Not all homeowners realize the dangers of mold growth in their homes.
While we see dust and smell the odors, mold and mildew are often an invisible and odorless enemy trying to conquer our households. Mold tends to grow in hidden spaces, where we don’t even think to look. Meanwhile, mold spores are affecting our breathing and overall health.
Many people don’t realize that the root cause of the respiratory problems they are having is not the allergens in the air, but initially caused by the mold growing in their home. If you have asthma or other respiratory issues, they may be substantially worsened by the appearance of mold spores in the air.
Wiping the surfaces clean and watching for the mold formation is compulsory. However, it might not eliminate the problem completely since the mold spores won’t go anywhere. They’ll just settle on another surface and continue flying through the air. If you want to battle the mold problem that contaminates your home, you need to get a suitable air purifier that provides active mold control.
A little occasional wheezing or coughing might seem like a nuisance to many of us. What we don’t realize is that there might be a much bigger problems standing behind the symptoms than the simple flu. The slight discomfort can easily turn into an illness. In some cases, mold formation leads to death.
The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that all types of molds may be dangerous for your health. If you’ve heard that only black mold is a health hazard, you got the wrong information.
The symptoms that people suffer from when exposed to the mold may vary. The severity of them can be differ too. They depend on many factors, such as age, overall health condition, your sensitivities or allergies.
People who suffer from mold exposure often experience the following symptoms:
- Muscle and/or joint pain
- Vision problems
- Immune system problems
- Problems with GI
- Shortness of breath
Each one of these symptoms may be caused by other conditions. However, if you suspect you might have mold in your home, you need to act as soon as possible. The above symptoms don’t all appear at once. They might come and go. You need to carefully watch your health and try to keep the air in your home as clean as possible.
Remember, household mold is not what comes to mind when you first experience the above symptoms. Your physician might not be proficient in mold-related issues. That’s why when you start experiencing these problems, you might be on your own.
An air purifier can help you keep the air clean and free from mold spores. While buying an air purifier won’t save you from doing some serious cleaning, it will help you get rid of the symptoms and start enjoying fresh air in your home.
Where to look for Mold?
The main problem that we face with mold is the way it reproduces. Fungi send the spores into the air so they find other places to settle. While the spores are airborne, they are invisible. That’s exactly when they cause most of the respiratory problems. Sometimes there are many thousands of mold spores present in one small room. The spores are usually about 1 to 100 microns in size. In order to get rid of such particles completely, you’d need to run the air through a high-quality filter that deals with such small contaminants. Most of the air purifiers available on the market today are equipped with HEPA filters that deal with 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size. This means they won’t have trouble filtering out the mold spores.
Mold spores typically like damp and humid environments, which is why we usually see many types growing in our bathrooms. Especially around the bath or shower which are exceedingly wet environments that growth can be rampant if left unchecked. Same goes for the toilet.
Spores are very hard to kill. They can survive extremely harsh conditions, including dryness. Mold spores can stay alive for years waiting for the favorable environment to start growing in. Mold doesn’t need any specific surfaces to start growing. It can live almost anywhere as long as there’s oxygen and moisture.
You can find mold on wood, plastic, leather, rocks, tiles, and more. Mold feeds on whatever surface is beneath it. This is especially unfortunate when that surface is your floor or furniture.
Mold and Mildew start to really kick up into high gear when there is ample moisture around. While the air purifier can help you eliminate the spores in the air, it won’t get rid of the mold growth. In order to stop the vicious cycle of reproduction, you need to find the mold and then kill the fungi and control the moisture levels.
Look for mold in the following places:
- Bathroom (under the sink and around the bathtub)
- Kitchen (around the sink and under it)
- Behind appliances that produce moisture (refrigerators, dishwashers, laundry machines)
- Attic (roof leaks)
- Around the windows
What Type of Mold Do You Have In Your Home?
There are over 400,000 mold types in the world. Thankfully, only about a 1,000 can live in the households. These types are divided into three groups.
Allergenic. These mold types are not dangerous unless you have allergies or respiratory problems, such as asthma. Younger children are especially susceptible to such molds.
Pathogenic. These are more dangerous types that can cause infections. They don’t affect 100% healthy people, but if your immune system is compromised, this mold might cause serious lung diseases.
Toxic. This is the most dangerous group that includes the infamous black mold. Such molds can affect everyone. They suppress the immune system and may cause cancer. This mold generates mycotoxins that damage your health once inhaled or ingested. You can get adverse effects even after touching such mold.
In our homes, we mostly face five varieties of mold. They are:
- Alernaria – settles in your nose, mouth, and upper respiratory tract and can cause allergic reactions
- Aspergillus – Commonly found in extremely humid climates. It settles on the house dust and can produce mycotoxins, which cause various lung infections.
- Cladosporium – This mold settles on textiles, wood, and other porous surfaces. It can cause hay fever and asthma.
- Penicillium – This mold grows on wallpaper, carpets, and fiberglass insulation. It can cause asthma and allergies. May produce mycotoxins.
- Stachybotrys – Toxic mold aka black mold that generates mycotoxins and causes serious problems, such as lung bleeding. It’s much less common in the households than the other four types. It can settle on wood or paper, but not on tiles or concrete.
How Can You Get Rid of Mold?
Whatever method you use to get rid of mold, be it physical cleaning or ultraviolet light mold removal, the main problem is the spores. When you pick up a moldy carpet, the spores fly up into the air and go searching for new surfaces to settle on. The only way to make your fight with the mold effective is to use air purifiers to battle the spores. It’s especially important to have an air purifier working when you are physically removing the pieces of mold. Otherwise, your work may be absolutely futile.
I’ve been battling mold in my home for many years due to the high humidity. Until I purchased an air purifier, I was losing the fight. Many people don’t realize that mold is not just what they see on their walls or floors. The main enemy is in the air and it’s absolutely invisible.
While looking for an efficient way to fight mold, I’ve heard about UV light. It seems like an easy way to blast mold spores out of existence. But does black light kill mold completely? Unfortunately not. In order for the black light to work, the UV ray must be very close to the mold spore. Spores that fly far away from the light stay alive. Sometimes black light might kill up to 90 % of the mold spores in the air. 90 % seems a lot, doesn’t it? When it comes to the spores, anything less than 100 % is too little. If you allow even a few spores to live, you’ll have mold forming at the speed of light.
When you are physically removing the mold from the surface, don’t forget to spray a disinfectant before touching it. This will reduce the number of spores that fly up into the air once the mold is disturbed. But in order to make sure that all the spores are gone, you need to purchase an air purifier with an HEPA-type filter.
Please note that if you have a big mold problem, you might not be able to deal with it on your own. You have to hire professional help to get rid of all the mold in your home. While the professionals are doing their job, make sure you have the air purifier working and eliminating all the spores from the air.
How to Choose the Best Air Purifier for Mold?
As I mentioned earlier, the mold spores are about 1- 100 microns in size. This means you have to buy an air purifier that can battle such small particles. The top rated air purifiers for getting rid of mold are those that feature HEPA filters. These filters take care of 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size. This means they can easily deal with the mold spores. In order to keep the air clean, you have to make sure to change the filters on a regular basis.
Mold spores that fly through the air are invisible to the eye. However, the musty smell sometimes produced by the mold can be obvious and unpleasant. In order to combat such odors, you need to look for an air purifier with an activated carbon filter. These filters absorb the odors and make the air fresher and easier to breathe.
Another important air purifier feature that can fight the mold spores is a negative ionizer. An ionizer releases negative ions that stick to the mold particles and allow them to be easily caught by the rest of the filters. Some people are not big fans of ionizers since they believe they produce ozone. This is not true anymore. Modern ionizers are not harmful to humans while they can effectively fight the mold.
An ultraviolet lamp option in an air purifier is rare, but it can be a nice addition to the rest of the mold killing artillery. While it won’t get rid of the mold on its own, it can give a nice hand to the filers and the ionizer.
An ideal air purifier for mold should have an activated carbon filter, a HEPA filter, an ionizer and a UV lamp. Generally, a carbon filter and a HEPA filter are enough while the ionizer and a UV lamp are just nice additions that can help you in your fight against the mold.
The below three air purifiers have the necessary features to help you deal with your mold problems. I checked each one closely to make sure it is a good option for any household or office.
The best 3 air cleaners for mold in 2017 & 2018 (updated)
1. IQAir HealthPro Plus
When I first saw this air purifier, I immediately noted it’s extensive filtration system. The hyperHEPA filter is exactly what you need to fight the mold spores. It filters out all the particles that are larger than 0.003 microns so the mold spores have no chance. At the same time, this air purifier has a powerful V-5 cell gas and odor filter that deals with the harmful gases and chemicals while eliminating the odors. This is a perfect choice for musty smells that come from mold formation.
This is a heavy-duty air purifier that can service rooms up to 800 square feet. Such coverage area allows you to battle the mold in your basement or on the whole floor of your house. The unit is rather large, but it comes with caster wheels so it’s easy to move around. Another nice addition to this powerful air purifier is a remote control. You don’t have to worry about running up to the unit to change the settings when needed.
The purifier comes with a 10-year warranty, which is a clear indication of its quality. While the price tag is a little hefty, this air purifier is definitely worth the money you are paying for it.
- HyperHEPA filter
- Coverage area up to 800 sq. ft.
- Powerful odor filter
- 10-year warranty
- Hefty price tag
- Big size
2. Winix 5300-2 Air Purifier
I like this air purifier for its 4-stage filtration system that includes a pre-filter, an activated carbon filter, a HEPA filter, and an ionizer. While it can only cover the area of under 360 square feet, it’s a great mold fighter for average sized rooms.
TrueHEPA filter can easily deal with the mold spores since it captures 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in diameter. Meanwhile, the activated carbon filter can fight the odors produced by the mold growth.
The PlasmaWave technology captures and eliminates the mold spores by producing negative ions and creating special plasma clusters.
One of the main advantages of this air purifier that attracted me is the quiet operation. Even when at the highest setting, the fan doesn’t produce a noise louder than a quiet conversation. This is a wonderful air purifier for bedrooms and living rooms. It’s equipped with various sensors that help you adjust the settings for your needs.
It also comes with a filter indicator that tells you when the trueHEPA filter needs to be replaced. This is an important feature for homeowners who are battling mold since changing the filters on time is compulsory.
- 4-stage filtration system including ionizer
- Quiet fan
- Filter replacement indicator
- Covers up to 360 sq. ft.
- Isn’t suitable for large areas
- Activated carbon filter needs to be replaced every 3 months
3. Coway AP-1512HH Air Purifier
I chose this air purifier for its good filtration system, a variety of sensors, and a compact design. It can service the area up to 360 square feet, which makes it a good choice for most of the average-sized rooms in the house. It can battle the mold spores using the trueHEPA filter and fight the odors with the activated carbon filter. The unit also comes with an optional ionizer, which offers an additional hand in the mold fighting process.
I also liked the compact design of this air purifier. Various objects in your home can hide it since it’s not too high. You can easily carry it around the house whenever you need some mold fighting assistance in other rooms.
One of my favorite features of this ionizer is the eco mode. Once the air quality sensor determines that the air has been staying fresh for over 30 minutes, it automatically turns the air purifier off. This is a great energy saving option. The air purifier is also equipped with a timer, which allows you to set the time when you want the air purifier to stop working. This is a useful feature for busy homeowners.
- 4-stage filtration system, including ionizer
- Air quality sensor
- Sleek design
- Loud operation when on 3rd fan speed setting
- Absence of sleep mode
While the IQAir HealthPro Plus doesn’t have an ionizer as the other two air purifiers do, it’s my favorite choice for mold fighting due to its heavy-duty filtration system. The hyperHEPA filter takes care of all the mold spores in the air, while the V-5 filter deals with the odors. Even though this air purifier is more expensive than the other options, it can service more than twice the area while offering a powerful protection.