Buying an air purifier for mould
All about mould
Mould is a type of fungus. Its main ecological role is breaking down dead organic matter. It plays a crucial part in nature by decomposing plant and animal tissue. Mould is found in most places on Earth except underwater, in certain parts of Antarctica and the Arctic, and in places that are kept artificially sterilised like clean rooms2.
Mould and other fungi like mildew can be found almost everywhere indoors and outdoors in low quantities. They can range in colour but are typically green, black, brown, or grey spots or clusters. Interestingly enough, mould’s food source and the colony’s age determine mould’s colour2! Indoors, they are often found on the walls and ceilings of bathrooms, kitchens, basements, garages, crawlspaces, or other places that are dark, humid, and warm. Mould can grow on wood, wallpaper, paint, carpet, sheet rock, insulation, paper, fabric, plastic, glass surfaces, carpets, showers, and bathtubs.
Sometimes mould can be hard to detect: a good indicator that may point to the presence of mould is a musty odour. This may mean that mould is growing inside the walls of your home or building. Mould and its spores are known allergens.
How does it grow?
Mould has a four-stage lifecycle:
- Hyphae: threadlike in appearance, mould at this stage feeds on organic matter and begins to form clusters.
- Mycelium: this is when mould begins reproducing asexually via cell division and where mould spores begin to form. The rate at which mould spores form is determined by oxygen levels, light exposure, and temperature.
- Spores: mycelium releases microscopic mould spores into the air. The spores remain airborne until they find a surface with optimum water and nutrients.
- If the conditions are not yet right, mould spores can remain dormant on surfaces for years!
These microscopic spores only need three things to survive: oxygen, a cellulose-based food source, and moisture. If these needs are met, mould will continue to cause extensive damage to your home and put your health at risk.
Symptoms of mould exposure and associated health issues
If you are exposed to mould in your home and/or workplace, you may experience mild to severe negative health effects depending upon your level of sensitivity.
Airborne mould spores are allergenic and can trigger allergic symptoms. You can inhale over a half million spores per minute without even realising! Symptoms of mould allergy may include:
- Runny nose
- Red and watery eyes
- Skin rashes (dermatitis)
- Irritation of the upper respiratory tract leading to coughing and wheezing
- Itchy nose
- Sore throat
For individuals with asthma, mould can commonly trigger asthma attacks. Wheezing, shortness of breath, and coughing are all signs of exposure to mould in asthmatics.
Allergic reactions can be immediate upon exposure or delayed as allergens accumulate in the body.
The benefits of an air purifier for mould
An excellent way of protecting your health from the dangers of mould is purchasing and installing an air purifier for mould. An air purifier can capture mould spores that enter your home before they have a chance to land on surfaces where they can grow and proliferate. This is particularly useful for those who do not yet have a mould problem but worry about it becoming an issue.
Additionally, eliminating mould spores from your breathing air, you can be protected from mould spores and other allergens. If you are someone who experiences allergies, an air purifier for mould can reduce symptoms caused by other common allergens like dust, dust mites, pet hair and dander, and pollen.
If you already have a mould problem in your home or building, an air purifier for mould can prevent mould spores from spreading to other indoor areas. By using filtration technologies to capture airborne mould spores, an air filtration device can stop mould’s reproduction in its tracks.
It is important to note that an air purifier should be combined with other intervention methods and treatments. Unfortunately, an air purifier cannot treat mould that is already established on surfaces as it prevents solely the spread of mould particles in the air.
How to choose an air purifier for mould?
Whilst searching for an air purification device to help combat mould, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Consider the filter type
Not just any air purifier can trap and treat indoor air pollutants as small as mould spores. Mould spores range in size from 1 to 100 μm but most commonly measure from 2 to 20 μm4. Air purifiers for mould that come with a high efficiency particulate air (HEPA)-certified filter are best equipped to handle air pollutants and allergens of this size. HEPA filters are designed to treat 99.97% of air contaminants down to a size 0.01 μm and make an excellent ally in fighting mould spores present in your breathing air.
If you are experiencing a musty smell in your home as a result of mould, consider an air purifier that also comes equipped with an activated carbon filter. Activated carbons filters have been used for decades in both air and water filtration. These filters are very effective at combatting odours and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Activated carbon filters can combat many types of odours and unpleasant gases in your home, including those caused by mould! Eoleaf’s air purifiers come equipped with 8 different filtration technologies including a medical-grade HEPA H13 filter and an activated carbon filter.
Ideally, when fighting against mould in the home, it is best to purchase an air purifier with at least two filtration technologies. A device containing at least a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter is a good place to start.
Consider areas where mould is frequently found
To effectively filter mould spores, place an air purifier in an area where mould is frequently found. Basements, bathrooms, kitchens, garages, crawlspaces, and rooms with upholstered furniture are all good choices. By installing your air purifier for mould, ideally with a HEPA filter, as close to the pollutant (mould source) as possible, you can combat the greatest number of airborne allergenic particles (mould spores).
Consider the size of your space
Air purifiers are built to treat the air in rooms of a specific size in order for them to operate effectively and to clean the air in a reasonable amount of time. Once you find the source of mould in your home or building, make sure that you choose an air purifier for mould that is properly sized and adapted to filter the air in that space. Larger spaces like living rooms or master bedrooms will require an air purifier that is sized for larger spaces (Eoleaf’s AEROPRO 150, for example, can filter the air in rooms up to 1300 square feet or 120 m2). Smaller rooms like home offices or guest bedrooms will require a device that is sized for smaller spaces (Eoleaf’s AEROPRO 40, our smallest device, filters the air in rooms up to 450 square feet or 40m2).
Consider the noise level and budget
Depending upon where you plan to install your air purifier for mould, choose a device that is powerful yet quiet if noise level is a concern (for example, if you plan to place your air purifier in a bedroom or home office). Also, remember that there is more to your air purifier’s budget than the initial price of the device! Prices can vary extensively depending upon the options and filtration technologies offered by the device. Maintenance costs like filter changes (required by all devices regardless of model) and energy consumption are also things to keep in mind.
Another useful metric when choosing an air purifier is its clean air delivery rate (CADR). CADR is calculated in order to show how effective an air purifier is at renewing the air in a given space.
Read more about CADR and other features in our Buying Guide where you will find an in-depth analysis of popular features offered by an air purifier for mould on today’s market. This will help you choose the best air purifier model for you. If you have questions, do not hesitate to contact us anytime.
1 Image 1 by brgfx on Freepix. Image 2 on Freepix.
2 What is mould?. The Mould Doctor. (2022). https://themoulddoctor.com.au/health/mould-information/what-is-mould/
3 How Does Mold Grow and Reproduce?. Stern Mold. (2018, January 17). http://www.sternmold.com/blog/2018/01/17/mold-grow-reproduce/
4 Size of Mold Spores. Moldli. (2022, November 29). https://moldli.com/the-size-of-mold-spores/