Air purifiers are gaining popularity due to their numerous benefits. They are available in various shapes and sizes, from multiple manufacturers who offer different prices from affordable to luxury. With increasing concerns about air pollution and indoor air quality, air purifiers are becoming an essential home appliance.
Since indoor air does not naturally circulate as much as outdoor air, airborne contaminants tend to really thrive. Breathing clean air is essential for your health and comfort. As research shows that the average American spends about 70% of their time indoors, having an air purifier can help improve your indoor air quality.
What Is an Air Purifier
Air purifiers are appliances that help to remove air contaminants from your indoor air. These contaminants include pollen, dirt, dust, mold, dust mites, pet dander, paint fumes, ragweed, second hand-smoke, pesticides, and volatile organic compounds. Air pollutants can cause health issues such as aggravate symptoms in people living with asthma, neurological problems, and respiratory problems.
How Air Purifiers Work
There are two ways in which air purifiers clean the air, either passive or active. Active air purifiers use electrostatic precipitation or ionization to clean the air. Passive air purifiers use filters that are considered more efficient in trapping and removing pollutants from the air. The filters capture the contaminants as air moves through to your living space. Generally, filters are made of fiberglass, fiber, paper, or mesh and require regular replacement to remain efficient.
HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorber) filters are the most effective filtration method. They can trap up to 99.97% of particles, including some viruses and bacteria that are as small as 0.3 microns. On the other hand, ionization filters work by producing ions that disperse through the air and attach to pollutants. The pollutants particles then become heavy and fall from the air into the surface, where they must be dusted or vacuumed.
Portable Air Purifiers Vs. Whole House Air Purifiers
There are several types of portable air purifiers with basic models using a fan to force air through a filter to trap contaminants. They can have high-grade HEPA filters that remove even the smallest particles. Basic models include electronic air purifiers, UV, and carbon-filter.
Whole-house air purifiers are a quiet and easy option that works with no fuss. Basic models include germicidal UV lamps that eliminate mold spores and bacteria. Some models such as in-duct and object cleaner can be added to your HVAC system. An object cleaner is installed next to your air conditioner’s coil and produces UV light that kills biological contaminants before they enter your ventilation system.
A UV in-duct air purification system is installed in the air ducts and produces vaporized hydrogen that eliminates fungus, germs, odors, and mold spores.
Benefits of Air Purifiers For Improving Air Quality
Removes Asthma Attacks Triggers and Eliminate Allergens
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says that 1 in 12 people suffer from asthma attacks. People who have asthma are considered high priority public health risk inside their homes since indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air. Asthma triggers include carbon monoxide, dust, dirt, air-freshening sprays, household cleaners, dry skin cells, paint products, hairsprays, smoke, perfumes, and cosmetics.
Other sources of triggers include pet dander, new carpets, and mold spores. Air purifiers remove these air pollutants and help to reduce asthma triggers. You can vacuum your carpet bed and floors to reduce these contaminants. Other actions include dehumidifying your indoor air since mold thrives in a humid environment.
Allergens such as pollen, dust, pet odor, or dirt can cause an allergic reaction when inhaled. Air purifiers help to eliminate allergens that trigger allergies.
Eliminate Harmful Chemicals
Your indoor air is prone to harmful gasses such as carbon monoxide and nitrogen dioxide. According to research by the National Library of Medicine, prolonged exposure to nitrogen dioxide and carbon monoxide can increase the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Carbon monoxide is a colorless and odorless gas that is toxic. When exposed to a concentrated amount of gas, it can lead to headache, shortness of breath, dizziness, increased heart rate, unconsciousness, high blood pressure, lung disease, loss of mental abilities, and even death.
Cleaning agents in your home contain toxic chemicals such as chlorine, ammonia, and phthalates that can lead to serious health issues when exposed for long periods. They can lead to health issues such as cancer, tumor, cancer, neurological and cardiovascular disorders. Air purifiers that use activated carbon can eliminate these chemical pollutants and boost your health.
Neutralizes Unpleasant Odors
Volatile Organic Compounds such as Benzene, gasoline, and formaldehyde break down at room temperature and release unpleasant odors. They are usually found in aerosol sprays, paints, air fresheners, and upholstered furniture. The lousy odor given off by VOCs can lead to breathlessness, nausea, and a decline in cognitive functions.
According to a study by NIH, high levels of VOCs in your indoor air can inhibit performance and productivity. Air purifiers with carbon and HEPA filters effectively absorb the smell and improve your indoor air quality.
Removes Harmful Radon and Asbestos Particles
Building materials such as soil, rocks, and granite have uranium, a radioactive element that produce radon gas. Radon is an odorless and colorless gas that can damage the lungs’ cell linings and lead to cancer. Air purifiers with activated carbon and HEPA filters can eliminate radon gas and its harmful effects.
Older homes have asbestos roofing materials that shed materials and asbestos dust. These asbestos particles can lead to lung diseases when inhaled. Symptoms of asbestosis include tissue scarring, loss of appetite, swelling in the face or neck, and difficulty in swallowing. It can also lead to lung cancer. HEPA air purifiers can help eliminate asbestos particles and protect you from asbestosis.
Improves Sleep and Increases Life Expectancy
Indoor air pollutants such as fungi, bacterial, and dust mites can trigger hay fever and allergies. This may cause a running nose that may last for a very long time. Other symptoms include frequent sneezing, nose congestion, coughing, sore throat, and watery eyes. These symptoms can disrupt your sleep affecting your productivity the following day. An air purifier can help to avoid these disruptions and improve the quality of your sleep.
Indoor air pollution can affect your respiratory, cardiac, and neurological systems. Gases and chemicals from various household products can enter your lungs or penetrate the blood-brain barrier. This can lead to a decline in cognitive ability and brain functions. An air purifier eliminates these particles and improves your indoor air quality.
Reduces the Chances of Airborne Disease
Airborne diseases such as the flu and common cold are spread through tiny pathogens suspended in the air. These diseases are very infectious, and if one family member gets the flu, it can quickly spread to the rest of the family. Air purifiers with HEPA filters eliminate viruses and bacteria and help to protect your family from airborne diseases. If you live with small children, elderly people, or a person with a weakened immune system, it is crucial that you have an air purifier.
Considerations When Choosing the Right Air Purifier
Choosing the right air filter can be an intimidating task. This is because there are numerous types of air purifiers that use different techniques to clean your air. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an air purifier.
Compare Your Needs with the Price
Since there are numerous types of air purifiers, each comes at a different cost. You need to determine your needs to find the ideal air purifier. You can choose an air purifier that focuses more on eliminating mold or one that focuses on allergens and odors. It is also crucial to consider the air purifier’s color, size, weight, and noise control.
After establishing your requirements and identifying your needs, you can go for the appropriate purifier at a reasonable price. If it uses filters, ask about the cost of replacing the filter and the frequency at which you need to replace it. The cost of maintaining the air purifier should guide you on which one to buy. The cost of purifiers varies depending on their purpose.
HEPA filters are highly effective in trapping particles and purifying the air. They can remove about 99% of air pollutants such as pet dander, mold spores, pollen, and dust mites. However, they consume a lot of energy and not very effective in eliminating odors and tobacco smoke.
Clean-Air Delivery Rate (CADR)
The clean-air delivery rate is the speed at which the air purifier can remove air contaminants in a particular size room. The three common types of air pollutants include smoke, dust, and pollen particles. Smoke particles are microscopic and range between 0.1 to 0.3 microns. Dust particles range from 0.5 to 3 microns, while pollen particles vary from 5 to 11 microns. Air purifiers with high CADR can purify the air more quickly.
The clean-air delivery rate is measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM). The association of Home Appliance Manufacturers sets the basic CADR standards for air purifiers. The average CADR is 300 to 400 for average-sized rooms.
Air Change Per Hour (ACH)
The air change per hour shows the number of times the air volume in a room gets filtered per hour. A purifier with a high ACH has higher efficiency. People who suffer from allergies and asthma attacks should choose purifiers that have high ACH ratings. This will ensure that the indoor air is filtered at a higher rate, reducing the chances of having contaminants in your indoor air.
Some types of air purifiers clean indoor air by generating ozone in the filtration process. When exposed to ozone gas for prolonged periods, it can damage your respiratory system. It is crucial that you check whether the air purifier produces ozone gas before buying.
Air purifiers have different specifications that allow them to clean air in rooms according to specific sizes. Your air purifier must be compatible with your room size. Otherwise, it will consume a lot of energy. This will lead to high energy bills and less efficiency.
The noise level of a purifier will affect the level of home comfort, especially while sleeping. Typical air purifiers with HEPA filters have a noise level of between 35 to 70 decibels. The noise a purifier produces depends on your operation settings. You can set your purifier at a lower setting so that it produces a lower noise level.
The cost of air purifiers depends on the brand, the maximum room size it can filter, and the type of filters. Another critical factor that you should consider is the maintenance cost. The frequency at which you replace the filters will determine the maintenance cost of your purifier. Purifiers with HEPA filters cost more to run, while those with UV lights have Washable filters that consume more energy. This may lead to high energy costs.
Asthma and Allergy Friendly Certifications
The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, in association and Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), has a certification program that tests air purifiers to ensure they remove air contaminants. Air purifiers that have passed this test bear asthma and allergy-friendly mark that proves the product is suitable for allergy sufferers.
1. What are the benefits of air purifiers?
Air purifiers have many benefits, including removing the source of allergies and asthma. They also help in eliminating harmful allergens and toxic gasses in your indoor air. An air purifier can help to improve the quality of your indoor air, health, and home comfort. Other benefits include removing unpleasant odors, neutralizing smoke, and preventing airborne germs from spreading.
2. What does an air purifier do for your room?
Air purifiers remove contaminants from the air in your room to improve the quality of the air. The contaminants include pollen, dust, dirt, mold, dust mites, paint fumes, ragweed, pet dander, secondhand smoke, and pesticides.
3. Are air purifiers a waste of money?
No, air purifiers work to improve your indoor air quality by eliminating air pollutants.