The environment in air conditioning systems (heat, moisture, dust) provides the perfect conditions for microbial growth, which includes mold, mildew, fungi, and bacteria. (Reference this article : Life Cycle of Mold) This contamination is very common in the South where humidity is high and the air conditioning systems are used almost year-round. Penicillium, claudosporium and aspergillus are among the common microbes that can be food in homes, schools and offices.
The first indication of the presence of microbial growth is a foul, musty odor which may be strongest when the ventilations system is running. If the growth remains unchecked, headaches, itchy eyes, rashes and respiratory problems may be expected by those who are prone to allergies.
Carbon containing materials that are abundant both indoors and outdoors may provide the essential nutrients for growth. Sources of moisture are usually the limiting and most important factor. They can come from high humidity levels, condensation, and water intrusion due to a number of events such as indoor leaks and floods. Temperature and light may affect fungal growth, but are usually not a limiting factor since most fungi can grow in light and total darkness.
Molds can cause a variety of reactions in hypersensitive individuals ranging from allergic responses to neurological damage. Molds may proliferate in almost any indoor environment where excessive amounts of water and organic matter persist.
The key factor in limiting mold exposure indoors is to prevent growth through moisture control, maintenance, and proper cleaning methods.
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.
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