Water Damage Cleanup Tips: What To Do When Mold Shows Up In Your Air Vents After A Flood

If rainwater floods into your home and damages many of your personal items, you may focus on cleaning up your things to save them from mold. But one of the areas in your home mold may affect is your HVAC system, including the air vents that supply the home's air. Although air vents generally sit inside your ceiling, the vents can build up with moisture from the flooding water and grow mold. Once you turn on the cooling or heating system, the spores leave the air vents and spread throughout the house. The spores can also travel to the air conditioner and infect it. The mold may create health problems, such as rashes on the skin and watery eyes, for your family throughout the year if you don't clean it now. Here's what you need to obtain to protect your health during the vent cleaning and tips on how to clean out the vents properly. 

Protect Your Face and Body From the Mold

Before you attempt to clean up the mold in your air vents, obtain the items below:

  1. Shirt with long sleeves and a high collar to avoid getting mold spores on your neck, chest and arms.
  2. Long pants or jeans and full-cover footwear, such as boots or hi-top sneakers, to protect the lower half of your body.
  3. Pair of vinyl gloves that extend up to the elbow.
  4. Facial mask that covers the entire lower half of your face.
  5. Safety glasses with well-fitting straps to protect the mucous membranes of your eyes from mold and other contaminants that may fly into your face during the cleanup.

After you obtain your gear, here's what you do next.

Clean the Air Vents

To clean the air vents, mix 1 gallon of cold or warm water with 4 cups of white vinegar in a large bucket or container. Vinegar is known to destroy up to 82 percent of mold species, as well as bacteria and germs. You also need a tall ladder and hard-bristled cleaning brush to complete the job.

Now, follow the essential steps below:

  1. Secure the flooring beneath each air vent by removing furnishings, personal items and toys out of the way. 
  2. Position the ladder beneath a vent, then use a screwdriver to remove the vent's grated covering.
  3. Set the covering aside, then use the brush to scrub down the inside of the vent. To avoid pain or injury, only clean as far as your arms can reach. 
  4. Clean and dry the vent with a soft cloth, then proceed to clean the rest of the vents.
  5. Wash the grated coverings with soapy water, dry them thoroughly with the cloth and replace them over the vents.
  6. Discard your cleaning items, clothing and gear in a trash bag to contain the mold spores on them.

The cleaning may help control the mold growth in your home.

If you need additional help cleaning your air vents or any other parts of the HVAC system, contact a flood cleanup contractor immediately.