycle of mold. When the appropriate conditions for growth exist: presence of moisture, nutrients, temperature, etc, mold begins to reproduce via it’s life cycle.
Hyphal Growth: Hyphae are the thread-like filamentous cells that release enzymes which degrade and absorb nutrients from a substrate (ie. organic debris, cellulose, wood, almost any carbon containing material including human skin). Upon obtaining it’s nutrition, the hyphae will grow into a mycelium, the main body of the fungus which is also the visible portion.
Spore Formation: Spores form on the ends of some hyphael cells. The formation of spores is dependent on a variety of environmental factors including light, oxygen levels, temperature, and nutrient availability.
Spore Dispersal: After the spores are formed, they are released into the air and carried elsewhere to begin the process of germination and growth all over again. Mold spores are highly resistant and durable. They can remain dormant for years in even hot and dry environments.
Spore Germination: Once the spore is dispersed to a new area and when the appropriate conditions exist, moisture and nutrient availability, the spore will begin to germinate into a new hyphael cell.The life cycle of mold then begins again.
All of these conditions exist inside the HVAC ventilation system in Houston and the surrounding area. The moisture is obviously provided by the cooling coils and condensate pans within the air handler units. But, moisture is also provided by the high levels of humidity that we have in this area. If the system is not cycling properly and the cooling coils are dirty, the unit is not removing the humidity and allowing the moisture to travel down the air distribution system. Systems that are not running allow the humidity level of the entire facility to climb, including inside the HVAC system and ductwork. The source of nutrients is lengthy; construction dust in brand new systems, dirt and debris entering the system from cheap filters, improperly sized filters, and dirty filters, and dirt and debris entering the system from leaks in the system completely bypassing the filters. DIRTY internally lined air handlers, plenums, risers, and ductwork provide an ideal environment for the life cycle of mold.
Prevention of these conditions is the best measure to prevent mold inside the HVAC system, but proper remediation once it has occurred is recommended to provide the best indoor air quality. Call Power Vac America today for a free estimate.