Air Purifiers for Allergies, Do They Work? Here’s What You Need to Know
Air purifiers are known to filter out contaminants in the air. It’s used to improve the indoor air quality of homes and offices. But the question is this: air purifier for allergies, do they work? The short answer is it depends. It depends on the type of air purifier and filter inside it. Since it offers a promise of cleaning the air, many homeowners are going gaga over this device. But is it right for you?
Remember that air purifiers aren’t made equal. Some don’t live up to its marketing hype, so you have to be very careful with your choice.
In this post, we will discuss how air purifiers work, the benefits of using one, and the types that you may see in the market.
How do air purifiers work?
A basic air purifier has a filter and fan inside. The fan will suck the air in, which will pass through the filter. In this process, air contaminants will be trapped on the filter before the air is released back. The filters on these devices are usually paper-like and can either be disposable or washable.
Nowadays, you can find a variety of filters like HEPA, charcoal, and so on. Each one of these has a specific benefit and can be found on modern air purifiers.
Air purifiers can be used round-the-clock, but you’d have to replace to clean the filters periodically. Otherwise, trapped dirt will only recirculate and cause more problems. When this happens, turning an air purifier on becomes counterproductive.
Some modern purifiers have ionizers. This works by attracting negative ions and static to mix with allergens and dust. So when the dust gets trapped in the filter, the negative ions will also settle in the air purifier.
You can also look for an air purifier that filters smoke and deodorizes the air.
Particles that air purifiers filter
Air purifiers filter out a wide range of particulates in the air. The most common are pollen and dust since it’s larger, and almost any filter can trap it out of the air. Many air purifiers can filter smoke and odor, especially if it’s using a unique type of filter. Below, we discussed the most common types of air purifier filters and their purpose.
Air purifiers with advanced technology can filter VOCs or volatile organic compounds. VOCs come from off-gassing of various construction materials like paint and cleaning agents.
Take note that the efficacy of the air purifier depends on the environment on which it is used. You have to size up the air purifier on the size and level of contamination in the indoor air. A large house will require more than one purifier for the best results.
If you’re thinking of removing molds, you need more than an air purifier. You should look for an air purifier with a dehumidifier. These two devices complement each other.
Benefits of using air purifiers
There are many benefits to using an air purifier. The following are some of the perks you’ll get to enjoy when you use one:
Reduced allergens in the air
The biggest benefit of using air purifiers is it removes allergens in the air. This will prevent asthma attacks and other respiratory problems in your home.
Removing foul odor
Is there a foul odor in your home? If so, an air purifier will be a big help. You can use an air purifier with a charcoal filter to deodorize the air before it’s pushed back in the atmosphere. The bigger your home is, the more air purifiers you should put in place.
Prevents recurring respiratory problems
If your family members keep on having cough and colds, your home may have poor indoor air quality. Contaminants might be spreading in the air, which the occupants are inhaling.
Removes tobacco smoke in the air
Is someone smoking inside your property? If that’s the case, you should turn an air purifier on. Many modern air purifiers can filter out tobacco smoke so the people around won’t inhale it.
Arrests radon gas
Air purifiers also help in removing radon gas in the air. This gas is very deadly and responsible for up to 21,000 fatalities in the U.S. every year. It can accumulate on cracks and secluded spaces with poor ventilation.
Over time, radon gas will circulate in the air, which can be inhaled by the people around them. The most dangerous part about radon is it’s tasteless and odorless. You’ll not realize that you’re inhaling it unless you start experiencing symptoms of poisoning.
Types of air purifiers
There are many types of air purifiers nowadays. The following are the most common:
HEPA air purifiers
HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Air is one of the leading technologies in air purifiers. It can filter particles that are as small as 0.3 microns. This is equivalent to 99.97% of all particles being trapped in the filter.
A HEPA filter is made of fine fibers with very small openings. It’s the most effective type of filter so far. The only downside is that HEPA filters alone can’t filter out odors, gasses, and chemicals.
For big homes and properties, you must look for the best HEPA air purifier for large rooms. This is to ensure that the device can keep up with the filtration demand.
Ultraviolet air purifiers
UV air purifiers use a UV lamp to kill germs. It can destroy microorganisms like bacteria and viruses that could be lingering in the air. Also, it breaks down harmful molecules in the air like ozone into harmless components.
However, if you are to purchase a UV air purifier, you must check the wattage of the unit. You should look for one that has a decent time of exposure and light to disinfect the air.
Most UV air purifiers also come with a HEPA filter inside. This is to guarantee that no microorganisms get to go back into the atmosphere once the air is pushed back.
Ionic air purifiers
Ionic air purifiers produce negative ions to attract pollutants in the air. When the pollutants bond with the ion, it will settle into surfaces. The goal is to make the particulates heavier that it could no longer stay in the air.
However, this device is less of a ‘filter’ since it doesn’t suck the air. However, some variants are made with a HEPA filter. If you’re using a sole ionic air purifier, you should vacuum or wipe surfaces to get rid of the pollutants.
Activated carbon air purifiers
Next, there are activated carbon air purifiers. Usually, this device uses air filters infused with activated charcoal. This is the type of filter that deodorizes the air. It’s usually paired with HEPA filters in most modern air purifiers.
Activated carbon purifiers have disposable filters. The molecules will stick to the filter, and the air will be rid of malodors. Aside from that, it can also remove the kitchen odors, perfume, and off-gassing, which is an excellent choice for someone with a sensitive nose.
Electronic air purifiers
Lastly, there are electronic air purifiers. This is usually installed on the HVAC system of the property to work in conjunction with cooling and heating systems.
It uses a HEPA filter and can also come with activated carbon technology. Also, it has an ionic technology that also removes airborne impurities
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: How will I know that my air purifier is working?
A: If there’s air blowing out of the air purifier, it means that it’s working. Also, if the filters are getting dirty, it means that the device is really filtering out the dirt.
Q: Can I leave my air purifier on at night?
A: Yes, air purifiers can run all day long as long as you change the filters regularly. If possible, get more than one air purifier so you can alternate one with the other.
Q: How long does it take for an air purifier to clean indoor air?
A: Usually, an air purifier can clean the air inside a room for 30 minutes up to an hour. It depends on the size of your air purifier as well as the level of pollution.
Q: Can I turn an air purifier on with an open window?
A: You can turn it on, but with the windows open, the air purifier will not work as efficiently as with an enclosed area. It will just keep on filtering out the contaminants from the outside, which will speed up the accumulation of dirt.
Q: Will an air purifier help me sleep?
A: Yes, there are benefits of sleeping with the air purifier on. By purifying the air, there would be fewer irritants and allergens that may wake you up in the middle of the night.
Air purifiers are useful devices at home. It removes contaminants in the air, and some can even remove bad odors. By improving the indoor air quality of your home, the occupants will experience fewer allergies, asthma attacks, and other respiratory problems.