Common Types of Mold and Role of Air Purifiers in Solving Mold Problems

Molds are notorious microscopic living beings that are found almost anywhere in your home, office, basement, garage, car, or any other living place.

They thrive and grow in dark and damp conditions with temperature in the range of 60 to 80 degrees Fahrenheit.

It is necessary to detect the presence of mold in your surroundings, determine its type and potential health effects. It helps in tackling the health issues posed by the mold quickly. If left unattended, the widespread growth of molds becomes very difficult to contain.

In some cases, you cannot control or eliminate the growth of mold by yourself. This necessitates assistance from professional mold removal companies that have the required tools and experience for controlling and preventing mold growth.

Types of Molds

There are over thousands of species of molds that are grown in almost every place on this planet. Some molds are harmless, while others may cause severe health conditions. The harmful molds are usually classified into allergenic, pathogenic, and toxigenic.

  • Allergenic molds cause allergic reactions like asthma attacks.
  • Pathogenic molds cause health issues in individuals with acute illnesses.
  • Toxigenic molds produce toxic compounds that cause severe health conditions.

Acremonium

Acremonium mold is a type of toxigenic mold that may look grey, white, pink or orange in colour. It appears as a small moist mold that develops into a powdery substance.

This mold is typically found in cooling coils, humidifiers, window sealants, and drain pans.

Acremonium is a dangerous mold that can cause diseases related to the immune system, bone marrow, and other organs.

It is a carcinogen that interferes with normal brain functioning. It may grow alone or in company with other molds like Stachybotrys.

Alternaria

Alternaria is a type of allergenic mold that has a velvet-textured appearance along with dark green or brown hairs. It is the most common mold found in dark and damp areas. Its favourite locations include showers, leaking sinks, and bathtubs.

Being an allergenic mold, Alternaria causes allergic reactions like asthma and infections related to the upper respiratory tract, nose, and mouth. It is known for spreading quickly in a wide area; thus, it requires immediate control and eradication.

Aspergillus

Aspergillus comes in the form of long flask-shaped spores. These spores form thick layers by creating long chains of mold growth on the surfaces. It can appear in various colors as there are over a hundred species of Aspergillus mold.

Aspergillus is a type of allergenic mold that can cause symptoms like lung infections, respiratory inflammation, and asthma attacks. Some aspergillus mold species produce carcinogenic substances like aflatoxins.

Aureobasidium

Aureobasidium is a type of allergenic mold that is commonly found behind wooden or painted surfaces. It appears in pink, brown, or black colour. As it grows, it takes on a dark brown colour.

It poses allergenic health risks like infections related to the eye, skin, and nails. As it causes dermatitis, you should avoid touching it with bare hands.

Chaetomium

Chaetomium features a cotton-like texture and changes colours from white to grey to brown and finally black as it ages.

It is commonly found in water-damaged buildings and homes. It can be easily recognized by its musty odour in a damp or leaking sink, roof, or basement.

It affects your health, including skin and nail infections.

It may produce mycotoxins that are hazardous in individuals with compromised immunity. As it grows in chronically moist conditions, it can be eradicated by eliminating the moisture at the source.

Cladosporium

Cladosporium is a type of allergenic mold that can grow in both cold and warm environments. It grows well on materials like carpets, fabrics, upholsteries, etc. It can also be found inside the cupboard and under floorboards.

This mold features a suede-like texture, and it comes in olive-green or brown colours. It causes allergic reactions to the eyes, skin, nose, and throat. In severe cases, it may lead to asthma, skin rash and lesions, sinusitis, and lung infections.

Fusarium

Fusarium is both a toxigenic and an allergenic mold that can survive and spread even at cold temperatures. It is commonly found in carpets, wallpapers, fabric, and other materials. It thrives in homes with water damage or leakage.

It appears reddish, pink, or white in colour. It grows on food products and compost.

Exposure to this mold can cause dermatitis, sore throat, itchy eyes, running nose, sneezing, and skin infections.

In cases of prolonged exposure to fusarium, individuals may suffer from life-threatening conditions like brain abscesses or bone infections. It can produce toxins that can cause severe damage to the nervous system and result in internal bleeding and haemorrhages.

Mucor

Mucor is a type of allergenic mold that grows quickly in thick patches. It appears white or greyish in color. It is commonly found near old and damp carpets, air-conditioners, HVAC systems and ducting, and any other place that produces moisture from condensation.

Exposure to Mucor mold can cause various health problems, including asthma, difficulty in breathing, fever, malaise, flu-like symptoms, and other respiratory illnesses.

In very severe cases of prolonged exposure to Mucor, individuals can develop mucormycosis that can damage the lungs, sinuses, and brain.

It also causes infections in the eyes and nose. It also infects the blood, digestion, or renal systems.

Penicillin

Penicillin is a type of allergenic mold that features a velvety texture and appears blue or green in colour. It is commonly found on carpets, mattresses, wallpapers, ducting, and other damp places in water-damaged homes and buildings.

Penicillin is used for the production of antibiotics and food processing activities. However, it also causes severe respiratory conditions like asthma and pulmonary inflammation when it is grown indoors.

Prolonged exposure to penicillin spores may result in chronic sinusitis and immune disorders. This mold is commonly associated with damp and moist areas. By taking remedial measures for any household leaks or water damage, it can be eradicated.

Stachybotrys

Stachybotrys is a type of dangerous toxigenic mold that comes in black or dark greenish colour.

It has a slimy texture, and it grows well in a damp and wet area with high levels of humidity. It grows on cardboard, paper, wood, or any other cellulose material.

Stachybotrys produces mycotoxins that cause severe health conditions like sinusitis, fatigue, difficulty in breathing, and depression. It is also linked to pulmonary bleeding in infants and neurological problems in kids.

Exposure to this mold may also cause a tightening in the chest, burning sensations in airways, nose bleeds, painful headaches, persistent cough, etc. It requires immediate remediation for ensuring the safety of your kids at home.

Trichoderma

Trichoderma is a type of allergenic mold that grows as woolly-textured clusters and appears in white colour with green patches. It is commonly found on wet surfaces such as carpets, wallpapers, and other damp fabrics.

It grows in the moist area as a result of condensation, such as air conditioning filters and HVAC system ducts.

Some species of Trichoderma cause pulmonary and hepatic (liver) infections. It produces mycotoxins that cause harmful health effects like Stachybotrys.

It also causes damage to building materials and destroys textiles, wood, and paper products.

Ulocladium

Ulocladium is a type of mold that grows well in damp and wet conditions. It is commonly found in homes and buildings with extreme water damage. It grows in basements, kitchens, windows, bathrooms, and basements with high condensation levels.

This mold may grow along with other types of mold, including Chaetomium, Stachybotrys, and Fusarium. It can cause allergies, immune disorders, hay fever, skin infections, asthma, etc.

How an Air Purifier Helps in Solving Mold Problems?

An air purifier does not eradicate pre-existing and visible mold growth in your home or office. You should get the mold remediation process done at the mold-infested place.

Ensure that you get your place physically cleaned by using a bleach solution.

If there is mold growth on soft surfaces like foam or a carpet, you should remove and throw away the infested surface.

Also, remove the source of moisture like damp walls or leaky pipes that cause the mold to grow in the first place.

An air purifier cannot remove the mold spores completely from your house. However, when you remediate a mold-infested area, it results in numerous mold spores circulating in the air. At this juncture, an air purifier comes to your rescue by capturing the spores.

After the initial clean-up exercise, an air purifier can drastically reduce the concentration of spores in the home air.

For more effective cleaning, it is recommended to change the filters frequently. It removes the lingering mold particles and gets rid of their musty odor.

The air purifier works wonders in providing an effective long-term solution for those individuals with mold allergies.

Installing an air purifier at common places for mold in the home like near the window seals or the basement, helps in tackling the mold problem.

Best Air Purifiers for Solving Mold Problems at Home

Depending on the type of purification technology used, there are different types of air purifiers available in the market. Some advanced air purifiers contain a combination of two or more purification technologies.

Not all air purifiers are suitable for removing mold spores from the air. Some are very effective, while others may deliver average performance. Let’s discuss the air purifier with various purification technologies.

HEPA filters

An air purifier equipped with HEPA filters is widely used for filtering air pollutants from the air, and it is effective in removing mold spores. The HEPA filters have the powerful filtering ability to remove up to 99.97% particles with a size of 0.3 microns or greater.

Thus, the majority of the mold particles with a size larger than 0.3 microns are trapped by HEPA filters. But the main drawback of the HEPA filters is that mold spores trapped by them can grow on their filter surfaces. Thus, one needs to change these HEPA filters regularly.

PECO

An air purifier with PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation) technology employs a light-activated catalytic reaction for destroying the particles that pass through the device. Thus, unlike HEPA filters that trapped the spores, the PECO technology can destroy mold spores.

With this air purifier, you can eliminate the chances of mold growth on the filter surfaces and avoid their reintroduction into the circulating air.

PCO

An air purifier with photo-catalytic oxidation technology can also destroy organic molecules like mold spores.

However, PCO is an inefficient technology that creates ground-level ozone. This ozone acts as a respiratory irritant.

UVGI

This air purifier employs ultraviolet germicidal irradiation that can kill mold, viruses, and bacteria. This air purifier sterilizes the air.

However, to be effective, this air purifier needs to generate much more intensive UV radiation.

Carbon filters

Some air purifiers use carbon filtration technology for removing airborne chemicals like volatile organic compounds present in the air. These air purifiers trap the gases on an activated carbon filter.

However, this filter is not suitable for removing the mold spores circulating in the air.

Ionizing Air Purifiers

An ionizing air purifier uses an electric charge for causing the particles to stick to the surfaces.

This air purifier can be used for destroying the mold spores; however, it generates ozone that causes respiratory problems.

Conclusion

Before you set out to address any mold growth at your place, it is important to identify the type of mold. It helps in eliminating the mold quickly before it begins to develop and spread.

As each type of mold has its own characteristics, health effects, and growth patterns, identifying them helps to find out the common places where they might be growing. The common places to look for molds are window seals, bathrooms, roofs, and basements.

Depending on your specific needs, you can use air purifier technology for removing the mold spores from your home. It is suited for addressing mold allergies and providing a long-term solution for the mold problem. You can choose air purifiers with HEPA or PECO technology.

Preksha
 

Preksha is passionate about writing articles that will inspire readers to make better choices. You will find her eating desserts for lunch, dinner and any time of the day. Also, she is the chief playlist engineer for any road trip.

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