Mold is everywhere. Some are good. But, others are harmful to health. As long as there’s moisture, there’s a likelihood of mold eventually growing there. If you want to keep your home free of this organism, the best air purifier for mold helps.
In this article, we explain everything there is to know about mold in your home. This includes the common types you’ll see, where to find them and why they grow there.
We also detail how air cleaners help prevent you from experiencing short and long-term symptoms related to mold. Finally, we explain what features to look for in a mold air cleaner.
Our Picks: Quick Overview of Mold Air Purifiers We Like
- GermGuardian AC4825 – Our Top Choice
- AeraMax 300 Air Purifier – Runner Up
- Honeywell True HEPA Allergen Remover, HPA300
- GermGuardian AC5250PT
- Winix WAC9500 Ultimate Pet
What is Mold?
Mold is a type of fungus. They are microscopic in size and are found everywhere. In fact, they are related to mildew, mushrooms and yeast.
Its role in the ecosystem is to break down organic matter. As decomposers, they enable decay, rotting and biodegradation. Mold is needed in the decomposition of dead plants, leaves and wood among other things. This makes them essential in the growth and creation of new organisms and materials.
Besides mushrooms and yeast, you’ve probably come across mold in one form or another. Among them are blue cheese and penicillin.
Unfortunately, mold is also destructive and harmful to health.
Certain molds feed on wood, drywall and other materials causing home structural damage. Their corrosive effects can also damage your rugs, carpets and furniture.
Additionally, they’re a very common allergen in the home as well. Breathing in mold can cause harmful effects to your health.
What Does Mold Need to Grow?
Mold need four things to grow. These are:
- Warm temperature
- Food source
Mold is dependent on moisture for growth. Without moisture, there will be no mold problem to deal with. This is why you’ll often find colonies growing in wet and damp areas.
For most homes, moisture comes about from humidity and condensation. Water leaks, flooding, food and liquid spills are often the main causes.
2. Warm Temperature
Next to moisture, mold need warm temperature to spread. This typically means 40°F to 100°F. It is why summertime provides the ideal conditions. During this time, it is hot and humid.
Also, humid climates and rainy weather can cause evaporation in the home. This results in increased risk of mold growth. Meanwhile, poor ventilation, which keeps humidity trapped indoors for long periods of time is another way these microorganisms grow.
The problem with mold is, even when the temperature isn’t right, they can lay dormant until the right conditions arise. Only then will they start growing.
3. Food Source and Oxygen
Finally, mold needs dead organic material to feed on. They use their enzymes to break down home materials much like they do dead plants. This allows them to get their nutrition.
As such, you’ll find mold colonies growing on wood and paper products like gypsum and drywall. Additionally, they can also grow on synthetic material including carpets, paint and insulation.
What are Mold Spores?
What’s the difference between mold and mold spores?
Basically, mold create spores to spread. It is their means of reproduction much like plants use pollen and seeds. Once released, these spores go airborne. Their goal is to form new colonies.
Landing on a suitable environment allows the spores to start growing their own colony. This often means a damp space that has the proper food sources, oxygen and the right temperature. All it takes is 24 to 48 hours for mold to grow.
For the most part, mold spores float in the air. They’re present both indoors and outside. And it is these spores that you breathe in that cause your allergies.
Adverse Effects and Symptoms of Mold Exposure and Allergies
The issue with mold in the home is you need to deal with both the mold colony and the spores. Even after you remove the mold, you’ll still need to deal with spores left in the air.
Mold spores are smaller than dust and other particles. This makes them small enough to get through the cilia and mucus of our respiratory system. As such, they are able to infiltrate your lungs and stick to its tissues. Thus, breathing in these spores can be harmful to you and your family’s health.
When this happens, anyone with mold allergies can experience a variety of symptoms. Among them include:
- Shortness of breath
- Nasal congestion
- Breathing difficulty
- Watery eyes and redness
- Throat irritation
- Skin irritation
In addition, you may also experience things like:
- Memory loss
More importantly, children, the elderly, individuals with lung disease and those with weakened immune systems are more susceptible. For them, mold spores can cause infections to their lungs, sinuses and skin.
It’s worth noting that even if you aren’t allergic to mold, exposure for long periods of time is still unhealthy. Mold release mycotoxins which are harmful to humans and animals. With prolonged exposure to sufficient concentration, these toxic substances can cause chronic lung inflammation as well as respiratory disease and infections.
Common Places in the Home Where Mold Grows
As mentioned above, mold need a damp, humid environment to grow. This makes bathrooms, showers, basements and garages ideal conditions. In addition, certain areas of your kitchen may also harbor them.
Spaces near and around heating and cooling appliances are another common space where you’ll find mold colonies. The same is true for carpets, ventilation ducts and tight spaces.
Roofs with leaks, pipes and windows are some common areas outside your home they grow in. If you experience flooding, be sure to check storage rooms and sheds thoroughly as well.
Mold can also come into your home from outside. Their spores can float in through doors, windows and vents. Additionally, these spores can come in with you by sticking to your clothes, bags, and even pets.
Do Air Purifiers Get Rid or Kill Of Mold?
Before getting into the specifics of air purifiers for mold, let’s tackle the bigger question. Do air purifiers eliminate mold?
The short answer is no.
That’s because mold isn’t in the air. It is hidden somewhere in a dark, damp place in your home. To get rid of it, you’ll need to find it first. Then, have it taken care of.
That said, air purifiers aren’t totally useless when it comes to mold.
The reason is that it isn’t the mold but the mold spores that are causing your allergic reactions and breathing difficulties. While you still do need to get rid of the source of these spores, clearing the air you breathe of the spores gives you immediate relief.
The other issue with mold is that is it present everywhere, even outdoors. This means they can come into your home with your or whenever you open the door.
How Do Air Purifiers Help with Mold?
Mold spores float in the air. These spores range in size from 1 micron to 30 microns in size. For this reason, HEPA air purifiers are the most effective solution.
- HEPA filters. These filters are made from tightly wound mesh. This allows only the smallest of particles to get through. In fact, HEPA filters are able to capture 99.97% of all particles that are 0.3 microns or larger in size. This makes them ideal for filtering mold spores from the air. Once the mold spores are trapped inside the air cleaner, the dry, clean environment prevents it from surviving or growing. Additionally, HEPA filters are proven to trap other allergens as well. These include pet dander, dust mites and pollen.
- Carbon Pre-filter. In addition to the HEPA filter, choosing an air cleaner that has a carbon pre-filter helps. The pre-filter is designed to catch larger particles. This takes the bigger pollutants out so the HEPA filter only has to deal with the smaller organisms. Doing so prolongs the life of your HEPA filter. Additionally, the activated carbon in the pre-filter helps to eliminate odors. Mold has a musty smell that can linger in your home for a long time. Having the additional carbon pre-filter takes care of this.
Together, these two features will help clear your home’s air of mold spores as well as other airborne pollutants and allergens.
Best Air Purifier for Mold Reviews
As a bonus, it is very affordable. This lets you enjoy excellent air cleaning ability without breaking the bank.
The unit takes up little space. Its 5.5 inch by 9 inch footprint makes it a space saver. It works better on the floor as it is 21.5 inches tall.
We like the unit for getting rid of contaminants in the air. This includes allergens and mold spores. This is thanks to its 3 stage filtration system.
- The unit’s HEPA filter is what catches the smallest of particles in the air. It also thoroughly cleans the air in the room. This makes it effective for ridding the area of allergens as well as mold spores.
- Another feature that’s useful is the UV-C light. Its main purpose is to kill bacteria and microorganisms. This ensures that you get cleaner air at home.
- In front of these two filtration layers is the pre-filter and charcoal filter. The former catches the bigger particles in the air so the HEPA filter works less. The latter neutralizes odors in the room.
In addition, it also comes with a filter change indication which lets you know when it’s time to replace the filter.
It works well in eliminate airborne contaminants and germs. These include odors, dander and mold.
This unit uses 2 filtration layers to get clean your home’s air.
- The first layer is the pre-filter. This catches the bigger particles like lint and pet hair. The pre-filter is also designed to absorb odors. This keeps your home smelling fresh.
- The second layer is the true HEPA filter. This type of filter is ideal for mold, pets and allergens. This is because it clears 99.97% of the air from unwanted pollutants. It also captures the smallest of particles in the air, as little as 0.3 microns.
As a result, you get good air cleaning performance. The unit comes with a CADR of:
- 300 for tobacco smoke
- 320 for dust
- 300 for pollen
We also like that it is Energy Star qualified. This means it is energy efficient. The addition of 2, 4 and 8 hour timer settings also let you run it automatically for long periods without worry.
Overall, this is a solid unit that’s ideal for medium to large rooms. It takes up a bit more space than some of the smaller air purifiers at 20.8 inches by 10.8 inches and 22.4 inches tall. But, it also covers more air space.
The AC5250PT is a bigger version of the AC4825 above. It does offer more air cleaning ability and comes with a few extra features.
This air cleaner comes with a CADR of over 125. Its digital controls make it easy to switch fan settings and turn different features on and off.
We also like that it comes with a built-in programmable timer and is energy efficient. This makes it something you can run through the night.
As far as air quality is goes, we like that it uses the same 3 stage cleaning process. This includes the pre-filter and charcoal layers, HEPA filtration and UV-C light. Together, the rid the air you breathe of contaminants, big or small. The charcoal filter also eliminates unwanted odors.
This makes it effective in killing airborne mold and clearing your home of allergens in the air.
Overall, this product offers good value. It is relatively affordable. And, you get a good air cleaner that covers a decent amount of space. The device runs very quietly which is always a plus. And, it is effective in getting rid of allergens as well as mold spores in the air.
It is rated for rooms up to 284 square feet. This makes it ideal for medium sized rooms.
What we like about the unit is its air cleaning ability. The unit uses 5 cleaning stages. And, you get a smart sensor automatically kicks into action when it detects air quality going down.
Among its most useful features for killing mold spores in the air are:
- The HEPA filter traps all contaminants in the air. It eliminates airborne mold spores, pollen and dander.
- The addition of the CleanCel antibacterial treatment helps keep your home’s air quality up by killing more bacteria.
- We also like the PlasmaWave feature for extra protection against microorganisms and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in the air.
The WAC9500 comes with sleep modes as well as 1, 4 or 8 hour timers. It is simple to operate thanks to its digital control panel.
The Winix WAC9500 does a good job in getting rid of mold spores in the air. This will help keep you and your family healthier. Do note that like all air purifiers, it doesn’t kill the mold itself. For that, you’ll need to locate the source of the mold and dry it out. Mold needs a moist environment to grow and survive.
Overall, this is a great choice for homes with pets or allergy sufferers. It gets rid of pet hair and dander. Plus, it neutralizes odors.