The Proper Cleaning of Heat Pumps to Remove Mold
Heat Pumps, or ‘Mini-Split’ Ductless systems are a great way to heat your home in colder months, and cool it in hot months. However, due to the way they operate, they draw in elements from nature and if not maintained properly can suffer from becoming contaminated with mold.
How Do Heat Pumps Get Mold?!
The process of mold creation in a heat pump: Heat pumps are great for cooling your home during the summer, but this can often leaves moisture in them. As the air travels over the fins of the coil in the heat pump, the temperature difference between the air and the coil causes condensation and moisture from the air accumulates on the coil and spreads through the system and down to the blower wheel.
The moisture can sit here for a while. As it does it usually starts to breed mold. The real problem area is the blower wheel (the cylinder inside the heat pump that spins and blows the air thorough your home).
“This gets worse as the summers become more humid, like the last few we have had in Nova Scotia”
Is Dehumidifier Mode Good For The Heat Pump Mold?
People will run the ‘dehumidifier’ mode, rather than the ‘cooling’ mode to try to keep the system dry. However, is the heat pump is cooling the air temperature, it will create this condensation effect and take moisture from the air!
How Do I Stop Mold in My Heat Pump?
We get asked this question a lot. From what we have seen, every heat pump that is used to cool the home will accumulates mold if left for long enough. So we recommend you at least check the heat pump at least once every 6 months – this is pretty easy to do, just click here for instructions
However, you can so things to slow down mold in your heat pump – How you use your heat pump will affect how quickly and how much mold the unit accumulates. Heat pumps like to be left on continuously. They are more efficient this way and also allows them to stay dry. Even if the unit is not actively cooling or heating, the blower wheel will kick in once in a while to keep the system dry.
Dangers of Mold & Health Issues
Mold can cause nasal and throat issues, cold and flu-like symptoms, and exasperate breathing issues and allergens. Some mold exposure can cause more serious health problems, including chronic lung infections such as legionnaires disease
Moisture, Mold and Your Heat Pump System
Heat Pumps work by exchanging heat and distributing air. They are prone to condensing water, which is where mould loves to grow. Moist air and parts of the system that are damp for long periods can be prone to mold infestations. If left for too long, the mold will manifest itself on the blades, the coil, fan and other components. It can also spread throughout the system to other area’s of your house.
Preventing & Removing Mold in a Heat Pump – Periodic Maintenance & Cleaning
Most manufacturers recommend cleaning your mini-split system every 12 months. We recommend you at least check the unit, or have someone check it every 6 – 12 months. We highly recommend getting a certified, insured professional cleaner as if not done properly it can damage your machine and your home electrics. The Heat Pump runs on electricity so extreme care must be taken when cleaning. Use the following steps as a guideline:
“We recommend you at least check the unit, or have someone check it every 6 – 12 months”
How To Clean A Heat Pump (information purpose only)
We do NOT recommend cleaning your own heat pump head, and if you are not an electrician, or trained HVAC specialist, we advise you call a professional cleaner, or contact us for help or advice or to arrange cleaning. The following is for educational purposes only.
*** ALWAYS SHUT THE ELECTRICITY OFF AT BREAKER PANEL or on exterior condenser unit. If you are unsure, contact a professional, insured heat pump cleaner now ***
1. Shut off power by breaker panel (usually two circuits) or on outside condenser unit.
2. Wear safety mask, gloves and goggles
3. Use a flashlight to inspect the blower wheel (look through the bottom vent to spinning fan cylinder) Click Here For Step By Step Guide to Check Your Heat Pump
4. Remove filters and the cover (usually a few screws, covered by pull-out tabs) and any accessories. This can be a tricky part, as all models are slightly different, and come apart in different ways. Also, if the machine is older than a year or two, the clips & covers can be brittle. Be careful not to snap them.
5. Cover electrical and any exposed circuits with tape/cling-wrap. Check there is no power to machine by using current tester or multi-meter.
6. Cover wall, lay drop sheet on any area you do not wish to get wet
7. Spray coils, blades and parts with an antibacterial, non-acidic cleaner (leave for 10 – 15 minutes) a mild soap & water can work
8. Rinse with power washer (set to low so as to not damage the coil blades! (less than 1500 psi) You will need a bucket for the water run off, and if you don’t have the specialist equipment, you’ll need some dry rags/sponge, ready to soak up any water from the walls & floor. It may be easier to use a bottle sprayer rather than a pressure washer to reduce the amount of water/spillage. However, this may not remove all of the mold.
If you don’t have suitable power washer, brush solution off and rinse with sponge – You may need to remove the blower wheel completely and use a toothbrush in the bath to clean it. At this point you may wish to consider hiring a professional.
9. Use a flashlight to inspect the blower wheel (look through the bottom vent to spinning fan cylinder) If it has mold or dirt build up, rinse with washer/sprayer, or remove the blower/fan wheel & clean in the bathtub.
10. Power wash covers, louvers, screens/filters (or wash by hand if the covers contain electrical) Heat pump filters can be cleaned
11. Let dry, replace covers and accessories
12. Pressure wash outside condenser unit (use low pressure so as not to damage the coils) with chemicals and rinse (or use hose)
WATCH A HEAT PUMP GO FROM MOLD TO CLEAN BELOW!
“We highly recommend getting a professional to clean & service your heat pump, to keep everyone safe, and prevent damage to the mini-split system, or the home electrics”
For further information, tips, help or advice on cleaning, feel free to e-mail us at: email@example.com or call us on:
Stay safe, breath fresh air,
dame and the Heat Pump Cleaning team