Mold is everywhere; both indoors and out. While mold generally gets a pretty bad rap, it’s actually a key player in the nature. It’s responsible for much of the decomposition that takes place outdoors. From leaves to trees, and beyond, mold acts as nature’s organic recycling crew. But, when it makes itself at home indoors problems are sure to follow. Thinking about all those little spores floating around got us thinking… “what are the best air purifiers for mold?” Scroll down for our favorites, or keep reading to see why indoor mold is such a pain.
While mold is a huge help outdoors it can be a huge problem if it starts growing in your home or workplace. Small amounts of various types are mostly harmless and can be found in your home all year. The problem arises when a species of mold become too ubiquitous and begins to trigger respiratory health problems and allergies. Or worse yet some species (known as toxic mold) emit mycotoxins as waste. And, mycotoxins in large doses can cause disease or even death in both pets and humans.
Since mycotoxins vary so greatly it we’ll spare you the differences between things like carcinogenic Aflatoxins, common food contaminants like Ochratoxins, etc. Instead we’ll focus on what you can do to keep the mold that produces them in check. Or rather… any type of indoor mold.
How Does Mold Work
Mold is an organism that lives almost everywhere on the globe. It’s a type of fungus and comprises 200,000 known species. For the the most part mold spores float around aimlessly searching for the perfect spot to set up a colony and get to work. All a little spore needs to set up shop is the right temperature (warm), a food source, and some humidity. Different species prefer different combinations of warmth, food, and moisture. When one thing changes, even a little bit, one mold species can go dormant and another can take its place. Which is why general “mold testing” rarely makes sense. Instead mold a mold test typically follows a set of symptoms.
We’ll briefly cover symptoms later, but for now let’s circle back to the mold spore who found that ideal temperature, food source, and the perfect level of humidity. Once he (or he and a few buddies) land, they’ll begin to consume the food source (e.g. wood, cardboard, skin cells) and produce both waste and offspring. The latter is more mold spores and the former stuff like mycotoxins and other byproducts of mold growth. If ideal conditions remain constant, mold spores will continue to reproduce exponentially. Eventually that invisible to the human eye spore will grow into a colony that is very easily identifiable even from a distance.
Air Purifiers and Mold
Air purifiers are pretty effective at keeping spores out of the air. And, if they’re captured before they find that ideal combination of food, temperature, and moisture… you should see less opportunities for a population explosion. But, keep in mind that just one spore can grow into a colony; so you’ll also want to remove habitat as well. We will cover some steps you can take later, but for now let’s focus on what you need in an air purifier.
Most mold spores measure between 3 microns and 100 microns, but there is a minority that can measure as small as a single micron. So as long as you limit your search to purifiers with a true HEPA filter you’ll be set. HEPA filters can capture particles as small as .3 microns. So pretty much any mold spore will be easily contained in your new HEPA purifier mold prison.
When it comes to other features, things like UV lamps and ionizers may help a little but probably aren’t necessary. Activated carbon and other odor killing filters will help keep that musty basement smell at bay. But, the key is to get a quality HEPA filter. That way you’ll capture mold spores and nearly all of the by products that cause allergies, asthma attacks, respiratory issues, etc.
Best Air Purifiers for Mold
Top Pick: AirMega 400S
The best air purifiers for mold need a HEPA filter, and the AirMega line offers a great one. AirMega also provides one of the smartest and best looking purifiers on the market. It’s smartphone app allows you to keep tabs on performance from afar. We like that feature a lot if you plan to keep the purifier in a basement or somewhere that doesn’t get a lot of foot traffic. We also think the purifier looks amazing especially when compared to stalwarts like Honeywell’s 50250-s.
AirMega purifiers are powerful enough to work in a very large space. Over 1,500 square feet for the 400 and 400s model. Speaking of the AirMega 400 model; it might be perfect if you’d like to save a few bucks and don’t need smartphone connectivity. Regardless of which model you choose they’re all well built and surprisingly quiet. The machine puts out only 22 to 52 decibels depending on settings and fan speed. That is really, really quiet.
Filters should last 12 months under typical operating conditions. But, when you do have to buy replacements you’ll be happy to see that will not break the bank like some competitors. However, they’re not quite as affordable as the filters for Rabbit Air’s MinusA2. But we’ll cover that below.
Many shoppers don’t realize that Coway makes the newly popular AirMega brand of purifiers. But, before they ventured out into building huge, beautiful, smart machines Coway was dominating reviews and comparisons. Their AP-1512HH model being the top recommendation across many review sites as the overall best purifier for smaller spaces. It’s a seriously great HEPA-equipped purifier for a really great price. If you’re trying to keep the air in a smaller room seriously fresh, the Coway AP-1512HH is definitely worth a look.
Like the AirMega, filters will last about 12 months. However, they cost less than half the price.
Rabbit Air MinusA2 Asthma & Allergy
If you don’t have floor space for the best air purifiers for mold mentioned above, check out the wall mountable MinusA2 from Rabbit Air. It’s a great purifier in spaces that measure roughly 800 square feet. Plus it looks great sitting on the floor or mounted to a wall.
The purifier’s filters should last between 12 and 24 months and are not incredibly expensive. Especially if you can stretch the replacement out to 24 months. Plus, Rabbit Air’s BioGS HEPA filter is treated to prevent any growth of mold within the filter itself.
Rabbit Air also makes various versions of the MinusA2 with decorative panels like the Artist Series one pictured below.
How to Reduce Indoor Mold
- If you’re raking leaves or doing yard work (especially in the fall) wash your clothes and take a shower as soon as you come indoors. Tasks like raking leaves stir up a ton of mold spores, and some might catch a ride on you or your clothing.
- Take off your shoes when you come inside. It’s better to leave them in a mudroom or garage .But, just taking them off in the entryway will keep them fairly isolated.
- Avoid or remove damp, mold-friendly environments from your home’s interior. Water leaks from gutters, ice dams, flooding or damage need to be repaired as soon as possible. Also, make sure you have adequate ventilation to remove excess moisture from your home.
- Seal up windows and doors, but remember, ventilation is crucial. If weather can get into your home so can mold, but if moisture can’t get out any mold spores in your home will multiply.
- Look for condensation in windows, bathrooms, or anywhere warm air meets a cold surface. Make sure water isn’t soaking into carpeting, wood trim, or cabinetry.
- Keep relative humidity below 60% to discourage mold growth. You can monitor humidity with a hygrometer-equipped thermometer and remove it with a dehumidifier.
- Check for plumbing leaks in cabinets, behind refrigerators, behind washing machines, and under dishwashers.
- Make sure that your foundation, crawl space, attic and roof is properly ventilated. Bathroom fans, dryer vents, and range hoods should exhaust to the exterior of your home.
- Keep gutters clean and make sure rainwater is draining away from your foundation.