Mini-splits are ductless units that are a great option for installation post-construction in homes where there is no room for traditional ductwork and central air. Instead, there is a compressor outside and an air handler inside. The air handler is typically visible and hung near the top of the wall, and it pretty much blends into the environment (although it is more visible than registers in traditional HVAC). Ductless systems work very well, but they are susceptible to mold infestation.
There are multiple ways to tell if your ductless air system has mold. The first way is by scent. Mold smells earthy and pungent, like a dirty sock mixed with a bucket of mud. It’s unpleasant. However, if you’ve been living with it for a while, you may not notice it. Visible mold may also occur, and it will look like discolored splotches of black or possibly another color on your unit. Standing water will always attract mold because you cannot prevent all mold spores from entering your home. Lastly, if you are having health effects from the mold, such as respiratory symptoms, this can be indicative of a mold problem.
One of the best ways to prevent moisture and mold from building up in your ductless air system is to keep it running. If you turn it off, the system will stop its intended drainage functions. This doesn’t mean you have to be running it full bore, but keep the power on.
Another way to prevent mold is to apply a mold control product that is meant to be used with HVAC systems and air ducts. This is meant to be an “odor-reducer,” but it reduces odor by stopping mold growth.
Your mold problem may be resolved with a little bleach and some mold prevention strategies. If you are concerned this isn’t taking care of the problem, it is wise to call a mold removal specialist. Mold can be harmful and even deadly to people who are sensitive to it. Professionals will not only ensure that your home is mold-free (as much as possible), but they’ll also safely remove mold. You must wear proper personal protective equipment and remove moldy items without spreading the mold to the rest of the home. If your mold problem extends beyond your ductless air systems, professional help is recommended.