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Is an Air Purifier Good for Your Health?
Air purifiers can be beneficial for your health by removing pollutants, allergens, and irritants from the air in your home. Poor indoor air quality can cause or worsen various health issues, so using an air purifier is one way to help create a healthier home environment.
How Do Air Purifiers Work?
Air purifiers work by pulling air in and passing it through various filters to capture particles. Common filter types include:
- HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters – Designed to capture tiny particles like mold, dust, pollen, and pet dander. HEPA filters can remove over 99% of particles 0.3 microns or larger.
- Activated carbon filters – Absorb gases, odors, smoke, and chemicals from the air.
- UV light – Some air purifiers use UV light to kill airborne germs and bacteria.
- Negative ion generators – Release negatively charged ions to attract and trap positively charged particles like dust and allergens.
By filtering out these pollutants, air purifiers can help improve indoor air quality.
Benefits of Using an Air Purifier
Some key benefits of using an air purifier in your home include:
- Reducing allergy and asthma symptoms – By removing allergens like pollen, dust, pet dander, and mold from the air, air purifiers can provide allergy and asthma relief.
- Lessening exposure to airborne irritants – Air purifiers filter out particles like smoke, chemicals, and gases, reducing irritation to eyes, nose, throat, and lungs.
- Promoting better sleep – Cleaner air can help you breathe and sleep better at night.
- Lowering risk of airborne illnesses – Some air purifiers use UV light to kill airborne bacteria and viruses, lowering transmission risk.
- Eliminating odors – Activated carbon filters absorb household odors from cooking, pets, cigarettes, and more.
- Reducing dust buildup – By capturing airborne dust and allergens, air purifiers cut down on dust accumulation in your home.
Considerations When Choosing an Air Purifier
Keep the following factors in mind when selecting an air purifier for your needs:
- Room size – Choose an air purifier that’s appropriately sized for the room you want to use it in. A unit that’s too small won’t be effective.
- Type of filters – HEPA and activated carbon filters are most effective at removing a broad range of indoor pollutants.
- CADR rating – Higher CADR (clean air delivery rate) signifies greater particle removal efficiency.
- Noise level – If the air purifier will be used in a bedroom, look for quieter models.
- Automatic mode – Models with sensors that automatically adjust fan speed are convenient.
- Maintenance – Some filters need replacing regularly, which adds to long-term costs.
Where to Place an Air Purifier
Strategic placement of your air purifier can maximize its effectiveness:
- In the room where you spend the most time, like a bedroom.
- Near known sources of pollutants like litter boxes or fireplaces.
- Away from walls and furniture to allow air circulation.
- Elevated off the floor, like on a shelf or table.
- Near air vents for whole-house air cleaning.
Avoid placing air purifiers in corners or cramped spaces that impede air flow.
Potential Drawbacks of Air Purifiers
While air purifiers can provide cleaner indoor air, there are some drawbacks to consider:
- Upfront and maintenance costs can be expensive.
- Noise from fans can be disruptive for some.
- Some produce trace amounts of ozone, a lung irritant.
- Not a substitute for eliminating sources of pollution and proper ventilation.
- Requires diligent maintenance like changing filters.
Who May Benefit Most from an Air Purifier?
Some people who may benefit most from using an air purifier include:
- Individuals with allergies or asthma.
- Those sensitive to airborne irritants like smoke or chemicals.
- People who live in areas with high outdoor pollution levels.
- Households with pets or other allergen sources.
- Anyone wanting cleaner indoor air and improved air quality.
Talk to your doctor if you have questions about whether an air purifier may be helpful for your specific health needs. 1.
Types of Air Purifiers
There are a few main types of air purifiers to consider:
|How It Works
|HEPA air purifier
|Uses a HEPA filter to capture particles like pollen and pet dander
|Activated carbon air purifier
|Uses activated carbon filters to adsorb odors, smoke, chemicals
|UV air purifier
|Uses UV-C light to kill bacteria and viruses
Top Air Purifier Brands
Some top air purifier brands to consider include:
Coway – Known for HEPA purifiers with high CADR ratings and compact designs.
Whirlpool – Offers a variety of models including HEPA and combined HEPA/carbon filter units.
Honeywell – Carries portable, tower, and whole-house HEPA air purifier models.
- LG – Manufactures “smart” Wi-Fi enabled air purifiers that can be controlled via app.
Be sure to compare features carefully even among top brands to get the right air purifier for your situation.
7 Key Questions about Air Purifiers
1. Do air purifiers really work?
Yes, air purifiers are effective at removing particles, allergens, and pollutants from the air when used properly. Units with true HEPA filters can capture over 99% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
2. Do I need an air purifier for my home?
An air purifier can be beneficial if you experience allergy symptoms, live in an area with poor outdoor air quality, have indoor pollutant sources like pets or smoke, or just want to breathe the cleanest air possible indoors.
3. Where should I place an air purifier?
Put the air purifier in the room you spend the most time in, such as a bedroom. Avoid placing it in corners or directly against walls. Elevate it if possible and keep it away from any pollution sources.
4. How often do air purifier filters need changing?
Most HEPA filters need replacement every 6-12 months. Pre-filters can be changed every 3-6 months. Follow the manufacturer’s recommendations for your specific model.
5. Do air purifiers use a lot of electricity?
Air purifiers use 50-200 watts on average. Running one 8 hours per day costs $3-$12 per month depending on electricity rates and purifier size. Look for Energy Star models for efficiency.
6. Can air purifiers reduce COVID risk?
Air purifiers alone cannot prevent COVID-19 infection. However, they can filter coronavirus particles and may help lower airborne transmission risk when used with other precautions.
7. Are air purifiers safe for pets?
Air purifiers are generally safe to use around pets as long as the unit is sized appropriately for the room. Make sure your pet has an area to get away from the air flow if desired.
The Bottom Line
Using an air purifier is one way to help remove allergens, pollutants, and irritants from the air in your home. Air purifiers can benefit those with allergies or asthma, people living in areas with poor outdoor air quality, and anyone wanting cleaner indoor air.
Look for units with true HEPA filters sized appropriately for the room. Strategically place the purifier and maintain it according to manufacturer guidelines. While limitations exist, air purifiers can be a valuable investment for better home air quality and health. 1.