In this article we compare dehumidifiers and air purifiers and their effectiveness for dealing with mold. Both of these air treatment appliances have the capability to help solve a mold problem.
Mold produces spores that become airborne in order to spread. These mold spores are everywhere, indoors and Outdoors. Some people have allergies to mold spores and may want to pay close attention to the mold spore count in their area.
In addition to problems with itching allergies and sneezing mold can also damage property. Mold can repair require expensive repair and remediation services. One of the most common places for mold form in home is on the windowsill. This is because excess moisture in the air will condense on cold Windows during winter months. Mold can also develop in the attic or basement where there is generally inadequate ventilation.
Since mold spores are airborne, they can be captured by an air filter. Usually they remain here until the filter is either cleaned or replaced. However, if there is enough moisture in the air the mold can begin to reproduce on the air filter. In this situation the air purifier or ventilation system is actually spreading mold spores every time it turns on. Air purifiers are a great way to lower the number of mold spores in the air. They do need to be maintained regularly to ensure their effectiveness.
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Humidity and Mold Growth
Mold needs humid air in order to spread and grow. If you can use a dehumidifier to keep humidity levels below 50% you will be taking a significant step toward preventing the spread and growth. Since regular things like cooking and using the shower increase the humidity inside a home, we recommend using a dehumidifier. A dehumidifier will control the humidity levels and consistently keep them below 50%.
The Centers for Disease Control and prevention recommend this level of 50% relative humidity in order to prevent mold growth. They also indicate that an air conditioner can help control humidity levels the same way a dehumidifier will. While this is true, dehumidifiers tend to be much more energy efficient than air conditioners. You can also use dehumidifiers in the winter when an air conditioner would not be practical.
If you need to clean mold off surfaces, the Centers for Disease Prevention and Control recommend a cleaning solution of no more than 1 cup of bleach mixed with 1 gallon of water. They have additional tips and warnings here.
Dehumidifiers, like air purifiers, also need regular maintenance. Their water catch bins must be emptied regularly if the dehumidifier is not routed directly to a drain. People often use dehumidifier hoses to accomplish this. The water collection bins must be cleaned to prevent mold growth inside. And dehumidifier hoses must be cleaned regularly to reduce the buildup of mineral deposits.
Both air purifiers and dehumidifiers will help reduce the spread of mold in your home. Both of these appliances require regular maintenance in order to function correctly. They will both help manage allergies to mold as well. We suggest using dehumidifiers and places where moisture is likely to collect. This could be in your basement or bathroom. Additionally you can use an air purifier where you spend the most time. This would most likely be your bedroom since you sleep there at night.
Best Air Purifier for Mold
The Allen BreatheSmart Customizable Air Purifier with HEPA-Pure Filter for Allergies and Dust is one of the most consistently recommended air purifiers for mold. It has a HEPA filter, which is capable of capturing the vast majority of mold spores.
According to the University of Central Florida, mold spores are between 3 and 40 microns in size. Since HEPA filters remove anything bigger than 0.3 microns across, you can expect to see some improvements in your indoor air quality with the Allen BreatheSmart.
However, the BreatheSmart does come with a high price tag compared to other air purifiers. One of the main reasons for this is how large of an area the BreatheSmart can cover. At 1,100 square feet, the BreatheSmart might be the only air purifier you need in your home.
Another great option is the Austin Air Healthmate Air Purifier. It comes with a HEPA filter like the BreatheSmart and covers a larger area of 1,500 square feet. Check the images below to see if it is available for less than the BreatheSmart.
Lastly, we’ll recommend the Levoit LV-H132 for your consideration. We love the LV-H132 for a number of reasons. It does not compare at all in the area it is capable of covering, 86 square feet, compared to the other air purifiers we mention. The significant upside it has is the price. The best application for the LV-H132 would be in a bedroom on a nightstand.
The images below are all clickable links that will take you to the product listing on Amazon.com. Once you are there you can explore other product listings as well. These images include the air purifiers we review in this article.
Dehumidifier vs Air Purifier for Mold
Hopefully we have provided you with enough information to make an informed choice about managing your mold exposure in your home. We have a few final thoughts on managing your mold exposure at home.
Does your basement ever smell musty or earthy? This is very common in the spring or after heavy rainfalls. Do you try to cover up the smell with air fresheners?
Don’t! That smell is a solid indicator of mold growth. If you do not treat mold growth and kill it, the mold will release spores into the air in your home. These spores aggravate allergy symptoms and can lead to health complications over time.
Check out these articles for more information about managing air quality in your basement.
Here is a link to our top pick for the Best Air Purifier for a Musty Basement.
Additionally, we have written about controlling mold growth by using a dehumidifier to reduce moisture levels in your basement. Read this article to learn more – Best Dehumidifier for Basement Mold.
If you have any additional questions or recommendations of your own please feel free to leave a comment in the section below.