HVAC Systems, Leaks, and Mold Growth

A recent mold outbreak and poor handling of the cleaning at St. James Elementary School has lead to multiple public meetings with Horry County Schools’ board. After finding mold in over 20 locations in the school, the news raises questions and concerns about where the mold originated.

For indoor mold to thrive, it needs 3 conditions: moisture, warmth, and food. A small leak that drips onto an organic material like wood in a temperate place is all it takes for spores to grow. The water source is ultimately a critical piece of the equation, and fixing the leak or source of moisture is key in preventing future mold growth.

One possible cause of mold growth could be a leak from one or more components of your HVAC system. So what would cause your HVAC system to leak? 

Common Causes of HVAC System Leaks

The following issues frequently cause leaks and/or excess water buildup:

Clogged Drain Line: Drain lines can can easily become clogged with dirt and debris. When lines are clogged, water will overflow the HVAC drain pan. This is a common HVAC service call and easily fixed.

Disconnected Drain Line: Overtime drain pipe fittings may loosen and even disconnect. Water and condensation in the line may drip and pool. Once the loose connection is found, reconnecting the line is straightforward

Condensation and Cracked Ductwork: Sometimes moisture can get trapped in ductwork. Cracked or broken ducts without insulation can lead to leakage, affecting ceiling or wall areas near the duct.

Frozen Evaporator Coil: A frozen evaporator coil or ice buildup signals possible problems associated with clogged filters or bad blower fans. Secondary problems from a frozen evaporator coil include excess water buildup, so taking care of one issue will usually solve the other.

Address Leaks and Mold at the Source

If you see water leaking near an HVAC vent or near ductwork, call an HVAC professional to fix it. Mold growth, especially on porous surfaces like walls and ceilings requires a mold remediation specialist as well.

Since mold spores are microscopic, surface cleaning by yourself usually results in mold coming back. A professional mold removal will check and remediate the interior of walls and remove the porous surfaces that mold spores have permeated.

If you suspect you have an HVAC leak, call Cooper Mechanical Services. Our family-owned and operated business has been serving Myrtle Beach’s HVAC needs since 1989. Call a company you can trust–call Cooper.