Will air purifiers help with mold?
You may not think about mold in your Houston home until you come across a small colony in your basement or under a sink, but this type of airborne particle requires prudent attention. Mold is not necessarily a sign that your house is not clean. In fact, mold spores are found in almost every environment. The spores can enter through cracks and gaps around windows and doors, and even through your heating and cooling system. Fortunately, installing an air purifier reduces the amount of mold inside your residence and lessens the chance of the spores finding a place to grow colonies.
Types of Mold Found in Homes
Black mold is the most common type of mold that Custom Comfort Air corrects for homeowners in Houston and the surrounding areas. The scientific name is stachybtrys chartarum, and the mold has a dark green or black appearance. You will find black mold in areas that are constantly wet, such as under a leaking sink or on a wall with water damage. Black mold is linked to several health problems, such as allergies, breathing issues, and even lung damage. Other types of mold that we commonly find in Houston properties are:
- Penicillin, a bluish-green mold that thrives in areas with water damage
- Cladosporum, a mold that develops on fabrics and carpets, lives in both warm and cool environments and has a brownish or olive-green appearance
- Aspergillus, one of the most common types of residential molds that can be extremely toxic to people and animals
- Trichoderma, a greenish mold that forms clusters in wallpaper, wet fabrics, and damp carpeting
- Ulcocladium, a black-colored mold that is commonly found in showers, bathtubs, around windows, and in basements
- Fusarium, one of the few molds that thrives in cooler environments and is found in houses with water damage
- Aureobasidium, a brown mold that is typically found on painted surfaces and considered highly allergenic
- Mucor, a type of mold that lives around HVAC equipment and other areas with condensation
Health Risks of Mold
Molds that are found inside homes, on the exterior of the structure, or on residential equipment, such as appliances and HVAC systems, cause a range of health issues ranging from mild to life-threatening. These issues include:
- Breathing problems
- Sinus congestion
- Lung damage
- Skin infections
- Nausea and vomiting
- Watery and itching eyes
- Skin rashes
- Upper respiratory infections
Structural Effects of Mold in Your House
Mold colonies are invasive and survive by breaking down materials inside your home. Molds that are found on wood will reduce the structural integrity of your property. You may have cracks around your doors and windows after mold has infiltrated the caulking, and we have even seen mold break down insulation inside the walls of some Houston residences. Fabrics, carpeting, and other textiles need to be replaced after mold infiltration.
Benefits of Trapping Airborne Mold Spores
Most mold problems in the Houston area are identified only when a homeowner notices mold growth on a surface, such as a wall, a piece of furniture, artwork, or part of the HVAC equipment. While preventing water damage in your home is a top priority for keeping mold colonies out of your residence, trapping mold spores in the air is also recommended. Whether mold comes in through your HVAC ducts or becomes airborne from an existing colony, airborne spores are looking for a new place to set up a colony. An air purification system from Custom Comfort Air removes mold spores from the air to help keep your family healthy and your home safe.
How Air Purifiers Trap Mold Spores
Similar to the way that a heating and cooling system works, air purifiers have filters that are designed to trap mold as well as dust, pollen, bacteria, and pet dander. Standalone systems draw air into the unit and pull it through a filter. Air purifiers that are installed in your HVAC system work a little differently. The airflow from heating and cooling pushes the air through a filter or under an ultraviolet light that traps or kills the airborne particles, including mold spores.
HEPA Filtration for Mold
The types and volume of airborne particles that are captured with an air purifier depend on the filter that you use in the unit. HEPA filters are the best type to use for mold spores. These filters are designed with tight-knit materials that are proven to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns, and the smallest mold spores are four microns or larger. As a result, a good HEPA filter can trap approximately 99.97% of mold spores inside your house.
Getting the Most Out of HEPA Air Purification
The air purifiers for Houston homes that Custom Comfort Air recommends require very little maintenance. The filters can fill up with airborne particles, so they will need to be changed every three to six months, or more often if you live in an older home or an area with high amounts of wind. HEPA filters cannot be washed and reused, and this increases the chances of developing mold inside your residence. You should also make sure that the filter has a tight fit within the unit. Otherwise, mold spores will find a way through the gaps. If you need help finding the right air purifier or filters, call Custom Comfort Air, and we will be happy to help.
Tips for Air Purifiers
You will see the best results when you run your air purifier throughout the day and night. Because utility costs are a concern for homeowners in the Houston area, we recommend that you purchase a unit that has Energy Star certification. You also want a unit with quiet operation so that it does not affect your sleep or general comfort. Energy savings is another reason to replace the filters as recommended by the manufacturer. Clogged and dirty filters make your air purifier run less efficiently, and the system will use more electricity to operate.
Other Ways to Reduce Mold Growth in Your House
Removing mold spores from the air is a great start to keeping your home and family safe, but you should also take some additional steps. Fix leaks right away, and caulk around tubs, sinks, and windows. If you have gaps around your windows and doors, replace the weatherstripping. Also, check your roof and attic for any damage that may allow moisture into the walls and ceilings.
Find an Air Purifier for Your Home Today
Considering the health risks and potential damage to your home, eliminating mold is a priority. Read more from the Department of Health and Human Services on getting rid of mold. Learn more about air purifiers for houses in Houston and surrounding areas today. Call Custom Comfort Air for more information. We can also recommend add-on equipment for your air purifier, such as ultraviolet lights, ionizers, and carbon filters, along with filters that have special antimicrobial layers for an extra layer of protection. In addition to our indoor air quality solutions, we offer complete heating and cooling services, including installation, repairs, and maintenance.