Question about window air conditioners and mold via /r/DIY

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Question about window air conditioners and mold

About a year ago I discovered that my window AC unit had become extremely moldy inside. It had an issue where it was icing over badly sometimes and then melting, resulting in a bunch of sitting water inside areas that weren't intended to be wet, so I didn't think it was odd that the mold had grown inside.

So I replaced it with a new AC unit and that one eventually got moldy as well. I discovered that some flowers and bugs had fallen into the tray where the water drains on the outside portion of the unit, and I figured this organic matter plus the water had been the cause of the mold. I cleaned it incredibly well with a bleach water solution that was recommended online for cleaning mold. It took me many hours to completely disassemble the unit, clean it, and put it back together. I put it back in the window and it's been good since.

A few days ago I noticed an irritation in my throat and decided to check the unit. Sure enough, there is mold creeping up the inside and small bits collected on the fins that direct the airflow.

I can't figure out what is causing mold in these units. Here is some additional information that I figure may be relevant:

  • The room is entirely clean and heavily used. My wife, dog, and I are in the room with the door closed most of the day.
  • There is a central AC vent in the room as well that is sometimes open, but I can't see any mold in it and there aren't any problems in any other rooms.
  • There is a large crack across the window. The glass is still holding together (and has been for quite a few years), but I think some air/moisture could pass through here.
  • I've never been able to get the window completely sealed off because of the way the window frame is designed and also broken, but I'm in Florida and there are no mosquitoes in here, so I don't think too much air is passing through there.
  • I live in central Florida, so there's a lot of humidity, though the room is usually pretty dry.
  • I used a humidifier at the same time as the previous air conditioner, and possibly with the current one before cleaning, but I am fairly sure I didn't use a humidifier when it got moldy this most recent time.

So I'm wondering if anybody can tell me what is most likely causing the mold here. I have a new AC unit ready for the window but I am afraid to put it in before I figure out and rectify the problem that is causing the mold. Sorry for the long post and thanks in advance for any advice.

Submitted April 03, 2021 at 09:34PM by current-note
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