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Old 01-10-2006, 07:41 PM   #1
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The Villages , Florida
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Question AC Problems

I have a 94 Excella with a Duotherm Penguin AC. I took the inside cover off to clean it and noticed some black stuff on the inside that looks and feels like soot. The insulation or padding in the center is covered with it and so are the vents at each end. Traces of it all over the inside of the air box. As I looked further, I noticed that the squirrel cage fan is covered with this stuff also. I have to do more investigating.

Now the real questions are:
Did something burn or melt in there to cause this?

Is the black mess all over the ozite fabric caused by this soot and not by mold as I once thought? I just bought this trailer in October and am refurbishing it.

Anyone have any thoughts on this matter?

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Old 01-10-2006, 07:46 PM   #2
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Were the former owners smokers? Is there a burnt smell? Please post some photos of what you are finding.

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Old 01-10-2006, 08:12 PM   #3
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Quick reply

Don't know about the smoking. But we're talking soot like in a chimney. Not just some yellowing from cigarettes. And I'll load some pics as soon as I figure out how to do it.
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:15 PM   #4
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I have had a black mold or mildew form on a window AC unit that looked like soot but was actually a coating of microscopic spores.
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Old 01-10-2006, 08:27 PM   #5
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That's athought. It could be mold. I'm not cleaning this cover until I find out what it is.
I posted some pics, but I can't find them I saw them and then they were gone.
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:10 AM   #6
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Another possibility

I have this in more than a few A/Ss that we have had in for service. What typically causes this is a combination of the particles normally found in the air that deposit due to being combined with aerosols from cooking and bathing as the air passes thru the AC unit. Your situation might involve mold, but is more likely just typical airborne dust and dirt that have accumulated. Even though you might not think about such being black, we all tend to forget that cars and trucks emit tons of particles that are in fact soot but just too small for us to notice. Concentrate those over a period of time and bingo, you have a black layer. The only way to know for sure if mold is involved is to have the stuff tested. There are test kits available in home improvement stores, but their validity is always questionable due to variables in how the sample is collected, etc. Only a professional mold remediation firm can give you a rock solid answer.

David Tidmore
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Old 01-11-2006, 07:43 PM   #7
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Thanks David, for your reply. I am questioning the mold thing because it is almost impossible toremove this stuff. I think it is "oily" and doesn't respond to most cleaners. Bleach doesn't touch this stuff. I'll have to try something that works on petroleum based products next.
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Old 01-11-2006, 08:11 PM   #8
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Seal Deterioration?

While 12 years is a little early, black particles may well be dried bits from failing gasket seal between A/C and roof of trailer... They are black foam, and (depending on climate..) eventually dry out and crumble, resulting in black particles flying around and... (sigh..) water leaks! You could test by trying to reach up and poke the gasket from inside, or from outside below A/C, but another method is to aim hose stream of water from all sides at base of A/C, and seeing if water comes down into trailer.. If so, you have a bingo, and part costs less than $20, and shop labor to unbolt A/C, lift and replace gasket is ~ $200. You could do it yourself with a helper, as most RV places sell the gasket, as about a 1" thick sqaure of black foam, 14" by 14"...

John McG


In Theory, there's no difference between Theory and Practice, but in Practice, there is usually a difference...
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