Air purifiers can help you breathe easy and clean. but our indoor air is equally contaminated if not more than outside air. We spend 80% of our time in our homes, schools, colleges, and offices and end up breathing toxic, stale, and unclear air.
What Are Air Purifiers?
Air purifiers help purify and cleanse the air inside your home, office, etc. These devices help remove contaminants from the air in a room to improve the air quality. They trap airborne pollutants like dust, dust mites, mold spores, chemicals, odors, toxins, but this depends on the technology used by the air purifier. Certain air purifiers are more adept and safer for trapping particles.
Different Types Of Air Purifiers
HEPA Filter: This filter is made of foam, fiberglass, cotton, or any other particle trapping material. HEPA stands for “High Energy Particulate Air.” It meets the standard of the Department of Energy for removing particles from the air. This filter can trap 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns. Most of the modern HEPA filters are fashioned with glass fibers that are twisted and turned in multiple directions to create a fibrous maze. As the particles travel through this maze, they are taken out of circulation through direct impaction, sieving, interception, and diffusion.
Activated Carbon Filters: Carbon filtration uses activated carbon filters coupled with some other purification technique. It features porous carbon in an activated carbon filter that traps odors and gases as they pass through it, circulating fresh, clean, and odor-free air. Sometimes, the carbon filters are strong enough to catch volatile organic compounds and also trap large particles in the carbon pores. This filter will help you get rid of the smell and odor that makes your home air stale and difficult to breathe in.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Radiation: This technology often combines a UV lamp with a traditional filter to eliminate particulates from the air and kill germs and bacteria. The UV light renders certain microorganisms sterile and harmless. This is the most effective purification method when the microorganisms have prolonged contact with the UV lamp. The UV light air purifiers use short-wave ultraviolet rays to inactivate airborne pathogens and microorganisms.
Ionizing Purifiers: Ionizing purifiers employ a method called corona discharge to create charged molecules called ions. Most atoms have a neutral charge. When molecules pass through this high electric field unit (corona discharge), they pick up an additional electron, giving a molecule a negative charge, or it may even have an electron kicked-off giving it a positive charge. Particulates that are fairly large in sizes, such as dust or other contaminants, are more likely to be ionized because they make larger targets for the electrons as they pass through the corona discharge. Particulates as they clump together get heavier and stick to surfaces around the room instead of floating through the room.
Prefilter: Pre filters help reduce the burden on HEPA filters in an air purifier. Pre filters trap large particles like hair, pollen, fur, and dust. Had it not been for the pre filters, the HEPA filter would have to take too much abuse from the larger particles and would wear out faster. This would mean frequent replacement of filters that would cost a lot of money.
Why Do We Need a Air Purifiers?
Indoor Air Quality has a significant impact on the health and quality of life in general. Poor indoor air quality can be more harmful for vulnerable groups like children, the elderly, and those with respiratory or cardiovascular diseases (1).
The indoor air normally represents a mix of outdoor pollutants from vehicles and industries, which can enter through infiltration or through the natural or mechanical ventilation system and indoor pollutants that originate within the building itself through the combustion of coal, wood, candles, etc.
Emissions from building materials and furnishings, pets, habits of inhabitants like smoking, central heating, and cooling systems, humidification devices, and electronic equipment all add to indoor pollution. Hence, it is important to purify indoor air, be it at your home, office, college, gym, etc. We have listed a few good reasons for you to consider.
Best Reasons To have a Air Purifier
An air purifier is a good deal for you if you are someone with allergies but love pets. Many animal lovers who live with pets might experience allergies because of pet dander, hair, and fur. Kids are more sensitive to pet dander, so investing in an air purifier will help you live comfortably while enjoying the company of your adorable fur babies.
Air purifiers are also good for odor control. Living with pets, smokers, and sports playing teenagers can make your home air smell bad. An air purifier is all you need to eliminate unwanted smell and leave the air fresh and enjoyable to breathe.
Passive smoking means breathing in another person’s tobacco smoke. Studies have shown that second-hand smoking can have serious consequences on a person’s health. Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters are designed to eliminate smoke and tobacco pollutants and odors. Thus, if you live with or near a smoker, an air purifier is a must-buy for you and your family’s health.
People with unpredictable diseases, asthma, and other respiratory issues are susceptible to certain allergens that can trigger an attack. Doctors advise families with children and parents with respiratory ailments to keep the indoor air quality as high as possible to avoid attacks. For such individuals, investing in an air purifier is a good decision to keep their family safe.
Shifting in your newly built home is an exciting event, but the air inside the house can be filled with pollutants, such as formaldehyde. Formaldehyde is an allergy trigger and respiratory system irritant that can result in serious health issues. Hazardous off-gassing from a wide variety of sources like construction material, paint, new furniture, carpeting, etc. can be harmful for you and your family’s health.
Buying an air purifier for your new home can be a wise decision to protect the health of your family, especially if you have small children or babies. Many air purifiers on the market combine a number of air purification techniques to enhance the performance of the device. Some purifiers are equipped with a 3-stage filtration technique, while others have a 4-stage filtration system. Here’s a list of top filtration techniques that are used by air purifiers.
Buying Guide For Air Purifiers
Purpose: You need to first figure out the purpose of buying an air purifier. If you are purchasing general air quality improvement inside your house or office, then consider buying one equipped with HEPA filters. Purifiers with HEPA filters are capable of eliminating 99.97% of airborne allergens sized at 0.3 microns and larger. Apart from this, people might also buy air purifiers for their specific needs like:
Help with allergies and reduce allergy triggers
- Reduce pet dander and hair
- Reduce smoke and its odor
- Prevent dust
- Eliminate mold
- Chemical sensitivities
Operating Cost: If you are looking for a cost-effective unit, go for one that is Energy Star certified and has washable filters that can be reused. The annual operating cost for any portable model would range between $150 to $200 for filter replacement and electricity though the main cost would be that of the filter replacement. A filter change can cost you between $10 to $100, and for some models, it can go up to a few hundred as well. To cut down on this filter replacement cost, you can opt for a unit that uses a pre-filter to reduce the loads on HEPA filter, possibly extending its life.
Noise Level: Your choice of purifier also depends on where you plan to place it. If you are planning to buy a purifier for your bedroom or workplace, the quietness of the device counts, large units are most efficient and quiet as compared to the portable ones when running on the lowest mode.
Coverage Area: The worst disappointment for anyone would be to buy an air purifier without knowing its square footage rating and whether it will provide sufficient coverage to your place or not. To ensure this, it is always good to check the square footage rating of the device. If it is equal to or greater than the intended room size, it is a good choice. Here’s how you can measure and buy:
If you are buying for a single room, measure the width and length of the space in feet and multiply these numbers to get the total square footage.
If you are buying a purifier for multiple connected rooms, the only additional step you have to do is combine the total square footage numbers of each space.
This step is important to ensure that the unit you are purchasing is capable of purifying the area intended. If its square footage rating is less than the intended room size, buying it will be a complete waste of money.
Features Need To Check In Air Purifier
Fan: Most of the air purifiers feature a fan, which helps to suck in the air for filtration. Purifiers that have got fans are louder than the models with no fans. But they are also more effective in purifying the air inside your rooms when compared with the models without a fan.
Filter Change Indicator: Purifiers equipped with filter change indicators help you to keep a tab of servicing dates. You need not fret about remembering the date. Once the filter loses its air-purifying abilities, the indicator light alerts you that it needs to be changed.
Timer Settings: Some purifiers are also equipped with a programmable timer that allows the user to set the purifier to run for a few hours.
Carrying Handle: This feature allows you to move the purifier from one place to another with a lot of ease.
Remote Control: An air purifier that features a remote control provides you easy access to the device from anywhere in the room.
Dirt Sensor: A purifier equipped with a dirt sensor will automatically adjust the fan speed to the level of dust or dirt in the air.
Speed Options: This feature allows you to adjust the unit according to your air cleaning needs. You can reduce or lower the speed when you are sleeping or need a quiet environment and can increase it when it’s prime pollen time.
Smartphone App: The new air purifiers are now offering apps that let you operate the unit wireless from the comfort of your smartphone or tablet. The apps also provide a lot of rich data about the air quality inside your room and also displays the type of pollutants that the purifier is capturing.
Shopping for an air purifier can be a quite challenging and confusing task. Our buying guide will explain everything you need to know about these devices and the variables to consider while purchasing one.
Side Effects Of Air Purifiers
Air purifiers help you breathe easy and clean air by eliminating pollutants through a multi-layer filtration technology. Using an air purifier can have health benefits, especially if you have asthma or another respiratory condition, but a few purifiers using ozone generators can adversely affect your health.
Some purifiers equipped with ozone generators, ionizers, and electrostatic precipitates emit ozone into homes. Ozone is a colorless and toxic gas that has three oxygen atoms in each of its molecules. Purifiers with ozone generators emit ozone gas for eliminating bacteria and chemicals in the air. Some purifiers equipped with ionizers and electrostatic precipitates emit ozone unintentionally as a byproduct of their function.
According to the California Environmental Protection Agency, ozone exposure is harmful to the cells in the lungs and airways. Exposure to the gas can lead to shortness of breath, coughing, and chest tightness. Those with asthma and other pre-existing health conditions may experience intensified symptoms due to ozone exposure.
When to change the Air Purifier filter?
Some purifiers come with filter replacement indicators that tell you when it is time to change the filter. If you are buying an air purifier with a HEPA filter, don’t forget to check the cost of filter replacement. Prefilters need to be changed once in 4 to 5 months, and HEPA filters every 2 to 4 years. The home environment also plays a major role in deciding as to how often the filter needs to be changed.