How to clean mold on styrofoam in air conditioner – Do it yourself at home… easy… cheap… fast… and free!
If you own an air conditioner, you probably know it can become clogged with dust and other debris over time.
However, did you know mold can also grow inside your air conditioning unit?
In fact, mold can grow in places where there is moisture… even if… the area is not directly exposed to the elements. Moisture can be present due to leaks in your air conditioner’s exterior housing… or… in interior coils or venting pipes. If this happens, mold can grow… and… spread throughout your home.
Fortunately, mold does not have to remain a problem confined to your home. With a little know-how, you can actually remove the mold… and… get your air conditioning unit back into good working order.
First, it’s important to understand what types of mold may grow inside an air conditioning unit. There are two main types: black mold… and… white or greenish-gray mold. Both of these types of mold are toxic. However, black mold is often much more dangerous than white or gray mold.
That’s because black mold has been known to cause serious health problems… including… but not limited to: respiratory difficulties, skin rashes, fever, fatigue, headaches, confusion and even brain damage. On the other hand, white or gray mold usually causes nothing more than cosmetic issues. It usually looks like powdery dust.
Now that you know what mold is… and how it can grow inside your air conditioning unit… let’s talk about how you can clean it.
How to Clean Mold on Styrofoam in Air Conditioner
But before we go into details, I would like to recommend the cheap and easy way to fix this problem, please watch this video for reference.
You need to get down on your hands and knees and crawl around your air conditioner unit. Keep in mind, you should be crawling on the floor… NOT… on the outside of the unit. Why? Simply because you don’t want to get any mold on your clothes or on the skin of your body. If you are wearing rubber gloves, put them on now. You’ll need them later.
Once you are down on the floor with your air conditioning unit, you should locate the intake vent. This is the small opening at the bottom front corner of the unit where the air enters. Most likely, there will be a plastic cap over this intake vent. Remove that cap.
Now, look closely at the interior of the air conditioning unit. You should be able to see several metal fins running parallel to each other. These are called “coils”. There may be only one coil… or… there may be several. In any case, all of the coils should be removed from the unit. You can use a pair of needle-nosed pliers to remove these. Don’t worry if some of the fins come off along with the coil. Just put them in a plastic bag and throw them away.
Next, remove the three plastic tabs holding the front grill in place. Do this by pulling up on them with your fingers. Don’t try to use any tools here. The plastic will just come right off.
Next, remove the four plastic retaining screws holding the top grill in place. Again, don’t use tools for this. Just pull up on the plastic with your fingers.
Now, lift the top grill off of the air conditioning unit. You’ll probably need to wiggle the unit a little to get it free. When you do, you will see a gray, powdery substance on the inside of the top grill. This is mold. DON’T touch it! It’s very toxic. Just put it in a plastic bag and throw it away.
Next, remove the two Phillips head screws holding the front panel in place. Pry up on the front panel with your fingers and remove it from the air conditioning unit. There will probably be a lot of dust and dirt inside the front panel. Don’t worry about this. Just brush or vacuum it up.
Now, look at the bottom of the air conditioner. You should be able to see the four round feet which hold the air conditioner unit in place. Remove those feet.
Finally, lift the air conditioner up off of the floor. If it was properly assembled, you should be able to lift it straight up. If it’s not together well, you may have to use some tools to get it apart. Don’t worry about this either. Just do what is necessary to get it apart so you can remove it from the room.
OK, after you do all this… what do you do next? Well, first off, you should replace the caps you removed earlier. Then, you should clean out the air conditioning unit and put a new filter in it. After that, you should reassemble the air conditioner unit… and… put it back in place.
All done? Not yet.
Now, it’s time to deal with the mold that was growing inside your air conditioning unit. Here’s what you do: Take a bucket or other container and put it underneath the intake vent of the air conditioning unit. Then, fill the bucket two-thirds full of water. Next, attach a piece of plastic wrap to the rim of the container (the part which is above the water level). Finally, put the air conditioning unit back in place.
What will happen is, the water in the bucket will begin to overflow… and… drip down onto the metal coils inside the unit. This creates steam. The steam condenses on the outside of the metal coils… and… drips back down into the bucket. In this way, the water cleanses the coils and the air conditioning unit. It also removes the mold. After a while, remove the plastic wrap from the bucket… and check the water. If there isn’t any mold in the water, repeat the process with another section of plastic wrap. However, if there is still mold in the water…
Dump the Water!
Dumping the water is the easy part. However, if you do it too soon, the mold may have a chance to grow back. That’s why it’s so important to do this process often. Just keep putting the air conditioning unit back in place… and… keep filling the bucket with water… and… keep attaching plastic wrap to the bucket… and… keep checking the water in the bucket for mold.
Eventually, the mold will be reduced to a very low level… where… you will no longer need to dump the water. At this point, it’s just a matter of keeping the air conditioning unit clean… and… putting a new filter in it every month or so.
By the way, I just took apart an old air conditioner for a friend who had a mold problem. It turned out she had a leak in one of the coils. Once I found that leak… and fixed it… the mold problem went away.