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Old 27-10-2008, 13:15   #1

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Air Purifiers and Mold, Dust, Etc.

We live aboard full time . Weve been fighting black mold aboard since moving in. Im sure this is pretty much a universal phenomena since every boat Ive had has had the same mold growth to some extent. Weve been looking into air purifiers and would like some first hand advice as to what is most proficient and efficient. Heres one Ive been leaning towards, Industrial Grade 2EWY1 Auto Air Purifier, 12V, Solar: Home Improvement

Not too worried about solar feature but the 12v and 10 watts hepa charcoal,and ion filter seem good.
Just sitting here with sun streaming in port and can see a lot of particles suspended in air. Cant be good to be breathing in constantly. How much do they help with mold formation, health problems?

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Old 27-10-2008, 13:58   #2
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I am a firm believer in using Tea Tree oil for Air purification.

We have tested this on large crewed yachts and after about 6 months of application of about a 10% solution to the air handlers, the chronic coughs just disappeared.

Google Tea tree air purifiers to learn more.

About Australian Tea Tree Oil

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Old 27-10-2008, 14:23   #3
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As far as filtering outside air I think you may be info a hard fight. I would doubt anything wold matter or make a difference. You can't filter the entire outdoors without some serious blowers running 24 x 7 and sealing all the hatches shut.

Home style air treatment systems work quite well when the house is sealed up. If you open all the windows in a house you can't install anything that will actually be a serious filtration system. Adding filters to air handlers is a totally different issue since the ducts themselves can breed problems. In that respect I would agree with Pelagic totally. Filtering the air that moves through ductwork is worthwhile. The basic filter systems have refined enough to remove particles that are quite small with just a basic paper filter. Electrostatic filters are mostly stone age technology compared to the newer paper filters that work better and have no mechanical parts to fail. Ion generators are more a sales pitch more than a solution. An Auto filter system with a solar panel would in most respects be worthless. At least the car is a closed sealed environment. My car uses a paper filter that will eliminate pollen.
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Old 27-10-2008, 15:09   #4
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Paul, Tea Tree Oil also works great just wiping down the inside of closets with a 10% solution about once a month or you can buy and place inside them… small gel-packs that will work for months
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Old 27-10-2008, 15:29   #5
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Steve, we have been successful using ozone generators to clean up odors and mold and mildew on the boat. You can rent them from a tool rental supply when you need it. Be careful and not run it when anyone is on board.
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Old 27-10-2008, 16:12   #6
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You need to kill the mold in you boat. Bleach wont work. Read hereTrask Research Mold Treatment and Healthcare Products
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Old 28-10-2008, 01:19   #7
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Originally Posted by fcsob View Post
You need to kill the mold in you boat. Bleach wont work. Read hereTrask Research Mold Treatment and Healthcare Products
Iíve had decent results with bleach if you let the bleach stand until the mold turns brown (about 10-30 min) before removing it. I then finish with a dusting of borax which also seems to help. But itís a fairly constant battle. So I wouldnít mind trying either the tea tree oil or that MX-500 stuff.
The thing that concerns me about the MX-500 comes from the MSDS:
Effects of Overexposure:
Skin: Skin irritant. Prolonged or repeated contact may cause
Eyes: Severe eye irritant. Liquid and mists may injure the eyes
causing corneal damage.
Inhalation: Mists are irritating to throat, nose and lungs.
Ingestion: Irritating to the mouth, throat, and gastrointestinal
system. Burning, pain, and diarrhea expected with
large doses.
The other product, Oxy-mold mold cleaner doesnít seem as hard on humans, but it doesnít seem to say it kills mold either, just cleans it. That makes since as one product is listed as a fungicide and other isnít.
Still, worth giving a try.


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Old 28-10-2008, 03:44   #8
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Honestly the only true way to destroy the mold would be with the ozone generator mentioned. Please look at this as the only serious option, as it will go everywhere that air can get, and utterly destroy anything living, including your mold. After that if you'd like to maintain, then please, by all means look at one of the topical coatings that is a fungacide. They can really work well, and are obviously a bit more portable than a large ozone generator. I would recommend wiping down all rubber products(seals, lines) with a silicone grease(sold in automotive stores to help maintain door seals) before the ozone application as it is an extremely strong oxidizer(bleach) and will cause premature aging in any rubber products. And of course, please follow all instructions you get with the ozone generator, especially airing out afterwards.

Foam rubber in seat cushions should be removed as well if possible. Just be sure to treat the surface of them as well, and the cloth shouldn't have enough time to bleach as long as you follow directions, but even if it does, it's more than worth it to get rid of that nasty mold issue. And if you feel the unit does not move around enough air, feel free to put in a fan to circulate the ozone.
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Old 28-10-2008, 05:04   #9
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Non-porous (e.g., metals, glass, and hard plastics) and semi-porous (e.g., wood, and concrete) materials that are structurally sound and are visibly moldy should be cleaned using a detergent solution.
All materials to be reused should be dry and visibly free from mold.

The use of gaseous, vapor-phase, or aerosolized biocides for remedial purposes is not recommended. The use of biocides in this manner can pose health concerns for people in occupied spaces of the building and for people returning to the treated space if used improperly. Furthermore, the effectiveness of these treatments is unproven and does not address the possible health concerns from the presence of the remaining non-viable mold (dead mold may still cause allergic reactions in some people, so it is not enough to simply kill the mold, it must also be removed).

Trask Research markets mold control products, such as Oxy-Mold etc. They are vendors, not researchers.

Available scientific evidence shows that, at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone is generally ineffective in controlling indoor air pollution.

The concentration of ozone would have to greatly exceed health standards to be effective in removing most indoor air contaminants. In the process of reacting with chemicals indoors, ozone can produce other chemicals that themselves can be irritating and corrosive.

The four steps to mold remediation are:
(1) CONTAIN the mold from spreading into uncontaminated areas
(2) KILL the mold
(3) REMOVE the dead mold
(4) PROTECT the cleaned out area against future mold infestations (moisture control & ventilation).
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Old 28-10-2008, 05:24   #10
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I had a friend with a severe mold problem in his boat. He used this product 2 years ago with great success.
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Old 28-10-2008, 05:54   #11
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If one chooses to use bleach to remove mold, it works better mixed with hot water and a bit of laundry soap. It is very important to reach the deepest recesses possible, under floor-boards and the undersides of same, the backs and particularly the undersides of the tops of lockers, the tops of moldings around doors, etc. Mold spoors are tenacious and will be lurking everywhere--particularly in the dust that collects in nooks and crannies and on fabrics (which should be thoroughly vacuumed at regular intervals).

It is also very important to rinse soap/bleach residue off with hot fresh water was thoroughly as possible. Bleach--sodium hypochlorite (NaClO)--works by breaking down and releasing a free oxygen ion that "oxidizes", or "burns" up, the mold. In doing so, however, salt (NaCl) residue, which is hydrophilic--i.e. attracts moisture--is left behind. This attracts water out of the air, which attracts mold spoors, which reproduce and the cycle repeats.

We have found that washing and thoroughly rinsing surfaces as described above, coupled with rubbing down and polishing the woodwork with lemon oil (which kills mold spoors), and thoroughly "fumigating" the boat with an ozone generator as described above works wonders to eliminate mold. We have also found that odors etc can be removed by using activated charcoal "deodorizers". Activated charcoal can be obtained in bulk from pet-shops the carry aquarium supplies. This can be poured into tubes made from lengths of lady's shear nylon stockings which can then be hung, or draped, in the backs of lockers, around hoses under the counters in heads etc. These are very effective at absorbing odors helping to eliminate mold and need only be replaced annually (they can actually be rinsed out a dried but since the stuff is so inexpensive, why bother?).


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Old 29-10-2008, 03:23   #12
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GordMay is right as usual. At concentrations that are safe for humans it indeed would do little for air quality, but the level generated is far beyond what you should be breathing when using one of these generators. You must leave during application, and vent properly before returning. Think of it as being like a bug bomb. Do be careful and as I said above, please follow the directions.
It is also, of course a great idea to clean off the dead mold, and apply a surface fungicide to keep from having a repeat of the same problem. But that alone will not stop the problem unless all the mold is somewhere it can be seen. It will simply be rinse, repeat. Then again if you don't get to the bottom of the condition that caused the favorable conditions to begin with, you'll have a repeat issue anyway. Of course removing the source of the moisture might pose a small problem for a boat. So the after surface treatments are a great idea to make the surface of your boat a less favorable environment (even the lemon oil raises the ph and smells nice to boot).

And svHyLyte has a great idea with the carbon, though it does become clogged after a point. You might consider Zeolite purchase instead, to recharge, simply lay it out in the sun or bake in the oven. Since most have a bit of access to the sun ocasionally, it's a great way to keep odors down, and never needs replacing. A bit of reading up will let you know all you need to about this wonderful natural stuff.

Read up before making any decisions, and check into the treatment for houses that have been flooded. Hopefully you'll learn enough to make the right decision for your home or hobby, as the case may be.
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Old 16-01-2009, 20:08   #13
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Gordmay is a stud. Wow, is there a question he can't answer?

I would say that an Air Purifier would definitely help the situation and prevent mold. I have an Austin Air HealthMate 400 and have it in the cabin where I use to get mold in between cushions and now haven't seen it in years. I purchased my latest at I would relook into this Gordmay.
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Old 17-01-2009, 00:39   #14
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Hello, all...
Mold is potentially dangerous, even lethal under certain circumstances. Some molds are toxic, some are allergens, and some are carcinogenic (Aspergillus). The best way to prevent mold is the opposite of the moist, warm environment that favors its growth: a dry environment is good prevention. Unfortunately, we're talking about boats....
Removing mold and its spores is important. detergents, quaternary ammonium salts, and bleach have all been used (see above cautionary statements about bleach). Dry mold can be removed with a HEPA filter-equipped vacuum (NOT a standard vacuum!). If you are wealthy enough, a high-capacity, continuous-duty HEPA filtration system can improve indoor air quality (not too practical on a boat). Any moldy porous organic susbstances (fabric, wood, etc...) need to be removed to prevent regrowth.
Regarding ozone generators: Ozone is a recognized air pollutant. It causes eye irritation, irritation of respiratory membranes, and can exacerbate asthma and even cause lung injury. An ozone generator should never be used in a small enclosed space where humans are living. The companies selling ozone generators to "improve air quality" are misleading their customers. It's true that ozone can destroy/oxydize organic compounds in the air.....but humans are organic as well!! So are many of the synthetic materials on a boat such as hoses, synthetic fabrics, plastics, etc. In my opinion, it's a poor choice on a boat.
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Old 17-01-2009, 00:48   #15
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BTW, I thoroughly agree with GordMay's analysis of this subject.

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