The article talks about having mold in your air ducts, so we though it might help our fellow Greenville readers just in case you think you may have a mold problem and need mold removal.
This article was published by: Angie Hicks on Angieslist.com
Dear Angie: We just bought a house to find mold in the air ducts. We talked to a few companies about cleaning the ducts. One wants $1,200 and the other $3,600 and the only real difference seems to be that one takes the A/C coils out to clean them and the other does not. Do they need to be taken out? Also, how can we find the true source of the problem to make sure it does not reappear? Would it be better to replace the duct work rather than clean it? If we have mold in the duct work, could we also have it in the walls or under the carpet? That thought scares me to no end. We are having a baby in four weeks and this has been a nightmare already. What’s your advice? – Clint B., Dallas
Dear Clint: Mold can certainly grow in air ducts, but highly rated air duct cleaning professionals I’ve spoken with say it’s not a common occurrence. Did you have anyone, other than the air duct cleaning company, test first to ensure you have mold?
If not, that’s where you should start; and because you live in Texas, you’re more likely to get accurate advice from a qualified mold tester. That’s because, in 2005, Texas became the first state in the U.S. to regulate the mold remediation industry and require licensing for mold professionals. Now, a company that inspects for mold can no longer do the remediation — a situation many states still allow – which poses a huge conflict of interest, as a company that can both test for and remediate mold has incentive to “find” mold. A professional mold test sent to an independent laboratory can identify the type and severity of the mold. For a couple hundred dollars, the average cost of testing, it would be worth it to start there.
If the mold tester does find mold, then he or she should be trained and prepared to write a protocol for remediating the mold. From there, you could hire a mold remediation firm to follow that protocol. The mold tester can then go back in and retest to ensure the mold has been properly removed.
While it’s entirely possible that you do have mold in your air ducts, such claims are also a common scare tactic used by some less-than-scrupulous air duct cleaning companies. That said, if you do have mold in your air ducts, I’ve been advised by industry professionals that it would be best to remove the components, like the A/C coils, from the HVAC system to perform the most thorough cleaning. This will help ensure there are fewer places for mold spores to remain untouched. Your ducts should not need to be replaced, unless they are damaged or cannot be accessed for a proper remediation. The average air duct cleaning job – properly done – takes several hours and costs between $350 and $500.
To address your concern about hidden mold, yes, it can also grow in places where you can’t see it. In fact, it thrives in dark, concealed areas where it has access to moisture as a food source. So, if you have moisture behind walls or under floors, then mold could be a concern there as well. That’s why I recommend calling out a mold tester first. He or she can help determine if mold is in hidden areas and recommend the best course of action. The key to ridding your home of mold is to first identify the source of the problem; typically a water leak. Ridding your home of mold without addressing the issue will just lead to a recurrence of the problem.
This is certainly one job you only want to pay for once, so have it properly tested and, if necessary, remediated by licensed, reputable companies.
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