Mold spores are common in the air we breathe both indoors and outdoors. However, they become a health concern when they reach high concentrations. While not every type of mold is dangerous, many are associated with allergies and other health problems. According to a study in 2017, mold was responsible for 93% of chronic sinus infections.
So do air purifiers work for mold?
The answer will depend on the specifications of the unit. An air purifier can improve your indoor air quality by removing allergens and other pollutants, but not all of them can treat mold. This article will break down the essential features of air purification systems and help you select an air purifier for mold and mildew.
How to Purify Air From Mold
Mold and mildew are common in areas of a building with high humidity levels. If you have active mold or mildew growth, you need to clear it to avoid health issues, especially if you have asthma or allergies. You can follow these EPA tips or hire a professional.
To prevent further issues, schedule routine HVAC services and fix leaks in your roof as soon as possible. A roofing contractor can check your roof for signs of condensation and address insulation and ventilation issues to stop mold growth. While mold rarely causes damage to buildings, the underlying causes of mold can lead to structural damage, so it requires prompt treatment.
Keeping your space clean will also impact the air quality. If you don’t take the time to clean, dust and germs will accumulate, and they can be kicked up into the air. While you can clean the surfaces such as tables and shelves, the only way to make the air cleaner is with a purifier.
So how do air purifiers help with mold? An air purifier on its own can’t treat an existing mold problem. However, it can trap and deactivate mold spores, which will protect your respiratory health.
This is crucial during the mold clean-up process, which can create a high concentration of mold spores. The air purifier can also help prevent mold growth in your space in the future.
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Will an Air Purifier Help With Mold?
Using an air filter protects your health by removing air pollutants. When stale air is cleaned, you can enjoy numerous health benefits, including:
- Fewer allergy symptoms – Filters trap and remove contaminants that trigger allergies.
- Improved respiratory health – Even if you don’t have asthma or allergies, contaminants in the air can damage your lungs. Air purifiers can eliminate indoor air contaminants known to cause infections, lung cancer, and more.
- Slows the spread of disease – HEPA filtration, UV lamps, and Ionization can all deactivate or remove bacteria and viruses such as the flu or COVID-19.
- Deeper sleep – Without airborne irritants, your sinuses will stay clear and you can get better rest each night.
What Is the Best Air Purifier for Mold?
If you are shopping for an air purifier that kills mold, the first important question you must ask is: how do air purifiers work for mold? Many air purifiers use a combination of filters and purifier systems that affect mold spores differently.
A HEPA filter can trap up to 99.97% of particles above .3 microns, making them an ideal air filter for mold spores. This also means they can capture a number of viruses and bacteria from the air. However, while they can capture most air particulates, they are not effective for gases or odor molecules.
Without regular upkeep, a HEPA filter won’t make the air cleaner. If the filter is clogged, it can increase the cost of running your filter and damage the motors. Bacteria and mold trapped in filters can also contaminate the unit.
You’ll need to change HEPA filters every 6-12 months. Some HEPA filters are labeled as reusable, but most experts advise against cleaning them. The filter material is easily damaged and may not be effective after washing. Additionally, you risk exposing yourself to concentrated contaminants.
MERV rated filters
These standard air filters are designed to let air flow freely while capturing large particles. The higher the MERV rating, the better it will capture smaller particles. They are more cost-effective than HEPA filters but may miss some smaller particles, including mold spores. If you want a MERV filter for mold spores, you should select a rating of 12 or higher.
The higher-rated MERV filters will remove up to 95% of mold spores, but if mold is a concern you should choose a HEPA filter.
Air purifiers equipped with ionizers can help remove particles from the air your HEPA filter can miss. They work by releasing ions that clump contaminants together using static cling. The contaminants then fall from the air, and you can vacuum them up easily. The charged particles they release in the air can also help neutralize pathogenic microbes such as COVID-19 that spread through the air.
Ionizers are a low-maintenance approach to removing mold spores from the air, but they can collect on the ground. You will need to vacuum and clean regularly; otherwise, they will reenter the air from foot traffic. However, ionizers can help a HEPA filter capture more because ionized particles are larger.
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Ultraviolet (UV) Light
UV radiation can neutralize mold spores and other harmful microbes. UV lamps work by damaging the DNA of viruses, bacteria, and fungi. While it doesn’t kill them outright, it will prevent them from reproducing.
People with mold spore allergies may still have symptoms if they only use a UV lamp in their air purifiers. However, they can prevent contamination in your carbon and HEPA filters and ensure they are still effective between changes.
You should follow the scheduled lamp changes with UV filters, even if they are still shining. The lamps lose power over time and can’t deliver enough radiation to neutralize bacteria. Lights typically last for 6-12 months.
The activated charcoal in carbon filters can remove volatile organic compounds (VOC) and other gases from the air. Like HEPA filters, carbon filters trap pollutants. They are helpful for removing the musty odors associated with mold and mildew, but they won’t capture mold spores.
You will need to change carbon filters every 3-6 months. If you ignore the recommended change cycle, your carbon filter will no longer effectively capture harmful vapors and can slow the flow of air through your purifier.
What to Know Before You Buy
As you can see, there are many options when choosing an air filter for mold spores. We’ve answered the question “do air purifiers work for mold”; here’s what you should be aware of when buying a unit for your space:
- Noise level: The fans on some units can generate a lot of noise, which can be distracting. If you plan to run the unit in a small room, choose a unit that runs below 35 decibels. In larger spaces, noise pollution will be less of an issue.
- Air flow capacity: Manufacturers label air purifiers with an air flow capacity measured in cubic feet per meter (CFM). If it doesn’t have a high enough air flow capacity for the space, it won’t be able to clean the air effectively. You should select a model that has 100 CFM per 250 ft².
- Portability: Portable air purifiers can easily be moved from room to room, so it’s always there when you need it. Portable air purifiers offer a cost-effective way to keep the air you breathe clean. A sturdy handle or design with wheels can make moving them much simpler.
- Difficulty of Maintenance: Poorly designed units may require frequent cleaning, and they may require frequent servicing. If it’s too difficult to maintain, it’s not worth the investment.
- Added features: While each type of purifier can help with mold, the best purifiers will use a combination of features to clean the air. Purifiers that combine filtration with other methods such as ionization or UV can provide the best indoor air quality.
Comfort, Convenience and Cleaner Air With CleanAir Tower
Mold is only one of many air pollutants that can impact your health. An air purifier is an efficient way to enhance indoor air quality and offer you peace of mind. So why settle for anything less than the best?
AirFixture offers an all-in-one solution for cleaner, safer indoor air. Our CleanAir Tower offers multiple stages of purification; select from a combination of filtration, ionization and UV sterilization options to best suit the needs for your space.
The standard unit can accommodate up to MERV-13 filtration, or you can upgrade to a larger housing for HEPA filtration for maximum results. The sturdy, premium steel construction ensures a long life with limited maintenance. Select from 10 different colors and finishes to match the unit to the design of your space.
Ready to partner with AirFixture? Our underfloor air distribution systems and air purifiers deliver unbeatable air quality so you can protect yourself and the people you care about. Contact us today to speak to an expert and learn more about CleanAir Tower.