What to Do About Mold in Window Air Conditioners

A window air conditioner can be a great convenience, keeping you cool essentially anywhere. They’re a mainstay in apartments and other situations where residents can’t renovate or even just supplement an existing AC system with more power for one area of the home.

However, they do all encounter the same issue at one point. If you’ve dealt with these units long enough here in Monroe, NC, you’ve probably run into the problem of mold in window air conditioners.

Why Is There Mold in Window Air Conditioners?

Mold can grow in many places, but there are a few key things it’s looking for. In general, mold needs a combination of moisture, darkness, and nutrients to grow. Unfortunately, the crevices of your air conditioner offer all three in abundance.

One thing to keep in mind is that mold doesn’t simply appear. It grows from spores that got picked up and carried about in the air. You have plenty of airflow over your air conditioner, so there will be no shortage of spores. They’re essentially everywhere.

Now those spores need food. They can’t eat the plastic or metal of your air conditioner, so where do they get it? Dust.

Dust consists of many types of particles, some of which are excellent mold food. When your air conditioner isn’t running, dust accumulates, building up a mold buffet.

There’s no shortage of moisture around your air conditioner. This cooling system relies on condensation to pull heat out of the air, taking moisture with it. Unfortunately, moisture can collect in the wrong places, giving mold an area to take hold. That is particularly true in humid regions like we find here in Monroe, NC.

Mold doesn’t like direct sunlight, but the fins and other parts of your air conditioner will shield it. With how perfect the environment is, it’s more of a surprise that there ever isn’t mold in window air conditioners.

Is There Mold in My Air Conditioner?

Probably. As bad as it might sound, almost every air conditioner will have at least a little bit of mold. This isn’t a major issue as long as it doesn’t progress. You have a problem if you can see the familiar black spots that mold grows inside your air conditioner.

Mold has a very distinct smell. You’ll turn on your air conditioner one day and find that the wave of air that first hits you is incredibly musty, a sure sign of mold growth. While a visual inspection can verify the issue, you’ll probably notice the smell before anything else.

Is the Mold a Serious Problem?

It can be, and it won’t be going away on its own. While the first sight of mold might not be cause enough to call in “AC repair near me” immediately, you can’t ignore this problem. Mold is associated with numerous health problems and will reduce the air quality in your home if you let it grow.

With a high concentration of mold spores in the air, you can start to notice an increase in symptoms like:

  • Coughing
  • Runny noses
  • Wheezing
  • Itchy eyes
  • Rashes
  • Throat irritation

These are the most common symptoms, and they can vary in severity. Some people have an allergy to mold and can experience very severe symptoms if the mold issue isn’t handled.

How Can I Get Rid of It?

Of course, you can call in an HVAC repair company to handle this quickly, safely, and affordably. Depending on how bad the issue really is, there are some steps you can take to handle it yourself.

While dealing with mold in window air conditioners, you should be wearing protective eyewear and gloves, along with a facemask to avoid breathing in spores. First, you’ll have to remove the front grill of the air conditioner, which is generally fairly easy.

You can remove the filter (which should be replaced) to access the air conditioner’s interior. There should be a pretty clear view of the mold at this point. You’ll have to scrub it all off with a cleaning solution and leave it to dry before reassembling the unit. 

How Do I Stop Mold From Coming Back?

Now, of course, it’s not terribly challenging to wipe off some mold. The hard part is not having it grow back. There are some simple steps to follow to avoid mold growth. These should be taken by any air conditioner owners, not just those who have dealt with mold in the past.

Don’t Bite the Dust

Dust is the biggest issue. Be sure to vacuum or wipe the front of the air conditioner from time to time. You should also replace your air filter regularly, at least once every three months. Finally, take the time to visually inspect the air conditioner for mold at least once a month to catch it early.

Leave It to the Professionals

Air Care Heating and Cooling provides reliable HVAC services all around Charlotte and Stallings. If you’ve got a major air conditioner mold problem, we can provide professional cleaning and help get to the root of the issue. Reach out to us today for any of your air conditioner issues here in Monroe, NC.