Mold, the disgusting microscopic fungi that invades your home and exposes you and your family to severe health risks. Although mold comprises the “blue” of bleu cheese, it is neither tasty nor inviting when it’s invading your home. Now more than ever, those that suffer from allergies and asthma, and even those who aren’t allergic to mold, are looking for a solution to their mold troubles. Which brings us to a very common question, do air purifiers help with mold?
Inside of the home, molds like Alternaria, Aspergillus Chaetomium, Cladosporium, Fusarium, Mucor, Penicillium and Stachybotrys grow frequently in places that are warm, damp, and dark. However, mold itself does not trigger allergic or asthmatic reactions. Instead, the microscopic mold spores (seeds) that float around in the air cause coughing, wheezing, stuffy and runny noses in those who are allergic. These awful mold spores make indoor and outdoor air quality unbearable for some. As tiny mold spores float in the air and evade the protective mechanisms of your respiratory system, you’ll find comfort in the fact that there are effective ways to reduce and eliminate mold in your home.
Most air purifiers combat the multiplying presence of mold in your home by using a very powerful weapon: a HEPA air filter. HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters excel at trapping microscopic particles from the air. True or absolute HEPA filters must meet strict standards of efficiency and must capture a minimum of 99.97% of pollutants down to 0.3 microns in size.
Mold spores can range between one and five microns in size and HEPA filters are certified and proven to remove all airborne mold spores. Be sure to look on the package to verify that your air purifier contains a HEPA filter or that it is suitable for use with a HEPA filter (some air purifiers do not come with a HEPA filter, but have an optional HEPA filter replacement). Each HEPA filter is marked accordingly and represents the strict guidelines for which HEPA certification requires.
HEPA filters eliminate mold spores by filtering the airborne spores from the air and trapping them within the HEPA filter. To effectively filter mold spores, place an air purifier in areas where mold is frequently found: basements, bathrooms, kitchens, and rooms with upholstered furniture. Replace your HEPA filter frequently, as advised on the packaging, to ensure that your air purifier will continue to provide air that is free and clear of mold spores.
The Austin Air HealthMate air purifier includes HEPA filters that are consistently ranked as #1 in the world. Also included in the Austin Air Healthmate air purifiers is a thick, activated carbon filter. The combination filter not only eliminates airborne contaminants like pollen, mold spores and pet dander, but it also removes odors, gases and smoke from the air. This innovative combination filter provides fresher, cleaner air for you and your family to breathe.
For the best filtration of mold spores, the IQAir HealthPro Plus air purifier provides better filtration of smaller particles than any other air purifier that is available today. IQAir’s HyperHEPA filter traps 99.95% of all particles, 0.003 microns or larger. That’s nearly 100x smaller than the particles that a traditional HEPA filter can capture.
Air Purifiers Eliminate Mold Spores, But…
While air purifiers eliminate mold spores, they do not tackle the underlying problems that may cause the growth of mold in your home. Though mold spores freely float about nearly everywhere you go, actively growing colonies of mold will not only dramatically increase the mold spore count found in the air, but they can also produce highly toxic byproducts called mycotoxins. You don’t have to have allergies or asthma to suffer from the severe side effects that come from the exposure to mycotoxins.
To ensure that your home remains mold-free, use hygrometers and humidity gauges to monitor and manage the humidity levels in your home. Mold loves humidity and thrives in areas that are damp and dark. After testing your home’s humidity levels, use a dehumidifier to lower the humidity level and to keep the humidity level in a range that is inhospitable to mold growth, 40-50%. Place HEPA air purifiers in problem areas to remove airborne particles, and clean up any mold that you may find.
Mold air purifiers offer the perfect solution to filter out the majority of mold spores that are found in indoor air, and while it’s a continual task, keeping the number of mold spores in your home low is key to controlling allergic reactions to them.
In summary, and to circle back to our question above, do air purifiers eliminate mold? Mold spores, yes. Active mold growth, no. And as a final caveat, mold needs a cellulose base to feed. This means that cheaper quality air purifiers could actually become a breeding ground for mold, particularly if the humidity levels are high enough for active growth. Why? Because inexpensive air purifier filters are often made of paper—cellulose. When choosing an air purifier for your home, make sure you do not skimp on quality. You want to select an air purifier with a sealed system and a certified HEPA filter that is made from warm rolled glass fibers (fiberglass) or a synthetic material. To see some of the best solutions for removing mold spores, visit our Top Five Allergy Air Purifiers page.
For more in-depth information about mold, cleaning/preventing mold, the health effects of mold, or air filtration, visit any one of these resources.
✔ All About Mold
✔ Mold FAQs
✔ Common Types of Household Mold
✔ HEPA Air Purifier Buying Guide
✔ Dehumidifier Buying Guide
✔ Winter Mold Allergies
✔ Mold Allergy & Food Sensitivity