According to research from MIT, air pollution causes about 200,000 early deaths a year in the U.S alone.
It’s also been linked to adverse health effects on the unborn, thus leading to pre-term births and life-long conditions like asthma and autism.
Ruminate on the other health hazards connected to breathing in everything from household cleaning products to dust, and purchasing a reliable air purifier seems like a no-brainer. Indeed, experts say that some of the newly released air purifier models can be very helpful.
However, despite these facts, one question remains, are air purifiers worthwhile, and should you get yourself one?
Well, here are some of the reasons why air purifiers are an asset in your home.
Air Purifiers- The Basics
Air purifiers are devices used to get rid of any contaminants in the air like – smoke, dust, odors, VOCs, pollen, and pet dander—by using various modes of air purification.
That said, there are five main types of air purifiers:
1. Air Filters
These use a paper, fiber, or mesh filter to trap unwanted particles like dust and dander. You also have to replace and clean the filters regularly if you want them to work correctly. These filters also include the High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters. So, if you’re looking to get rid of the dust in your home, be sure to check these out.
2. Electrostatic Air Filters
Electrostatic air filters use electrically charged panels or screens to trap particulates. They work similarly to the ionizers or the ion-generating air cleaners by attaching electrically charged ions to debris, dust, and other pollutants, making the particles bulkier and causing them to drop from the air.
3. Activated Carbon Filters
These types of filters get rid of gases and odors with activated carbon or a similar product. You can’t find them in most home air purifiers, they often have a short lifespan, and they may not get rid of specific gases carbon monoxide. Nevertheless, they help purify your air giving you a fresh and crisp environment.
4. UV Light Filters
UV light is designed to destroy biological impurities, like mold spores and bacteria, with ultraviolet light. Still, there’s no guarantee it can make your haven of comfort, your home, completely germ-free.
The light can’t get rid of particles, such as dust and dander, so you should use it in conjunction with a filtering device.
5. Ozone Generators
These either use the UV light or an electrical discharge to generate ozone, a gas that can lead to or aggravate serious health issues, including lung damage and asthma. Even though ozone is effective at eliminating mold spores, mildew, and other air impurities, you should only use these professionally in exceptional cases where other options won’t do the job.
Why Are Air Purifiers Essential Assets?
You won’t find a single air purifier that’s right for everyone. All you need to do is get one that will help solve your home’s atmospheric conditions. If you are prone to allergies, look for one that can get rid of all the allergens invading your space.
As you know, most air purifier models feature a fan that sucks air through a filter (or combination of filtering options) to clean it. So be sure to look out for one with a clean-air delivery rate (the measurement of its cleaning speed) of at least 300. Any air purifier with a frequency below 100 is just an overpriced fan. The higher the CADR, the more particles the purifier can eliminate, and the larger the room, you can reasonably expect the air purifying system to clean. According to some tests conducted by Consumer Reports, some purifiers are excellent at cleansing the air of particulates, like dust, pollen, mold spores, and smoke. Nonetheless, some units can get rid of all the gaseous pollutants from indoor air, including the notorious volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
A high-quality purifier might help those with allergies or other respiratory problems, though there isn’t sufficient medical evidence to connect all air purifiers with 100% improvement of your health.
In addition to the CADR, it’s imperative to look into the room size guidelines. Typically the more affordable air purifiers can only clean one room at a time—sometimes just your bedroom. What makes these systems worthwhile is that you can effortlessly move them from room to room for the best purification services. However, to filter the air in a more open area, you’ll probably have to look at the bigger, more expensive units or a household-wide system.
Moreover, you have to ensure that you clean and replace the filters often, or the system’s purifying power will be significantly diminished. If your model doesn’t come with a washable filter, you have to factor in the extra costs of replacements over the life of your unit—some of which can cost $100 or more per filter.
Some units also work under high fan speeds, which is also the noisiest setting that uses the most energy. Consumer Reports recommends that you get a more extensive air purification system and run it at a lower speed to minimize noise without sacrificing efficiency. Buying one that’s Energy-Star certified can also save you a couple of bucks.
Other Ways to Help Clean Your Air
As indicated above, air purifiers are an essential asset, but you can’t rely on them alone. According to the EPA, the most practical way to improve your indoor air quality is by minimizing pollutants and ventilating your home with outdoor air.
You can also try:
- Using a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean your home often and thoroughly
- Maintaining your HVAC system and replace or clean filters consistently
- Keeping your furry friends well-groomed to minimize shedding and dander
- Avoid smoking indoors, and limit the use of wood-burning fireplaces and candles
- Using exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom
- Taking off your shoes at the door to avoid tracking in pollen and other contaminants
- Avoid household items with VOCs like cleaners, paints, furniture
- Investing in household plants like the English Ivy, Snake plant, or the Peace Lily to help you deal with all the pollutants in your home
Before you go and shop for an air purifier, you have to consider other economical ways. If having an air unit is inevitable, however, you should ensure that you identify one that will offer you the best filtration for common pollutants in your home, and that is the right size for your space and favors your pockets.