A Community Blog On Recovering From Mold-Related Illness

Mold Avoiders Poll: Air Purifiers

November 28, 2018

This poll was conducted in the Mold Avoiders Facebook group in November 2018.

The poll question read:

Have you used any air purification machines that you feel have been significantly helpful to you? In addition to marking which ones those are, please note in the comments what kinds of contaminants they have been helpful in removing. If you have purchased an air purifier (especially an expensive one) that has not been helpful (or not done what you hoped), please note that in the comments. 

 

A total of 109 Mold Avoiders members participated in the poll.

Here is the breakdown of the responses.

 

26% – IQ Air (28 respondents)

16% – I have used air purifiers but am not sure whether they have been helpful. (17 respondents)

16% – Air Oasis (17 respondents)

16% – Austin Air (17 respondents)

11% – Molekule (12 respondents)

10% – Honeywell (11 respondents)

9% – GermGuardian (10 respondents)

9% – Inexpensive HEPA Filters (10 respondents)

8% – Blueair (9 respondents)

6% – I have used air purifiers but have concluded that they have not been helpful enough to be worthwhile. (6 respondents)

4% – Winix (5 respondents)

4% – EnviroKlenz (4 respondents)

3% – Intellipure (3 respondents)

3% – I have not used any air purifiers. (3 respondents)

3% – RabbitAir (3 respondents)

3% – Vornado (3 respondents)

3% – Alen BreatheSmart (3 respondents)

2% – E.L. Foust (2 respondents)

 

One Respondent Each

Air Doctor

Airocide

Airfree

AllerAir

Alpine

Aprilaire

AtmosAir Solutions

Coway

Oransi

RGF Guardian Air

Sanuvox

Surround Air

Wein

 

PARTICIPANT COMMENTS

 

Air Oasis:

“I use IQ Air and Austin Air HEPA and VOC filters but never found them to make a difference in how I feel. But when I travel I use the Air Oasis in hotel rooms and it really helps.”

“I got Air Oasis and I don’t really notice any difference other than the sore throat my husband gets ( probably from the ozone it releases.) I had it on in the bathroom for a week and after doing a coffee enema, I forgot the mason jar right next to it (with just a little bit of coffee at the bottom) and 4 days later it had 6 small colonies of a fuzzy black mold growing. I would have thought nothing was supposed to grow in there with AO on. I’m disappointed but still use it since I spent almost $600 and its too late to return it.”

 

Airocide:

“I have an Airocide. It seems to work well.”

 

Alen Breathe Smart:

” I have two Alen BreatheSmart air purifiers and I believe they are helping.”

 

AllerAir:

“AllerAir brand. Super for VOC’s like paint fumes, varnish, etc.”

 

Alpine:

“Alpine Ecoquest 880 Ozone and air purifier. Has done a tremendous job at eliminating dust mites, molds, purifying the air in general and gives me ton of energy. I cannot live without it.”

 

Austin Air:

“I think the Austin air machines I had helped. I’ve struggled more indoors the last two years because I have not been able to replace the filters because they are so expensive.”

“I have the Austin Air bedroom machine. I have used it for three years in a safe environment. I feel it really makes a difference for keep cross contamination down and run it mostly in my bedroom but also move it around the home. If someone comes over that isn’t safe, is moldy or chemical, I can run my Austin and stop reacting to what they left behind. I have also brought it with me to hotels and in laws where the environment is best I can get and it makes a ton of difference on how manageable it is to be there. We then wash it and vacuum the filter. We named it Chuck and I definitely feel that he pulls his weight.”

“I have two Austin Airs and one IQ Air- if you are concerned about cross contamination the Austin Air is the better way to go. You can replace all the filters and completely wash the air purifier. This can not be done with the IQ Air as it has a permanent styrofoam encasing around the motor. I had to throw that one out.”

“I have been pleased with my Austin Air. It is mainly for VOCs and particulates and does a nice job, which is confirmed by my FOOBOT.”

 

Blueair:

“Blueair significantly extended my life! First in my parents mildly mouldy houses when I was not that sensitive (2012-2015) — best setup was blue air 400 series blowing air from the open external door into my face. At times I became unable to turn my face away from the machine or would wake up coughing, so ended up hurting my shoulder, but that got better when I started the dust mite vaccine and was able to lower the corticosteroid, which in turn lowered (not increased) inflammation. Corticosteroid can be the devil’s medication, causes damage. Those places were a bit mouldy (dad’s) and damp (mum’s then also a bit mouldy later), but they were non toxic. Then I moved into a properly mouldy flat where the air purifier did nothing and I got too sick to sleep there. It was a disaster, and when I moved my stuff back to mum’s that’s when mum’s became not just damp but mouldy, permanently. Then I moved into a new building which smelt of new building and I had the air purifier professionally cleaned and tried to use it. But in addition to being concerned about residual spores (!!! tho possibly ok in the 400’series) it didn’t work against the fumes. Cue sleeping on balcony but air pollution and smoker… Seven months later the new building fumes were still making me sick, but I didn’t think I had the money for an air purifier. So I went to the doctor and had a CT scan, which ended up disabling me. The day after the scan, I turned on that the air conditioning, which had been making me feel sick so I hadn’t used it, and it was better. I used that and indoor plants for a bit then bought the blue air 600 series, which immediately helped a lot. I recovered my health except for the effects of the scan, and I was as healthy as I’d ever been since 2006. After that the air purifier worked well to keep the fumes down and the flat felt comfortable to me. But I gradually developed serious neurological illness (ME/CFS) . I assume this was from the scan but I can’t rule out chemical exposure at a lower level than reactivity but still enough to injure me permanently. The flat was mould free but the furniture wasn’t, but although that might have affected my sleep. I don’t think mould was the issue at that time: mainly either radiation or new building chemicals. So the air purifier helped a lot and it’s possible buying it earlier would have prevented me from becoming disabled. But the jury is out.”

 

E.L. Foust:

” I have an EL Foust and I’m not convinced it does anything at all.”

 

EnviroKlenz:

“I’ve used the EnviroKlenz very successfully for VOCs (camped in a smokey campground, and it kept the air inside the tent clean enough to be there without reactions). Also continue to use it indoors, and it has appeared to improve frequency of sicknesses. It’s been somewhat helpful for a relative in a moldy work environment to make it slightly more tolerable.”

 

GermGuardian:

“I have four Germ Guardians and I think they do help a lot. Also last summer we had forest fires and bad bad smoke all summer they kept the house clean smelling and fresh.”

“Germ Guardian gave me weird symptoms so don’t know what that was about.”

 

Honeywell:

“We have a Honeywell with 3 Hepa filters. When the filters need to be changed I definitely notice it with my allergies. (I have 2 cats and became allergic because of toxic mold in our old apartment). As far as mold, I’m not sure because I’m in a place that has pretty low levels.”

“Before I started avoiding mold on the road I had two Honeywell hepa filter air purifiers running in the two best for me rooms of the friends house I was staying at. The purifiers definitely helped, but they did not make the environment non toxic for me, just somewhat less toxic. Unfortunately when I needed to replace the HEPA filters, the new ones had a tiny odor I could not tolerate with my MCS at the time, even after I left them for awhile in a hot sun car with windows cracked.”

“I used Honeywells for years. I felt like they collected a lot of dust and some odors. They recently changed something in their replacement HEPA filters and are impossible to off-gas. I contacted the company and they said they would look into it, but never came back with an answer. They sent me several new filters to try, but all were bad. I would not recommend Honeywell anymore. I know another avoider had a similar experience sadly. We will have to by new machines or do without.”

“About Honeywell filters. Very strong odor. One Amazon replacement filter order I couldn’t stand- burnt my face so it had to go. Next one bought in a store- no burning but still strong offgasing.”

 

IQ Air:

“We just bought an IQair MultiGas system for our apartment. Our apt was the model, and mgmt pumped vanilla scent in here. Hubby and friends washed floor to ceiling with vodka and soap. Still here. I couldn’t move in. IQair saved the day! And now it’s keeping me safe from the smoke from wildfires. It’s supposed to capture mold, but this apt tested at nearly 0, so not sure about that. I feel great in here!”

“I have an IQ Air that helped immensely w the wildfire smoke we experienced this summer. It was also very helpful when the Salt Lake Valley where we lived would get pollution inversions. A measurable result I can relate is that the already low HERTSMI 2 score went down 4 points after using the IQ Air in our small apartment for a few months. We have since moved into a bigger place that requires a second air purifier. I recently bought an Air Oasis (the new technology w out ozone) to put up in my bedroom loft. It’s only been a few days but so far I love it, the air feels like clean, sweet mountain air to me.”

“I had IQ Air in an apartment and it took all odors away and made things less dusty and more fresh. I also had it in my mold apartment where I think it probably saved my life, but I can’t be sure. I can’t compare that apartment to not having it on. Out of mold in my new apartment, the Molekule helps with VOC’s profoundly. Sometimes we turn it off accidentally I will be in significant discomfort after a few hours without it. If I put it on boost, it clears everything. I keep in on in my bedroom 24/7 and on boost when I wake up for about 6 hours.”

“I have one multigas IQ Air. I breathe better in the room it is in.”

“We had IQ Air come used.”

IQ Air is the only I have tried that made the air feel better (not great but noticeably better) when it was on (in a moldy house). I suspect because it filters out smaller particles than most of the other ones and it is just a lot bigger than most. Other one’s I have tried over the years include Austin Air, Blue Air, Areox, EL Foust, basic Honeywell HEPA.”

“IQ Air is amazing – just got one two days ago. Had used Austin Airs for years and they are excellent but the IQ air is quieter and seems to clean the air completely.”

 

Molekule:

I have a Molekule. What I like is that it is quiet and the filters are very reasonable in price. It works to the extent that the filters are very dirty…so it’s capturing something. Not sure what. Do not feel any better though. Have had it over a year. Also still in mold so take that into consideration.”

 

Vornado:

“I am currently living in the Midwest and find that in the summer, there is a lot of mildly toxic mold (apparently Fusarium) in the outdoor air. If I use an air filter inside, the indoor air feels better to me than the outside air, apparently because it is filtering out the spores. This is not super toxic mold. It is only mildly toxic.  Regular HEPA filters such as Honeywell work for this purpose, and I think the Vornado works better. Filters also make the house less dusty in general. If I were living in a city, I would want an air filter that could filter out pollution, for general health reasons. My experience in using air filters in places with “Mystery Toxin” is similar to Erik Johnson’s – that it very briefly feels better but then within a few days, the whole machine (not just the replaceable filter) becomes permanently contaminated and thus the worst item in the house. So I would not use a filter for that.”

“I bought a Vornado and felt improvement when on high power. I sleep much better with it.”

 

Winix:

“I have two Winix brand for bedrooms. seems helpful to me for general air allergen reduction, air is better/ crisper feeling using them, but a small difference not miracle level. I feel like it’s neutral on molds, probably not capturing any but also not spreading through the air.”

“I tried a Winix. Went terribly. It kept defaulting to using ozone or a red light and I felt like I had had direct mold just….sick as a dog. I’ve tabled getting one for now – we are doing pretty well and avoiding cross contamination. I plan to get ones for wherever we move next when we can buy a home. It won’t be a Winix though.”

“Winix hr950 is inexpensive and the counts will go to zero. Can’t get any better than this…”

 

Miscellaneous:

“I have one AtmosAir and two Sanuvox. They’ve been useful when used together. It seems that they neutralize the by-products created by each other. Which was a super find for me!”

“I used IQ Air and Air Oasis together (though always air out room and turn off Air Oasis an hour before using space). Definitely make the air cleaner and easier to breathe. Helped using the IQ Air in the mouldy house which had some Aspergillus strains and lots of pullulans. Cleans the air reasonably (impressively to my partner and I can actually see a reduction in dust) in current home which seems to have bacterial contamination from rats, possibly some mycotoxins – but still does not make it clean enough for me to live in the home!”

“I’ve yet to see a purifier that results in measurable decreaes in volatile compounds. Opening windows does this, but air purifiers don’t. Many filters are very good at filtering particles and isn’t hard to get an indoor space under 5 ug/m3 of PM2.5/PM10. I think many of us are more affected by volatile compounds (and perhaps nanoparticles) than particles that are easily scrubbed from the air. If you still live in a water damaged building with lots of mold spores, purifiers and ideas below probably won’t be sufficient. If you want clean air, mop your floors, vacuum with a Shark Navigator LiftAway Pro or Miele, clean your air ducts and AC coils, and change your furnace filter monthly with a high quality 3M filtrete filter or better to prevent contamination of the AC system. Treat the condensate pan and condensation lines with AC pan-tablets. Avoid floors made out of synthetic materials, soft woods, or noxious stains and choose cabinetry and furniture carefully. Clean drains with bleach and/or lye. Non-corrosive compounds are needed to Treat sinks with disposal systems. Leave front load washing machines open after each use and periodically use a descaler, bleach, and clean rubber gaskets. No products with fragrances or other noxious compounds that don’t dissipate. These steps will help lower particulates, mold spores, chemical VOCs, and microbial VOCs. Once harmful volatile compounds are introduced into the indoor environment, no purifier or air scrubber that I’m aware of is sufficient in scrubbing the compounds. Particulates on the other hand are easy to mitigate. Avoiding putting things that outgas in your environment and opening windows is the best way to mitigate indoor volatile compound pollution.”

“I have owned a Molekule, an IQ Air, and an Austin Air that I have been unhappy with. I seem to be very sensitive to the filter media itself, or the glue used to secure the pleats. I returned the IQ Air because it hadn’t offgassed after two month, and bought an Austin. I let the all metal Austin Air offgass for a year, and still I couldn’t run it, so I gave it to a friend. The Molekule made my lungs burn and hurt so much when the UV/PCO light was on, that I returned it after two weeks. The Molekule also killed my hermit crabs after running it in the same room they were in (the living room) 10 feet away for eight hours. The HEPA filters I like best are Kenmore or Whirlpool brand. I tolerate their filters the best. I wish I could tolerate the IQ air. The studies done on them are amazing. I might buy another one and just let it offgass for several years.”

The QuietPure was a waste of money. And Honeywell is okay but smells funky.”

 

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