Mold spores are everywhere in the air. They float around in your home, but in large quantities, you could react to them. People sensitive to these spores will often have itchy and teary eyes, itching, and sometimes sneezing. If you have these symptoms, then it is time to get an air purifier. Unfortunately, it is not possible to get rid of all mold spores from your home. However, an air purifier is excellent at killing some spores, thus improving air quality in your home.
What is mold?
Mold is a type of fungi that helps to break down organic substances. This is why it is common to find mold growing in your food, breaking it down. Mold also grows on surfaces such as walls and some types of fiber.
Mold spreads in the air through spores. These are units of fungi that allow it to reproduce. They are microscopic particles that float through the air until they find a conducive environment where they could grow.
Spores can only grow in wet and warm areas where they quickly reproduce, and that is when you can see them. They can be identified as a few black or brown spots, but they become a large patch after a while. This then allows it to produce more spores into the air, and if you live in this environment, you may have some respiratory issues.
How do air purifiers help with mold?
Air purifiers usually clean the air in your home and eliminate any impurities that may affect you, including spores. During this initial process, they clear most of the spores in the air through the HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filters that trap them.
HEPA filters are essential in an air purifier since they can trap the most microscopic units. Spores are more than 0.3 microns which the HEPA filter can trap adequately.
You may need to change the filters more frequently because the filters fill up with microscopic objects fast. If you don’t change the filters, then the air filter may not be as effective. In addition, it may begin releasing some of the trapped spores back into the air.
The filters have a maximum of 99.97% success score which means they do not clean up every single unit of spores in your house, but it will reduce the concentration. The result is clean air, and even though there could be a few units of spores, they should not affect you.
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What should you look for in an air purifier for mold?
Many air purifiers claim to deliver excellent results; however, only a few meet the standards needed. If you have a mold problem, the following are what you need to get the best results:
They are the most effective filters for trapping mold spores in your home with an efficiency rate of 99.97%. They work by reducing the concentration of spores in the air so you can use them even while cleaning. This ensures that the spores are trapped in the filter instead of spreading to other surfaces in your home. A few spores may be smaller than 0.3 microns, which may go through the filter, but they may not cause much harm to you.
Some HEPA filters contain a carbon layer which is activated charcoal. This helps in reducing smells around your home. For example, you will know that if you have mold, there is an unpleasant smell in your home. The activated charcoal helps by trapping the odors, which leaves your house smelling fresh.
This is a sterilization compound that is good to have in your air purifier. It kills bacteria, viruses, and mold spores in the air. However, it can only work if your home gets adequate UV rays, so it would be best to place it near a window.
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)
This rating may provide you with a better idea of how effective the air purifier is since it shows the fan’s power in the cleaner. A high CADR rating may not be the best since the fan could be extra loud. However, this is not always the case, so it is best to read reviews on how loud the purifier gets when turned on.
Air purifiers come in different sizes meant for various uses that you must understand. For example, if you have a large home and you would like your entire home cleaned, you should get a heavy-duty appliance. To know what you need, you should check the air changes per hour in the specifications.
The number of air changes in a room compared to the size should be high. For example, if you get a small air purifier that does six air changes in a 300 square foot home compared to three shifts in a 600 square foot room.
Check the manufacturer’s recommendations, but an excellent rule to follow is the bigger, the better. However, you could also purify your home per room. The downside to this is spores from one space could move to a room you just cleansed, making your task harder.
Some air purifiers can push your energy use through the roof, and this is not desirable. First, check how much energy you expect to use with a unit. Note that they are more energy-efficient when they run constantly. An excellent way to understand how much energy it may consume is by checking the fan speed. A high speed may point to higher energy consumption.
The initial budget is what many people look at, but the maintenance cost is another critical point. The cost of filters is the main thing to check since how often the purifier needs a filter change varies. You can get recommendations from the manufacturer or reviews. You should remember that you may need to change the filters more often than the rest of the time during the first cleaning.
How easy is it to use the air purifier? This is one question that you should ask yourself before committing to a unit. Check that it has an indicator to alert you when you should change the filter. A programmable timer is essential to ensure that you don’t need to set it every time you need to use it. It is also better if the unit has a remote control. If you use a digital assistant, check whether it is possible to integrate the app into the air purifier.
How can you get rid of mold?
While using an air purifier can get rid of mold spores in the air, you need to kill the problem at the source. Check for spots where the spores are originating and take care of that in the following ways.
Cleaning using bleach
It would be best if you killed the mold effectively by cleaning it off. Before you start, ensure that you wear a mask or respirator such as the N-95. If the mold is on clothes and other materials in your home, you should first get rid of those in a plastic bag. You can always wash the clothes with antibacterial washing powder and bleach if possible, then leave them out to dry completely. If you already have the air purifier, have it on during this process. You will need:
- Soft brush
Start by mixing one liter of water and half a cup of bleach and use a brush to scrub off the mold from the walls or furniture. When done, wet the surface with the mixture and allow it to penetrate it until it is dry entirely. Do not rinse off this area; allow it to dry completely and repeat if you notice any new mold growth.
Cleaning using detergent
The regular detergents help in lifting off the mold from the surface and killing any spores. For this, you will require:
- Antibacterial liquid
Mix a liter of water with half a cup of detergent and a quarter cup of antibacterial liquid of your choice. Use this mixture to brush off the mold and ensure that it is thoroughly washed off. Rinse off the particles with the mixture and leave it to air dry. You can use a fan to allow it to dry faster.
How to prevent mold
To ensure that mold doesn’t find another place to grow which overworks your air purifier, the following are some things you could do:
Keep your home dry
Mold cannot grow in dry areas, so ensure that you don’t have any constantly wet areas. If there are any leakages, fix them as soon as possible. Wash your clothes and allow them to dry completely before storing them away. Open your windows when possible to keep the good circulation of air. Avoid having your furniture close to walls.
Monitor the humidity
Your home should be very humid as that provides a conducive environment for spores to grow. You can get a humidity monitor and ensure that it stays between 30% and 50%.
Once the moldy areas have completely dried, it’s essential to seal them off not to allow any new regrowth. For example, if the surface was wooden, you can use an oil-based primer. In addition, you can use latex paint or any paint with mildewcide on walls, which will prevent any growth of mold.
How much mold can an air purifier handle?
An air purifier cannot kill mold spores; it works by trapping them in the filters. The HEPA filters can trap between 99% to 99.97% of spores in the air. When the filters are full, you will get a signal to change them; otherwise, their efficiency decreases.
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What kills mold spores in the air?
While air purifiers help with removing mold from the air, they do not kill them. However, the following are some ways you could kill mold in the air:
This is a disinfectant solution that is effective in killing mold in the air since it contains bleach. Bleach is a known way of killing mold spores. Just spray it around your home when you suspect there are spores, and it will kill them on contact. You can also use it where there is mold growing by soaking the area with the solution, then brushing it off and letting it dry.
Vinegar is known to kill up to 82% of mold in the air and on surfaces. For this, you need undiluted vinegar. You can pour white vinegar into a spray bottle and spray it in the air or surfaces attacked by mold. It kills the spores immediately.
It is one of the best cleaning agents that you can use for killing mold. Ensure that the hydrogen peroxide is at least 3%. Pour it into a spray bottle and spray it in the air. If you suspect a large concentration of the spores, you can spray after every hour to get rid of all the spores. If you use it with an air purifier, you can get rid of the spores 100%.
Mixing baking soda with water creates a great cleaning agent that can get rid of most household problems. Shake together in a spray bottle and spray in the air to kill spores. You can mix with vinegar for higher effectiveness and quickly spread the mixture in the air to get rid of spores immediately.
Tea tree oil
It is a natural solution to mold that you can use alone or mixed with some water. The tea tree oil gets rid of spores in the air upon contact, but you can also use it on surfaces. Use one teaspoon of oil in two cups of water, shaken in a spray bottle. If you have a diffuser, you can also add the oil into it and allow it to run for a few minutes.
Do air purifiers help mildew smell?
On their own, the air purifier may not get rid of the mildew smell completely. However, if the HEPA filter is carbonated, it could get rid of any smells around your home. You can also clean the areas affected by mildew while running your air filter, and this should remove the smell.
What’s better for mold: Air purifier or dehumidifier?
Both of these appliances work in different ways, but the dehumidifier is better for mold. An air purifier only traps the spores in the air and doesn’t do much for the mold growing around the house. This means that you will continuously have a mold problem unless you manually clean the affected area in your home.
A dehumidifier reduces the humidity in your home so that the mold cannot grow there. It makes the conditions unconducive for the mold; hence, they would die if there were any mold growing. It is a long-term solution to the mold problem; thus would be the better purchase.
If you are sensitive to mold spores in your home, then an air purifier would be an excellent investment to have since it rids the air of any spores. It would be best to combine it with cleaning to ensure that you kill the problem at the source. The points in this article equip you with all the needed tips to get the best air purifier and use it to get the desired results.