Last Updated on: 5th September 2023, 05:59 pm
Mold growth in our homes can lead to poor indoor air quality which can significantly affect our health and well-being. Air quality monitors are valuable tools that can be used to track contaminated air in your home so that you can take necessary steps to improve the air quality. However, people who are concerned about the risks of mold growth in their homes may ask, “Do air quality monitors detect mold?’’
The short answer is: Yes, they can. However, there are certain limitations to using these devices. Air quality monitors simply detect particulate matter present in the air without giving any information about the number and types of mold spores in the air. Also, these devices can help monitor mold growth by detecting certain conditions such as high temperature and humidity that may cause mold growth.
Table of Contents
- Mold Detection by Air Quality Monitors
Mold Detection by Air Quality Monitors
Mold is a type of fungus that thrives in damp and humid areas, both indoors and outdoors. They are commonly found in kitchens, bathrooms, closets, attics, or in those areas that are affected by water damage. Not only do they lead to health problems, but they also cause structural damage to buildings and personal belongings.
There is a type of sensor known as a “particle detector” that can detect mold present in the air. However, this sensor is unable to differentiate between a mold spore or any other contaminant present in the air. It just counts mold spores as airborne particles.
So, the drawback of this air quality monitor is that it can’t tell the number and specific type of mold spore that is present in the air. In this way, you won’t be able to know whether the mold present in your indoor air is harmless or pathogenic thus making it difficult to take necessary steps accordingly.
There are other types of air quality monitors available on the market that can detect conditions favorable for mold growth. The important mold-growing conditions include high temperature and humidity for a long period. Apart from these indoor air conditions, mold also requires organic matter such as cloth, soap, wood, or any other food source to feed and grow.
Steps to Detect Mold Using an Air Quality Monitor
Any air quality monitor device can indicate the risk of mold growth in your indoor space if it can measure humidity and temperature. You can follow these simple steps to detect mold growth in your home:
1. To effectively use an air quality monitor for detecting mold, it’s important to identify the areas in your home that are most susceptible to mold growth, such as bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and attics.
2. Once these areas have been identified, place the air quality monitor in these spaces for a long period of time to accurately measure the concentration of mold spores in the air.
3. Next, measure the humidity and temperature levels of that space. To gain a comprehensive understanding of the risk of mold growth, it is important to measure the values in that particular area for at least 2 days or more.
4. After that, you’ll need to interpret the data. If the humidity levels are constantly below 70%, chances are there isn’t any mold risk in that area. The optimum temperatures for mold growth are between 77°F (25°C) and 86°F (30°C), but it can still grow at near-freezing temperatures.
The above-mentioned steps can only determine the possibility of mold growth in that area. For more accurate results, contact a professional for a mold air test.
What are the Favorable Conditions for Mold Growth?
Mold requires certain conditions to grow and thrive. These include:
- Presence of oxygen- molds can grow even at very low concentrations of oxygen. This makes it difficult to inhibit mold growth as oxygen is present everywhere.
- Damp or humid environment- indoor humidity of 70% or more for an extended period of time may promote mold growth.
- Temperature- favorable temperature for mold growth is between 60 and 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Darkness- molds love to grow in darker environments as light from the sun can stop their growth or even kill them.
- Food source- another thing that mold needs to grow is food sources such as wood, drywall, leather, or carpets.
What are the Signs of Mold Growth?
Many signs indicate mold growth in your home. If you suspect the following signs, know that there might be mold growing in your indoor environment:
- Unpleasant smells that can be musty or stale
- Nasal congestion
- Red or watery eyes
- Shortness of breath
- Leaky pipes
- Poorly ventilated spaces
- Dark-colored stains on ceilings or walls
- Peeling wallpaper
Here are more mold warning signs.
How to Prevent Mold Growth in Your Home?
You can prevent mold from growing in your home by following the tips below:
- Check your home’s humidity levels. Keep humidity levels below 50%.
- Keep your home dry. Don’t let water build up in areas where water can collect such as your refrigerators, houseplants, or windows.
- Check for any water leakage in the house
- Use mold-killing products to wash surfaces in your bathroom or kitchen
- Make sure your home is properly ventilated
- You can use dehumidifiers in areas where mold is more likely to grow.
What does an air quality monitor detect?
Air quality monitors can detect a variety of pollutants and particles in the air such as VOCs, carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and particulate matter (PM) which includes tiny particles like dust, pollen, and smoke. These devices can also detect allergens, such as mold spores and pet dander.
Do air purifiers help with mold?
Yes, air purifiers may help eliminate mold spores from the air and improve indoor air quality. While these air-purifying devices can remove mold, they can’t fully eradicate the underlying cause of mold growth in your home.