At Mold and Mildew Solutions LLC, we are often asked our professional opinion about a wide variety of issues about moisture and mold in the home. Here are some of the questions we get asked most often, along with our tested answers and guidance.
Particles 101: (Warning NERD ALERT!) A micron is a millionth of a meter. What does that mean? Particles on furniture and those in a shaft of light are approximately 50 microns or larger. Most harmful particles are 3 microns or fewer in size. Particles of 1 micron or less adhere to surfaces by molecular adhesion. (Translation: Small junk floating in the air are too small to see) Scrubbing is generally the only way to remove them. Larger particles tend to settle out of the atmosphere due to weight. Smaller, "respirable" particles remain virtually suspended in the air until breathed in. Approximately 98-99% of all particles by count are in the size range of 5 microns or less. These particles tend to remain in suspension or settle out so slowly that only quality electronic air cleaners and HEPA air cleaners are effective in removing these particles.
An average person breathes in about 16,000 quarts of air per day. Each quart contains some 70,000 visible and invisible particles. That's over a billion particles per day that our lungs must filter out! An average human red blood cell is approximately 5 microns in diameter. The average diameter of human hair is roughly 0.0035 inches in diameter, equivalent to 75 microns.
Is it possible to completely eliminate mold from the inside of a home or office building? The Mildude’s short answer to that question would be, NO. However, though, the answer depends upon what is meant by “completely eliminate mold.” To keep a building completely free of mold spores requires very efficient air filtration and is only accomplished in special situations like hospital operating rooms and manufacturing “clean rooms.” Remember, mold spores are in the outside air virtually all the time and some of them will get inside buildings.
However, it is possible to keep mold from growing inside a building. Moisture control is the key to controlling mold in interior spaces. Air filtration can contribute to lowering mold spores in the air but is secondary to moisture control.