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Mysterious mould. We don’t want to talk about it and even refrain from using the word in fear that saying it can result in finding it but the reality in aging buildings is that mould might be found within the fan coil unit. If you get a whiff of something musty in the air or notice darker colour debris coming from your exit grille it is a sign there might be mould growing and living within the fan coil unit cabinet.
If mould were growing on your ceiling, you would do something. So why not if it’s growing on your fan coil?
Mould requires water, food, and oxygen to grow. It also requires an environment with a temperature it can survive in generally over 40 degrees Fahrenheit (4.5 degrees Celsius). Mould can grow on almost any substance when moisture is present. In ideal conditions mould can grow within 24 to 48 hours where after mould spores can begin to colonize becoming visible shortly after.
Yes. Existing fan coil units in aging buildings were originally installed using fibreglass insulation. Only recently retrofit fan coil units like the Unilux CRFC retrofit fan coil unit have begun using close cell foam that prevents mould growth. Fibreglass insulation can act as a breeding ground for mould if met with moisture. Moisture can make its way onto the insulation by way of excessive condensation or from pooling water in the drain pan. Condensation can occur from the change in temperatures seasonally, or within the suite. As moisture finds its way onto and into the insulation and the temperature reaches over 40 degrees Fahrenheit for more than 24 hours there is enough time for mould to begin growing. Should the temperatures remain over 40 degrees beyond 72 hours there is enough time for mould spores to multiply and breed in colonies.
The danger of mould comes from its exposure. While immediate attention and remediation can limit the danger, often people do not realize there’s mould growing until it has begun to spread and they’re experiencing musty smells or debris. In some cases, certain mould species do not give off odours so mould growth could be present and you won’t even know. In the case of your fan coil unit the real danger lies in the debris that exits the fan coil unit through the ventilated air. Mould growing within the degrading fibreglass can break off and be blown through the exit grilles into the suites air. These fibres being blown into the air are microscopic. You won’t be able to see them but could very easily inhale them if they’re swirling around your suite. Mould produces allergens, irritants and in the case of black mould mycotoxins that can affect the lunges, skin, and nervous system. Mould spores can cause allergic reactions such as sneezing, runny nose, irritated eyes, skin rashes and in severe cases asthma attacks.
Excessive mould exposure can negatively affect children, elderly residents, and anyone with pre-existing health conditions.
Once mould begins growing there are things you can do to mitigate its spread including,
– Moisture control
– Keeping the humidity levels under 60 percent
– Dry wet materials including carpets, rugs, curtains, and bedding.
– Clean, disinfect, and dry surfaces prone to mould growth
– Repair any leaks
– Thoroughly dry items before storing them
– Improve air flow and ventilation inside suites
If the mould is found in more than one area we recommend allowing a certified professional assess the situation and provide a report outlining the amount of mould and a remediation process.
Mould abatement and remediation in Ontario follows the EACO Mould Abatement Guidelines Edition 3 (2015). The guideline was prepared to assist building owners, construction companies, subcontractors, engineers, and workers who have duties under the Occupational Health and Safety Act and it’s regulations to safely perform work related activities involving mould abatement and remediation.
If so, please contact certified Clean Air Corp to provide you with a free fan coil unit assessment.