Not all homeowners realize the dangers of mold growth in their homes.
Mold is a family of fungi that can grow and spread over practically any household surface. This fungus relies on high moisture to grow. A large source of mold can indicate leaking pipes, poor ventilation, and high humidity in the home.
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Mold growing in these areas can break down organic materials for food, causing wood and fabric materials to decay. It is an aspect of nature and plays an important part in the decay of leaves and trees. So mold is good – outdoors. If conditions remain favorable for its growth, mold could eventually cause structural damage to your home.
There are 3 groups of mold:
- Allergenic – not dangerous for people without allergies or respiratory problems.
- Pathogenic – more dangerous type that can cause infections. Can cause serious lung diseases if your immune system is compromised.
- Toxic – the most dangerous group that includes black mold. It can affect everyone. This type of mold suppress the immune system and may cause cancer. It damages health after inhaled or ingested and even after touching.
Mold and Health Considerations
Mold is a real issue that can cause health problems.
It releases spores into the air which can be harmful to human health and lungs. Long term exposure to high concentrations of mold spores can cause allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Even without allergies, airborne mold particles can cause irritation in your eyes, skin, nose, throat and lungs.
The presence of mold and dampness in the home can lead to a deterioration in lung function.
Mold has been linked to:
- Worsening of asthma;
- Shortness of breath;
- Nasal congestion;
- Sore throat;
The severity of them depends on many factors, such as age, overall health condition, your sensitivities or allergies. Infants, children, and the elderly can be more greatly affected by mold inhalation than healthy adults.
How Does Mold Grow?
There are two components for mold flourishing:
- high humidity (above 60%);
- food source (wood, fabric, fibers).
Mold sends out spores into the air to find a place on which to grow. If the little spores find food and moisture there, then they will rapidly take hold and spread. It only takes a little moisture and a few hours for mold spores to begin to form.
How and where moisture builds:
- Leaks that allow rainwater indoors
- Rooms with a lot of indoor plants
- Poorly connected plumbing and leaky pipes
- Cellars and basements, where there is damp air because of limited ventilation
- Continually damp carpet
- Bathroom (under the sink and around the bathtub)
- Outdoor humidity
- Condensation or moisture build-up in humidifiers, dehumidifiers, air conditioners and drip pans under refrigerator cooling coils
You can also find mold on wood, plastic, leather, rocks, tiles, and more.
Do Air Purifiers Remove Mold?
YES. Using an air purifier for mold with a true HEPA filter guarantees successful removing mold spores from the air.
An air purifier circulates all the air from a room several times in an hour, drawing the air – and all the particles floating in it – through the filter. Mold spores and other pollutants will become trapped in the fibers. If the spores are floating in the air, the air purifier can filter them out before they settle onto surfaces.
Air purifiers give you constant results as they clean all the air in a room for several minutes after switching on. They remove mold particles in the air, helping to prevent growing new mold colonies.
Besides eliminating mold particles, air purifiers eliminate dust, pet dander, pollen, dust mite feces, smoke, VOCs, bacteria and even viruses.
Get Rid of Mold in Your Home
You can’t clean your home entirely of mold, you can substantially reduce it. The best way to keep indoor mold under control is to control moisture sources. It is important to find out the main cause of mold, which is damp conditions and remove it.
- Get rid of humidifiers and deal with cracks, leaks or rising damp
- Open a window while cooking
- Dry clothes outside
- Get rid of carpet in the bathroom
- An air purifier is a great assistant. It filters mold spores and other allergens out of the air. They also help to prevent mold growing in the future.
Types Of Air Purifiers
The main types of air purifiers are:
- HEPA – captures 99.97% of 0.3 micron particles and an even higher percentage of larger particles. The spores are usually about 1 to 100 microns in size. So this is the best type of air purifier for mold problems. HEPA filter life ranges from 6 months to 5 years. If mold particles are trapped in the HEPA filter they can’t grow into colonies because the level of humidity is low there. The dry, sterile environment stifles them and they are unable to survive. Using a filter treated with an antimicrobial can provide an added level of protection against mold growth on the filter.
- Activated Carbon – often included as a pre-filter in HEPA air purifiers. Removes odors, chemicals, and VOCs, as it absorbs molecules of gas.
- Ionizers – emits negative ions into the air. They then join to pollutants in the air and makes them fall to the floor or stick to walls. But ionizers are not as effective with mold spores as HEPA purifiers are. It removes mold spores from the air, but they are still on the floors or walls.
- UV (ultraviolet light) – kill mold when the ultraviolet light is shined on it for long enough. But the UV ray must be very close to the mold spore. Spores that fly far away from the light stay alive.
- Ozone Generators – produces ozone which floats through the house and kills mold colonies and spores.
An ideal air purifier for mold should have an activated carbon filter, a HEPA filter, an ionizer and a UV lamp.
The air purifier you should buy depends on the size of the room where you plan to use it. Pay attention to CARD. It is found by multiplying the air flow in cubic feet per minute by the percentage of particles removed. Most air purifiers use very little power, often less than 10 watts on low, so you can use them without worries about the electricity bill.
Air filters are portable and can be operated wherever needed. They are also very quiet and often virtually silent on low speed. Air purifiers can be one of your best defenses against mold, providing ongoing protection for your home and your health.