In the wake of Hurricane Irene, many homeowners are turning to air purifiers such as the IQAir HealthPro Plus to remove airborne mold spores while cleaning up continues. Molds are microscopic fungi and become airborne pollutants in both indoor and outdoor air. Mold can trigger asthma attacks and other respiratory problems. Mold spores in the air eventually land and, when they land on a spot with moisture, they grow. A high-efficiency air purifier can remove mold spores from the air, but the only way to stop mold from growing is to remove the source of moisture upon which the mold is feeding.
There’s not much you can do when your home is under a few feet of water. As of late Tuesday, thousands of homes remained partially submerged from floodwater as the result of Irene. Meanwhile, more than 2.5 million people couldn’t run their air purifiers even if they wanted to, because electricity remains unavailable. From North Carolina to Vermont, floodwater is beginning to recede only today, setting the stage for the cleanup that comes next. As evacuated homeowners return, mold will be among the top problems they face.
“During a flood cleanup, the indoor air quality in your home or office may appear to be the least of your problems,” warns one website published by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. The agency says failure to deal with immediate issues such as removing contaminated materials can have long-term health consequences. Removing standing water is a priority and, once power is safely restored and the standing water is gone, a dehumidifier will help in tandem with an air purifier. Until then, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that all electrical equipment and appliances must be completely dry before returning them to service. And yet another indoor air quality hazard occurs when homeowners run gas-powered equipment indoors. The result could be carbon monoxide poisoning. Take heed.
As the home or apartment continues to dry out, an air purifier will help keep the air at home clean from mold spores and other airborne triggers that can cause allergic reactions or asthma. Moisture may also have collected in your heating and air conditioning system, even if components were not submerged – for example in supply ducts. If you suspect that is the case, contact a professional to inspect your system. Also, running an air purifier on its highest speed will help deliver adequate amounts of clean air to prevent breathing problems from being added to your post-flooding problems.