Using Air Purifiers to Tackle Mould: Part 1 Why to Consider One and What Type Works Best

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Most people know – and they certainly do if they are regular readers of this blog – that mould begins as spores in the air and that those spores are everywhere. There is little you can do to stop them in their tracks. However, once they are inside a home they can be removed before they cause too much trouble. Air purifiers filter mould spores and other allergens out of the air to help prevent mold growing in the future with the added advantage that they remove many other nasty things in the air too, making for a healthier, safer home overall.

But if you head to your local home store, or search online, you’ll quickly find a number of different options. Which is best for your home and your family? here are some tips to help you make the right choice:

Air Purifier Options Explained

The main types of air purifiers are:

  • HEPA
    Activated Carbon (activated carbon is often included as a pre-filter in HEPA air purifiers)
    Ionizers

But what are the differences between them? The pros and the cons? Let’s take a look:
HEPA Air Purifiers

HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are paper-like filters which remove at least 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns in size, and an even higher amount of larger particles. Since mold spores are usually about 1-20 microns in size, HEPA filters are ideal for filtering and trapping mold spores from the air. Once mould spores are trapped in the HEPA filter they won’t grow into mould colonies since there isn’t enough moisture. Often the filters also have an antimicrobial coating.

Not only will a HEPA filtered air purifier reduce your mould risk but they can also remove other allergens from your home’s air, like pollen, dust mite feces, and pet dander. This helps improve your home’s indoor air quality so that the air you breathe is as clean as possible and your home healthier.

When you are looking for a HEPA air purifier make sure you purchase one with a genuine HEPA filter. Purifiers with “HEPA-like” filters do not have true HEPA filters. HEPA filters also have ratings such as H10 or H14. The higher the rating the more particles the filter can remove from the air.

HEPA filters don’t generate ozone or other harmful by-products. You can run HEPA filtered purifiers 24 hours a day, all year round. But make sure you replace the HEPA filter in your air purifier when its life is up. Your air purifier’s manual will tell you how long the HEPA filter lasts. Some HEPA filters last 6 months, while others might last a few years.

Activated Carbon Air Purifiers

An activated carbon filter can remove odors, chemicals and volatile organic compounds (VOCs), since it absorbs molecules of gas. Often you’ll find that activated carbon filters are included as pre-filters in air purifiers. For example, HEPA air purifiers often have an activated carbon pre-filter included.

Ionizer Air Purifiers

Most ionizer air purifiers work by emitting negative ions into the air. These negative ions then attach to allergens in the air which makes them fall to the floor or stick to walls. Some ionizers have collector plates which the charged allergens are attracted to instead. Negative ions usually last for about 30 seconds.

This type of purification is called active purification, as it occurs outside of the air purifier. Purification where the air is filtered inside the air purifier, such as HEPA purifiers, is called passive purification.

An advantage of an ionizer air purifier is that you don’t have any filters that you have to replace. Another is that they often use less electricity than HEPA purifiers.

Nevertheless, ionizers aren’t as effective with mould spores as HEPA filtered purifiers are. Although an ionizer removes mould spores from the air, the mould spores are still in the room, on the floors or walls. They can be stirred up into the air again.

Ionizer air purifiers generally can’t clean areas as big as HEPA filtered purifiers. Some ionizers have fans in them which increases the room size they can clean. Ionizers with fans also clean the air faster. But on the other hand, ionizers without fans use less electricity and are much quieter, almost silent.

Ionizers create small levels of ozone, although less than safety standard levels. Ozone is toxic and reactive, and damages the lungs if the level is high enough. Ionizers can also cause “black wall”, where the wall near the ionizer gets a dark spot.

Ready to learn more? Watch out for part 2 to learn how to determine the right model of air purifier for your unique home.

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Restoration 1 Kitchener offers 24/7 service to aid home and business owners dealing with water or fire damage situations. We also offer mould remediation, smoke clean up and storm response services. Our staff is always prepared to help you through these emergency situations using state of the art equipment, software and years of experience to make the situation simple and quick to overcome. We also work directly with all insurance companies!
Call us 24/7 at 519-505-4785

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