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Mold Inspection and Testing

Is a HEPA Filter a Good Choice for Removing Mold from My Home?

Is a HEPA Filter a Good Choice for Removing Mold from My Home?

Mold is a problem in regions where you have humid or rainy weather. If it gets into your home and finds a place to spread, you'll end up with respiratory issues and increases in allergic reactions. When mold establishes itself in your home, the affected rooms begin to smell.

You'll probably find infestations and remove them easily if they're small. However, in some cases, you might not realize the infestation is a problem, giving it a chance to spread throughout the home. For example, the mold could get into the walls on the house's exterior and spread into the roof.

What Do I Do If I Have Mold In My Home?

To find the mold, you'll need to order a specialized mold detection service like MI&T. We'll come to your home and use the latest air quality monitoring technology to find the mold and identify problem areas. With our impartial detection services, you get an accurate report of the mold problem and the air quality in your residence.

After locating the mold, you can either remove it yourself or hire a professional removal service for the task. According to EPA guidelines, if the footprint of the mold is bigger than 3-feet by 3-feet, then the homeowner must call for professional assistance with the removal process. The homeowner can take care of smaller infestations themselves.

Remediating the Air in Affected Rooms After Removing the Mold

After removing the mold, you'll need to remediate the air in the affected room. However, before you complete this task, you'll need to fix the problem causing the mold outbreak in the first place.

Typically, mold only spreads in the right environmental conditions. For those conditions to exist, there needs to be humidity and temperature in the right combination. Therefore, the chances are that you could be dealing with leaky or dripping pipework, a lack of ventilation and airflow, or a combination of both.

For example, if mold starts growing on the bathroom ceiling, it's because the bathroom doesn't vent the steam from bathing or showering fast enough. The room stays moist for longer, and mold spores can start to spread on the ceiling. The condensation and warm temperature in the room give the mold what it needs to thrive.

To fix the problem, you'll need to increase ventilation to the bathroom to help the moist air escape faster. An example would be an exhaust fan that pushes the air in the room out of the bathroom window, removing the excess humidity from the air.

You can wire these fans into switches on the wall or into existing lights to activate when you turn on the light switch.

After identifying the problem causing the mold growth, it's time to remediate the air in the room to ensure the mold does regrow. If you have a problem in a room like a laundry, then seal off the room with a plastic drop cloth to prevent the spores from spreading through your home during the radiation process.

If you're working in rooms, keep the door closed for the entire remediation process to isolate the spores. Start the remediation process by driving as much air into the room as possible. That means opening the doors and turning on fans to help push the air out of the window.

You might need to leave the room for up to a week or longer to air out, depending on the extent of the mold infestation. If you hire a mold removal service, many of them offer you air remediation after removing the mold from the affected areas of your home.

Professional removal companies have the right tools and methods to ensure they restore the air quality in the room. After they finish remediating the air, you can hire MI&T to conduct another mold inspection and air quality test in the affected space.

Since MI&T are an impartial firm, and we don't contract with removal companies, you can rely on us for an unbiased review of the air quality in your home. Contact our service agents and book your inspection today.

How Do I Use a HEPA Filter for Mold Removal?

HEPA filters are only suitable for mold removal as either a preventative or remediation tool. HEPA filters are parts of HVAC and air-conditioning systems, and as such, they are not the right solution for removing infestations from your home.

You'll need to hire MI&T to locate the mold and then remove it yourself or hire a removal service. Running an air purification system with a HEPA filter will eventually clog up the filter with spores. However, it's going to do nothing to stop the source of the mold from releasing more spores into the air.

Until you remove the source of the mold, it's going to continue to spread, causing a rapid deterioration in the air quality in your home. Contact MI&T to find the mold, and remove it before it has a chance to spread.

What are the Types of HEPA Air Purifiers?

There are several different types of HEPA air filtration systems available for residential use. Some of the top choices, and one you should avoid, include the following.

HEPA and UV-C/A light Traps

These air purification systems attach a UV-C or UV-A light trap to the exit of the filter. Biological contaminants like bacteria and viruses perish when they come in contact with UV-A and UV-C light.

However, it's important to note that UV-A has a reputation as the better choice, as it has higher efficacy in killing biologicals with shorter exposure times.

Antimicrobial HEPA

These HEPA filters come with an antimicrobial coating that kills biological materials on contact. If any pathogens like viruses and bacteria get inside the filter, they perish on contact with the fibers in the filter.

These HEPA filters are common in medical settings like doctor's and dentist's offices. However, they are not the same as the ultra-HEPA systems used in hospitals and clean rooms.

Carbon Filter HEPA Hybrids

Adding a carbon filter to a HEPA system creates a two-stage effect that increases the efficacy of the air purification system.

The carbon filter scrubs odors and gases like VOCs out of the air before sending it back out into the room. Attaching it to the exit of a HEPA filter ensures you get better mold removal and trapping of all VOCs and harmful pollutants.

HEPA with Ionizers

We recommend avoiding the use of air filtration systems that combine the use of HEPA filters with ionizers. Typically, ionizers are more popular in compact models, and they come as a push-button activation feature on the machine.

Ions attach to particles in the air, pulling them down to the ground or sticking to walls as they move through the air. You clean up these ions during your normal home maintenance of washing the floors and walls.

However, ionizers also produce ozone in many models, and that has a harmful effect on humans. Overexposure to ozone can cause upper respiratory issues and asthma attacks in sensitive individuals.

Tips for Purchasing and Using HEPA Filters

When purchasing your HEPA filter, there are a few things you need to know. There is a difference between "True HEPA" and HEPA. HEPA is a European standard, filtering up to 85% of particulate matter from the air. The American True HEPA standard requires the filter to remove up to 99.97% of particles from the air.

It's also important to note that mold spores may be tiny enough to escape the HEPA filter, especially if it doesn't have the right seal inside the system. Therefore, make sure you get the right filter type before you end up wasting your money.

It's important never to wash your HEPA filter and reuse it. Recycle it instead. Washing HEPA filters damage the structure and efficacy of the fibers. You might clean it, but you reduce the efficiency and effectiveness of the filter.

The Verdict – Is a HEPA Filter a Good Choice for Removing Mold from My Home?

Yes, the HEPA air filter is an excellent choice for pulling up to 99.97% of all particulate matter out of the air, down to 0.3-microns in size. However, relying on your air conditioner or HVAC to remediate the air or remove mold spores is not the right solution for the problem.

Unless you find the mold source, you're going to see worsening of the air quality in the affected areas of the home. Eventually, the spores overwhelm the HVAC or portable aircon filtering system, causing a rapid decline in air quality.

However, HEPA filters can catch mold spores when they enter your home, trapping them in the fibers in the filter. However, you'll need to ensure you have a high-quality air-con or HVAC system with a filter that fits correctly into the housing. The filter needs an air-tight seal to the housing to prevent air from flowing around it instead of through it.

Therefore, make sure you buy a top-quality system, and look for the "UL" logo to ensure you're getting a true HEPA filter with your purchase.