By: Licensed Mold Assessor Brad Fishbein
February 8, 2023
Finding mold on your air conditioning vents, also called grills, can be scary and lead you to believe you have a horrible mold problem in your home.
But the truth is, it’s likely minor.
In this article, I am going to show you how to remove mold from air conditioning vents, and you will be able to determine if this means a severe mold problem is present in your home.
Mold present on air conditioning vents is unlikely dangerous because the material is usually metal or plastic, which is not porous. Because the vent itself is non-porous, the mold will be on the surface of the register grill only and not present danger.
Cleaning Black Mold From Air Conditioning Vents
Because vents are not porous, black mold in which the scientific term is Stachybotrys does not grow on vents. The mold that may be present on a vent is not generally toxic but can cause an allergic-type reaction such as coughing or sneezing.
However, just because mold is not dangerous when present on the vents, it does not mean mold inside of the vents can’t cause occupants in the home harm.
While the mildew on the HVAC vents does not present an immediate health risk, the possibility exists for an underlying issue within the ductwork itself.
The ductwork is the vehicle used to move air from the air conditioning handler to the living space.
So, when the duct board becomes contaminated with mold, the possibility exists that the air in the home can as well.
Mold spores and fragments can be distributed into the air and landing on surfaces as well as into the carpet leading to potential health risks.
In addition, the air can push out the mold from the ductwork onto the grill.
If you see mold in the air conditioning air ducts, it is recommended that they are cleaned by a licensed HVAC professional as an unclean system that can affect the overall air quality within the home.
Removing mold from air conditioning vents is quite simple. The hardest part will be removing the actual grill from the ceiling or wall, which will require a screwdriver.
Cleaning mold from air conditioning vents can be done in a few easy steps:
Step 1: Unscrew the vent from the ceiling or wall and take it outside. Step 2: Rinse the vent with a hose Step 3: Apply a spray disinfectant to the vent and let it soak for 10 minutes Step 4: Rinse the vent
Another solution would involve cleaning the grill in place without removing it. While this can be done, it can be dangerous because the metal is very sharp and can cut your fingers if you aren’t careful!
The easiest way to do it would be to use a thick towel or rag, put the disinfectant on the cloth, and then wipe it.
Controlling mold on AC vents is extremely difficult. Mold accumulates as the cold air coming out causing condensation. The mold then lands on the wet vent. The colder you make the temperature on your air conditioning the greater chance condensation will build up.
It is ubiquitous for mold to be present on HVAC vents.
Regularly cleaning them will prevent build-up.
Mold Around The Vents
It’s not unusual for mold to accumulate around the vent on the wall or ceiling. This occurs when the grill is not tightened or the duct is not sealed allowing cold air to escape on the surrounding drywall. Condensation starts to amass and mold will start appearing.
When mold grows on porous materials such as sheetrock, it can be a greater threat to cause health issues because it can off-gas producing toxins.
Unless there is minor surface mold, the drywall should be removed in this area.
If you have plaster ceiling or walls, it can just be cleaned with a disinfectant because plaster does not easily support mold growth.
If the area is larger than 10 square feet a licensed mold remediation professional should be contacted.
While mold on the air conditioning vents doesn’t cause a health threat in itself, it could indicate a mold-contaminated air conditioning system.
If your air conditioning system and ductwork are clean, then clean the vent cover.
It’s as simple as that!
Meet the author: Brad Fishbein is an ACAC council-certified Microbial Investigator. In the fall of 2012, he became a Licensed Mold Assessor in the State of Florida through the Department of Business & Professional Regulation. Brad has helped homeowners with over 5,000 successfully completed Mold Inspections since 2009.