Air purifiers are an integral part of the lives of many people who have allergies or asthma. They help to clean the air and keep it fresh so that those with sensitivities can breathe easier. But do they work? This article discusses whether or not these machines live up to their hype in terms of helping to clean your air and making you feel better.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
How an air purifier works can vary from one model to the next. One of the simplest types is a basic electrostatic precipitator, which creates static electricity by corona discharge and draws in dirt particles with enormous force. However, these machines are not very efficient at filtering out formaldehyde or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs)1. They’re also rather noisy because they operate on some fan that has to be turned on continuously to work, even while you sleep.
Another popular device uses ultraviolet light emitted through a high-efficiency particulate filter like HEPA (high-efficiency particle arresting) technology; this kills dust mites and prevents them from spreading throughout your home. It also filters out VOCs and pollutants, but this type of purifier is very expensive to operate because its UV bulbs need constant replacement.
The third type of air filter uses a carbon pre-filter that absorbs chemical particles like acids or toxins before entering the HEPA filter (although some people think this might not be a good idea). This allows you dry particulate matter to pass through while trapping gases and vapors from things like paint fumes or cooking odors—which may seem more desirable than having them broadcast in your house all day long.
Some models are equipped with an ionizer, which removes positively charged ions from the environment by releasing negative ones into it; these negative ions supposedly create cleaner indoor air by neutralizing particulates, allergens, and other airborne pollutants.
What Are Air Purifiers Supposed to Filter Out & Do They Do It?
Theoretically, any machine with a HEPA2 filter should remove most of the dust and other particulate matter from the air. However, some people claim that these devices are not doing their job because they release more pollutants into the environment than before. HEPA filters may look clean on one side but be dirty on the other due to trapped particles being released back into your home; if this repeatedly happens over time without you realizing it, then you could have much dirtier indoor air than when you started using an air purifier in the first place.
Some models also emit ozone gas which can cause respiratory problems for those who suffer from conditions like asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease). Some say that these devices are making allergies worse by releasing more allergens into the environment.
Can Air Purifiers Filter the Outdoor Air That Enters Your Home?
Air purifiers can’t filter outdoor air that enters your home. The difference is that the particles are much larger and don’t have as great a surface area, so they won’t stick to surfaces like those smaller particulates inside your house, which end up stuck on top of furniture or other objects in the rooms you spend time. The only way to filter out outdoor air is with a high-efficiency particle filter like HEPA. Still, this type of cleaner can’t eliminate the VOCs and chemicals in that environment.
What Is a HEPA Filter?
HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate arresting.” This type of filter is made up of a series of thin, rectangular sheets which are enclosed by an outer sheet. The air passes through the HEM filter in one direction and becomes trapped on these sheets. The HEPA filter can then capture 99.97% of particles that are 0.03 microns or larger, including dust mites, mold spores, pet dander, pollen grains, asbestos fibers, and smoke from tobacco products.
HEPA filters also remove bacteria such as E-coli3 and salmonella because these can grow on the particle surfaces within a home’s air. One downside to HEPA filters is they’re not suitable for removing chemicals like formaldehyde or other volatile organic compounds (VOCs). They’re also noisy because they operate on some fan which needs to be turned constantly while you sleep; this makes them less than desirable if your bedroom is near where the purifier will be used. HEPA filters are also expensive to replace, and they can’t be washed in chemicals like dishwashing detergent (although you should vacuum these filters periodically). If the HEPA filter becomes dirty or clogged, it will need to be replaced with a new one.
Should I Buy an Air Purifier?
Only you can answer this question. If your home has many allergies, then air purifiers may be worth the investment because they’re designed to remove particulate matter4 from the environment. However, if you’re only looking to remove smoke or dust from the air, then it may be better for you to use a HEPA filter in your central heating and cooling system instead. An air purifier is somewhat of an investment because it can cost anywhere between $200-$500; if one breaks down during its warranty period, then it will need repair or replacement, which could make this purchase less attractive in the long run.
Suppose you have allergies, asthma, COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease), heart diseases like chronic respiratory failure, or congestive heart conditions aggravated by poor indoor air quality. In that case, an air purifier might not be worth the money for you depending on how much time each day you spend at home.
What Should I Look For in an Air Purifier?
If you’re looking for an air purifier, then make sure it has HEPA filter technology. You’ll also want to find one capable of removing both particulate matter and chemicals from the environment (although a true HEPA filter only removes particles). The best way to test out what your potential purchase might be like would be to visit a store or showroom where they sell these devices so you can see them in person before shelling out any money.
When choosing between brands, you should also look at warranties because every product will have some warranty on its parts and labor; this includes expensive replacement filters and the device itself.
What Are Other Ways I Can Improve the Air Quality in My Home?
Air purifiers aren’t the only way to improve air quality in your home; you can also purchase a high-efficiency particulate filter which is often attached to an HVAC5 system. One option for improving indoor air quality would be using lemon juice or vinegar with water on surfaces that might release chemicals into the environment like wood floors, vinyl flooring, and furniture covers. There may not be any solution that’s perfect for everyone because we all have different needs for our homes’ environments.
But if you’re looking for something simple and cheap, then HEPA filters are likely the best choice since they remove 99% of particles from rooms where people spend time (especially bedrooms).
How Can I Tell if My Air Purifier Is Working?
You’ll know that your air purifier is doing its job when the particle counts in a room decrease.
You can also use an app like Radian to test for particles which will let you see how much particulate matter there are before and after running your device with HEPA filter technology on high; this way, you’ll have a more accurate reading of whether or not it’s truly removing all contaminants from the environment.
Do Air Purifiers Really Reduce Allergens?
Yes, air purifiers are designed to remove allergens from the environment.
However, if you have asthma or allergies and need a device that can control chemicals in addition to particles like pollen, then you’ll also want one with activated carbon filters because they’re capable of removing certain types of contaminants.
How Can an Air Purifier Work When Particles Are Too Small to See?
Even if you can’t see particles in the air, they still exist and need to be reduced when breathing becomes difficult. An air purifier can trap particles like dust, pollen, and pet dander to make sure that you’re not breathing them in when they are released into the environment.
Does Air Quality Really Improve When Using an Air Purifier?
Using an air purifier will improve indoor air quality by removing pollutants from the environment so you can breathe easier.
But it’s not a perfect solution because there are still particles in those environments that could affect your health, such as chemicals released into the atmosphere through furniture and flooring choices.
People use air purifiers for a variety of reasons. Whether you live in a dusty area, have pets or allergies, or want to make your home smell better, many different benefits come from installing an air purifier in your home. They can help improve the quality and clarity of the air we breathe by removing dirt particles and allergens from the air before they reach our lungs. It’s also important to note how much money you will save on medical bills down the line because some people with respiratory problems rely on these devices as their only way to manage those conditions.