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Mold can get in anywhere, because mold spores are capable of moving through the air and settling on different surfaces throughout your home. Of course, some of those places are easier to clean up than others. Mold on a sponge can just be thrown away, but what happens if you have mold in a place as hard to reach as an air duct? How do you even know you have it?

Signs of mold in your air ducts

Even if you can’t see the mold, you still might be feeling the side effects. A musty smell is one of the biggest and clearest signs that you have mold in your home, but you also may be experiencing symptoms from the mold exposure itself, such as:

  • Sneezing
  • Itchy throat
  • Red and/or itchy eyes
  • Wheezing
  • Skin irritation
  • Coughing
  • Runny nose or congestion

If you suspect mold, a good first step is to bring in a certified mold inspector to collect samples from your air ducts. They will determine what is actually going on in their, because mold can often be confused with dust or dirt, meaning it only needs a thorough (but regular) cleaning. However, if you’re sure you have mold, follow these next steps:

Mold treatment tips

Stop your AC

If you know that mold is growing in your air ducts (or even if you strongly suspect it) don’t run the heat or air conditioning until it can be dealt with. This will prevent mold from spreading even further through your home, because as we know, tiny mold spores can be carried through the air.

Find your air duct type

Your ducts may be constructed from fiberglass, metal sheets, or flex duct. There will be different methods of cleaning for each, and a different charge applied for cleaning them. If your ducts are made from fiberglass or lined with fiberglass duct liner as insulation, they will have to be entirely replaced to ensure all the mold is gone.

Hire a professional

Removing mold from ducts, especially sheet metal ducts, is time consuming and serious work, and it can be dangerous if it is incorrectly handled. The right cleaners and tools will also be needed to remove all the mold and prevent it from returning, and to address the potential causes that created the mold in the first place. You should ensure that the cleaners you hire are adhering to National Air Duct Cleaners Association (NADCA) regulations and using the correct cleansers, and that they do not use any type of steam cleaning in air ducts.


An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Once the mold has been removed, you should find out what caused the growth in the first place and prevent it from returning. These are a few tips to get you started:

  • Keep your home from becoming too humid. If necessary, use a dehumidifier to keep levels safe and remove the dampness that encourages mold to grow.
  • Ensure that drain pans and other HVAC components are easy to reach and properly cleaned and maintained.
  • Don’t allow standing water in your home- fix any leaks you find right away. In addition, your AC drain pans should always slope downwards towards the drain so that water doesn’t stand below the cooling coils of AC units.

If you have any further questions about mold in air vents or are dealing with a mold problem right now, please give us a call at the Flood Medix! We’re always happy to help get your home back in order and answer any questions you may have.