If your house suddenly has a musty odor, but you can't find the source of the scent, check your air ducts. Mold is an airborne contaminant that can grow anywhere if it finds a good food source. If your air ducts contain moisture and organic matter, such as pet dander and bacteria, mold can live and grow inside them. The musty odor produced by mold can invade your living space every time you turn on your cooling system. You can eliminate your mold problem with the tips below.

Dry Out Your Home

One of the first things you can do is dry out your home to make your home a little more habitable. Mold loves moist or damp places. If your home contains any signs of moisture, such as a damp sink cabinet, mold can take hold and grow. You might not think to check your home's indoor structures for mold growth, which allows the fungi to grow undetected. You may simply focus on the terrible odor waffling through your home's air. 

If you have one or two fans, place them in the areas you find mold. The fans' air can blow dry the damp places. Also, place gloves on your hands and use rags to soak up any visible sources of water you find. Some people use bleach to kill mold. However, bleach can give off toxic odors, so you may want to use plain white vinegar instead. Just fill a spray bottle with about 2 cups of vinegar and use it to saturate any surfaces you find with signs of black mold. Allow the surfaces to dry thoroughly. 

Your actions above temporarily protected your home and loved ones from the spread of mold. Now, it's time to eliminate the mold growing inside your air ducts permanently.

Clean Out Your Air Ducts Professionally

To ensure that black mold doesn't take over your home completely, have your air ducts cleaned by a professional HVAC contractor. Although it's possible for you to wipe down the air vents covering your ducts' openings, you can't access the interior surfaces of the ducts. Mold spores can hide deep within the ducts. A contractor can use special equipment to test the ducts for mold, then take steps to remove it.

In addition, mold spores may have contaminated your cooling system's air handler and drainage system. Even if you clear out the air ducts, mold can still populate your house if it lives inside these structures. A contractor can inspect and treat your air handler and drainage system for mold.

After your home and HVAC system are free of mold, take steps to keep them that way. Dry up of water as soon as you notice it. Also, monitor your air vents for signs of mold on the grilles. If you notice mold, clean it with vinegar immediately. 

For more tips or information about mold and its affects on your HVAC system, contact a plumber today.