How to Prevent Mold in Commercial HVAC Systems
Mold – it can grow on many different types of surfaces, create indoor air quality issues, restrict airflow, and pose a health risk to building occupants by causing allergies, short-term health effects, and severe long-term illnesses.
Multiple factors can lead to mold growth in commercial facilities, but HVAC equipment is one of the most common causes. HVAC systems can be a breeding ground for mold growth and a mode of transportation for spreading mold spores through a building.
Facility managers and engineers with a strong understanding of mold in HVAC systems are better poised to develop strategies to mitigate such problems. When considering the negative, long-term impacts of mold exposure on human respiratory health, mold growth prevention strategies should be a top priority for any indoor environment.
A Closer Look at Mold in HVAC Systems
It’s not until mold becomes visible that it is typically discovered indoors – but it can quickly become an issue in damp, dark corners of facilities, making under-serviced HVAC systems one of the worst culprits of poor indoor air quality.
HVAC systems cycle on and off, creating a damp, cold, and warm environment ideal for mold and bacteria growth. Return air can also deposit mold spores and bacteria on the surfaces of moist coils. A buildup of such substances can cause odors, airborne spores, increased allergy risks, increased airborne bacteria risks, decreased airflow and efficiency, reduced equipment lifespan, and higher electric bills.
As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, many commercial buildings experienced a shutdown, leading to a prolonged period of inactivity. Temporary shutdowns or reduced building operations can create hazardous working environments due to excessive mold growth.
How to Minimize Mold Risk in Your Commercial Facility
Thankfully, there are numerous strategies that maintenance managers and engineers can implement to minimize mold risk, regardless of whether your facility remained open or temporarily shut down at the height of the SARS-CoV-2 pandemic.
By monitoring the temperature and humidity of your indoor environment, you can control the growth and spread of mold within it. Mold grows best in hot, consistent temperatures between 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Likewise, many species of mold can grow and thrive in elevated levels of humidity, typically 55% or higher.
254 nm UVC germicidal lamps are quickly gaining popularity as one way to continuously keep HVAC systems clear of mold growth on cooling coils and throughout ductwork when appropriately placed. UVC lights are cost-effective, easy to install, and proven to effectively control mold and bacteria growth on HVAC coils.
The most significant benefit of installing UVC lamps within a commercial HVAC system is that they will continuously shine directly at the source 24/7, eliminating the need for routine coil cleaning.
Control Mold in HVAC Systems Today
Ensuring that mold remains under control in your facility is a critical part of creating good indoor air quality conditions that allow your employees to breathe healthily. With that said, mold remediation can be expensive and time-consuming.
ECOSENSE Platforms, today’s most advanced end-to-end IAQ solution, is the perfect answer to controlling mold growth in commercial facilities of any size.
Our UVGI systems utilize two-year, high output 254nm UVC lights to continuously disinfect coils, drain pans, and ductwork of mold, bacteria, and viruses. Our air quality management system accurately monitors over 15 data points, including temperature and humidity, to verify whether your measures like UV lighting are working as intended.
Executive dashboards, alerts, and notifications will enable facility managers to make better, more informed decisions based on visual analytics while informational public displays tell occupants the story of your building health.
At the time of this writing, there are currently no existing federal regulations about mold remediation. However, many states are in the process of enacting mold remediation legislation, and indoor air quality regulations are rapidly evolving at the federal, state, and local levels. An additional feature of our air quality management system is its ability to monitor, track, record, and store historical IAQ data, which can come in handy when it’s time to prove compliance.
For more information on managing and controlling indoor air quality, mold, and other airborne contaminants in your facility, call 1-866-470-0827 or contact us today to get started.
Written by: Daniel Evancho
Reviewed By: Dr. Hal Haines, Ph.D.
Dr. Hal Haines’ 45+ years of executive managerial and consulting experience in healthcare has provided him with a broad background in pharmaceuticals, diagnostics, medical devices, and therapeutics. He is a former tenured Professor of Pathology at the University of Miami School of Medicine, Miami, Florida. Dr. Haines also established and served as Director of the Clinical Virology Laboratory at Jackson Memorial Hospital, the second largest hospital in the United States. Additionally, he has founded and operated two commercial immunology and infectious disease laboratories and, in a President role, has led a subsidiary of a publicly traded company. During the HIV epidemic, Dr. Harold Haines founded and operated a non-profit organization dedicated to the treatment of HIV and AIDS. He currently holds seats on the Board of Directors in two corporations within the medical field.