Mold is a widespread issue these days, with the high usage of mold-friendly materials in construction and humid climates, it is one of the most common culprits that affect indoor air quality adversely.
Due to the COVID-19 spread, people are concerned about the potential danger bad air quality could bring. Air purifiers are proven to help with flu-like symptoms and other allergic reactions by decreasing the airborne particles. But do air purifiers help with mold?
Yes, air purifiers can significantly reduce mold spores in the air, helping curb rising asthma symptoms and other upper respiratory symptoms. Mold spores are between 1 and 3 microns in size, and the HEPA filters found in air purifiers can filter particles down to a size of 0.3 microns with an accuracy of 99.97%. HEPA air purifiers not only trap airborne mold spores but also have special filters and UV lights that can destroy the mold as stated by the EPA.
According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), exposure to mold can lead to shortness of breath and even fever in some cases. Air purifiers are highly effective at alleviating the symptoms thanks to their effectiveness against indoor allergens. Contrary to popular belief, air purifiers can actually slow down the spread of mold too.
Are all Mold Types Dangerous?
No, CDC reports suggest that people can experience a lot of different effects or none at all due to mold. People can experience symptoms like a stuffy nose, wheezy breath, and itchy eyes when they come in contact with mold spores.
Mold can be categorized into:
- Allergenic – can trigger allergies and allergic reactions e.g. asthma
- Pathogenic – can cause health problems in patients already suffering from an acute illness
- Toxigenic – can produce toxic substances that can seriously hamper health
Although there are multiple types, not everyone develops an allergy, and molds cannot be tested through blood tests.
Can Air Purifiers Eliminate Mold Altogether?
No, air purifiers collect mold spores and other irritating allergens on the filter surface. This reduces the number of microscopic spores in the air and will slow down the spread and reproduction. But because the primary source of mold is not dealt with, it is not a permanent solution. If you have a visible mold growth problem, air purifiers will provide you with clean, breathable air, but can’t help with mold infestation.
The effectiveness of air purifiers is not limited to reducing mold spores, carbon/charcoal filters in the air cleaners can remove mold odors, household odors, and other organic compounds. But that is the best help that an air purifier can provide against mold. To effectively remove mold and its severe health effects, there are a few changes that need to be done.
Dealing with Mold – Do HEPA Filters Help with Mold?
Air purifiers are the first line of defense as you mount an attack against mold. While the appropriate approach depends on the type of mold at hand, for the air purifier there is no difference between mold types as all types have a size between 4 and 12 microns, according to studies.
The 4 to 12-micron size range is well within the filtration efficiency of HEPA filters. For effective cleaning, the placement of an air purifier is very important. A targeted approach is best to combat it. It is best to place HEPA air purifiers in basements, bathrooms, kitchens, rooms with carpets, and upholstered furniture as these are the favorite spots for mold growth.
HEPA air purifier also takes care of pet dander, dust mites, airborne germs and can help ease asthmatic reactions. A carbon prefilter can also help tackle odors.
Since mold spores can spread very quickly, replacing your HEPA filter frequently is recommended. Hygrometers can help monitor humidity levels in your home. If the humidity levels are beyond the threshold, using a dehumidifier can help as mold growth requires a damp and dark environment.
According to CDC, if there is mold on hard surfaces, soap water, or a bleach solution of no more than 1 cup of household bleach in 1 gallon of water can be used to remove the mold from the originating surface. This, coupled with a good purifier that removes airborne spores, will reduce the chances of a relapse.
If the surface is beyond redemption and is claimed by mold, discarding the material is the best option.
In Summary – Does An Air Purifier Help with Mold?
Yes, an air purifier that can filter microscopic particles less than 1 micron in size is effective in removing mold. Air purifiers can help with mold allergies and can prove to be an effective weapon against mold remediation. Medical-grade True HEPA filter, coupled with a UV light sanitizing technique, can help destroy the DNA of mold, further reducing the chance of a relapse.
While air purifiers help against mold, not maintaining them makes them a breeding ground for it. Filters gather mold spores that can start growing due to the dampness in the air. Be sure to use a purifier that incorporates a UV light bulb or a more than three-stage filtration system to make sure your air stays safe to breathe in.
Also Read: Do Air Purifiers Reduce Dust? (Explained)