You’d think that your home is the safest place to breathe in the fresh air. But, the United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) reports that some indoor air pollutants are up to 2-5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations. Considering that most people spend about 90 percent of their time indoors, these facts can be quite worrying. So, when you hear that air purifiers can help get rid of impurities in the air, it can be interesting and exciting. But, do air purifiers really work for home use?
Indoor Air Quality
Before we get into details, it's important to understand what indoor air quality is and the factors that affect it. Simply put, indoor air quality is the quality of the air in a home, office, school, or any other building environment. Pollutants that affect indoor air quality come mainly from the source within the building, although some originate from outside.
Some of the indoor sources of pollutants include:
Building materials like asbestos fibers released from building insulation or chemical off-gassing from pressed wood products
Combustion by-products, e.g., tobacco, coal heating, fireplaces, cooking appliances, which release harmful combustion by-products such as carbon monoxide directly into the indoor air.
Outdoor pollutant sources include:
Harmful smoke from chimneys that re-enter the home
Contaminated groundwater and soils can also enter buildings
Volatile chemicals in water supplies
Radon can enter buildings through cracks or gaps in structures
Some of the effects of pollutants on human health include:
Eye, nose, and throat irritation
Respiratory diseases, cancer, and heart disease
Do Air Purifiers Work?
Makers of air purifiers claim this to be the next best solution for ridding indoor air of pollutants. But are they reliable? The short and basic answer is yes. Air purifiers basically work by sanitizing the air, which may contain toxins and allergens, among other pollutants. They work opposite of humidifiers and oil diffusers, which add particles to indoor air. Air purifiers, unlike air filters, go a step further in removing and sanitizing the particles.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
Air purifiers typically consist of a filter, or multiple filters, plus a fan that sucks in and circulates air. Now, as the air moves through the filter, pollutants and particles are captured, and the clean air is pushed back out into the indoor air. The filters can be made of fiberglass, paper, or mesh, and will require replacement for efficiency.
What Do Air Purifiers Filter Out, And Are They Effective?
Air purifiers are designed to capture a variety of particles found indoors, including dust, smoke, and pollen, to mention a few. With the right kind of air purifier - like those with a HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate) filter - they can filter particulate out of the air quite effectively. When you vacuum your carpets, bed, and floors, you eliminate most of these pollutants. But, some of them remain suspended in air, and that’s what you breathe in, which increases the chances of developing respiratory diseases like asthma.
HEPA filters can filter out particles up to 0.03 microns (0.3 micrometers or 300 nanometers) in size. Most viruses vary in diameter from 20 nanometers (0.02 microns) up to 400 nanometers (0.4 microns). There are different versions of air purifiers. While some are made with filters to trap particles as air runs through them, others neutralize particles in the air without filtering them first. Some types of air purifiers emit negative ions which attract positive ion particles in the air, neutralizing them.
It’s a fact that air purifiers work. However, for more effectiveness, it's advisable to complement it with a filter and other strategies to help remove all kinds of pollutants from indoor air.
Benefits of Using Air Purifiers
People with asthma will benefit greatly from using air purifiers since they remove allergens that might trigger asthma attacks. With continued use, chances that you might get allergic reactions are greatly reduced.
Air purifiers can help reduce high humidity issues in your living space, hence reduce the number of mold spores, which lead to the spread and growth of mold. Some types of air purifiers can remove 99 percent of bacteria and viruses on surfaces, reducing the risk of infections.
Top Air Purifiers in the Market
iWave Air Purifier
This device is designed to easily fit in any duct air conditioning system. When air passes over the iWave Air Purifier, ions produced by the device reduce pathogens, smoke, odors, and other particles, leaving you with clean fresh air. The unit is maintenance-free, with no replacement parts.
MeacoClean CA-HEPA 76X5
MeacoClean CA-HEPA 76X5 is one of the best out there. It features a compact design and comes with smart controls and air-quality sensors, which displays colored lights to give a visual of the air quality. You can use the device’s companion app to track air quality, control it remotely, schedule usage, and even use voice control.
It has a three-layer filter, which includes HEPA and activated charcoal, to catch microscopic particles and gases.
BlueAir Blue Pure 411
Air purifiers can be quite costly. But the BlueAir Blue Pure 411 is quite affordable at $119.99 on Amazon. It's simple to use and ideal for a single 15m2 room. It has three power levels that you can set by simply tapping on a button. The high power filters the air faster but can be noisy.