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I am running a gravimetric lab that has an air handler to maintain the lab at 22C, 35%RH 24/7. We are in the desert so these conditions are adding humidity to our ambient air. Mold grows continuously inside the unit where the sump and sprayers are. There is a UV light to help with this but I still get lots of mold growth. I’d like to ID the mold or at least find out if it is dangerous to be breathing or not. The mold grows on stainless steel and both in the water and out. The water is extremely cold. I’m adding pictures of some of the mold removed and of the interior of the unit where the mold grows. Unit photos are with the water drained and most mold cleaned out. Note: I don't have a URL for images so I'm not sure how to submit the photos. I would appreciate comments based on the description of the conditions. The mold is black in color, slimy and grows in chunks that can be over half a foot long, several inches wide and 1/2 inch thick.

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Given that mold won't grow on stainless steel or in water, it must be growing on debris that's coating those surfaces. Install some super-duper filtration and establish a regular cleaning schedule for the equipment and the problem should go away. 

 

 

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Is it possible it's not mold? It could be growing on mineral accumulation on the stainless steel but that is not visible anywhere but on the fins. There is a regular cleaning schedule already in place and a water filtration system in place. Do you have any ideas on what type of mold it is and if mold that grows in the conditions described would be dangerous to health? Those were/are my questions.

Edited by VThorp
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Given enough time, you're likely going to get mold growth regardless of which method you use to moisturize the air (atomize the water) but some methods might do it better with less growth.  Regardless of which method you choose, occasional cleaning will still be needed.

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On 1/14/2020 at 8:43 PM, VThorp said:

Is it possible it's not mold? It could be growing on mineral accumulation on the stainless steel but that is not visible anywhere but on the fins. There is a regular cleaning schedule already in place and a water filtration system in place. Do you have any ideas on what type of mold it is and if mold that grows in the conditions described would be dangerous to health? Those were/are my questions.

There is no possible way to name the mold without testing it. The world is awash in mold testing companies. Just google mold testing in your area and you should find a few. 

As for the health effects, very few have been proven, aside from allergies. That said, no one wants that much nasty stuff in the air. It gross, even if it's not toxic. 

If you're getting that much accumulation of gunk with a regular cleaning schedule in place, then your cleaning schedule sucks. Up your game. 

Aside from cleaning the water, you need to clean the air that comes in contact with the water. Mold spread via airborne spores. Install air cleaners. 

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It's quite likely algae. It's common in cooling towers here throughout the summer.  The same algae grows in my pond.

I don't think that identifying the Latin name of the stuff is as important as proper cleaning, maintenance, shutdown procedure and water treatment. I have specific advice I can send you, if you'd like.

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