If you go by the recommendations that the Environmental Protection Agency makes, then minimizing and eliminating the sources of air pollutants are the best defenses against rising pollution levels.
The other recommendation is to create a well-ventilated home and office so that the indoor air you breathe most of the day retains its freshness.
There is no doubt that both these statements are well meant, but the task is easier said than done.
When you’re suffering from low immunity, too, you have to take some precautions in order to control the levels of manmade and biological contaminants present in your indoor air because your health depends on it.
And, when people suffer from congestion and headaches due to different allergens present in the air, it’s not possible for them to ventilate their homes with fresh air—it can further complicate their existing health concerns and let more allergens in.
The only option that seems to control the quality of indoor air to some extent is the use of an air purifier to clear the air from contamination.
If you’re in the market for one of these devices, the first question that comes to mind probably is, “Do air purifiers work, or are they just a fad?”
Are There Benefits Of Having An Air Purifier in Your Home?
Air purifiers were invented during the Second World War when the first HEPA filters were used to protect the workforce from airborne nuclear matters. Today, things have really changed and due to the increase in air pollution, you can find air purifiers in homes, hospitals, cars, and offices.
Now, this is the same air that we have been breathing for centuries, and as it stands now, we cannot use the same air without having it purified first. Contrary to what our homes used to be many years ago, indoor air is nowadays contaminated with pollen, chemical waste as well as other toxins found in the outdoor air.
Our homes are no longer refuge from air pollution. A research that was carried out by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency indicates that indoor air quality can be 2 to 5 times worse than that of urban outdoor air. Another research shows that indoor air pollution is one of the top environmental risks to public health.
And since we spend more than 90% in our homes, offices and schools—indoor spaces can be a good source for allergies, viral infections, as well as respiratory disorders due to contaminations found in the indoor air.
Now, indoor air pollutants come in different types. Some of the most common ones include pet dander, carbon deposits from candles and fireplaces, dust, bacteria, mold, dust mites, tobacco smoke, household chemicals, and harmful vapors from flooring and furniture.
When you inhale these air contaminants, you are likely to suffer from asthma, allergies as well as other respiratory ailments.
Are you wondering if you should buy an air purifier or not? Well, an air purifier comes with many benefits. For instance, purifying air will help those with allergic symptoms like a runny nose, itchy and watery eyes, and frequent skin rashes from advancing from being in a bad condition to a worse condition.
So if you suffer from asthma or any other respiratory disorder, installing an air purifier in your home or office will be a plus. An air purifier will also help in eliminating any suspended tobacco odor and smoke in the air, and this is important especially if you live with a smoker or you have many smokers in your neighborhood.
You should also invest in an air purifier system if you own pets to effectively eliminate pet dander and smells. Also, an air purifier will be worth investing if you detect mold or mildew.
There are different types of air purifiers, and each has different abilities. Each air purifier will clean certain contaminants. Some can eliminate viruses, bacteria, mold and mildew from the air. Others can effectively remove dust mites, pet hair and smoke from the indoor air.
And while some may be able to clean the indoor air of all the pollutants, in most cases, few air purifiers will be able to tackle everything.
Do Air Purifiers Really Control Indoor Air Pollution?
There is no doubt that rising levels of air pollutants are creating major concerns for people who are prone to allergies from pollutants and organic substances present in the air.
Most of these allergens affect small children, as their immunity levels are easily compromised and they tend to suffer from acute as well as chronic diseases associated with their respiratory systems.
Apart from the presence of allergens in indoor air, there are also some biological contaminants such as viruses, bacteria, mold, and mold spores that can play havoc with the health of both kids and adults.
If you’re living in an area where air contamination is high or your own immunity is easily compromised, opting for a quality indoor air purifier is must for you.
The summary issued by the United States Environmental Protection Agency in their 2008 guide ‘Residential Air Cleaners: A Summary of Available Information’ states, “If the usual methods of addressing indoor air pollution are insufficient, air-cleaning devices may be useful.
Air filters and other air-cleaning devices are designed to remove pollutants from indoor air.
Some are installed in the ductwork of a home’s central heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system to clean the air in the entire house.
Portable room air cleaners can be used to clean the air in a single room or in specific areas, but they are not intended to filter the air in the whole house.”
This clearly indicates that air filters and air purifiers do work well and can help, but you need to understand that different types fulfill different purposes.
Some purifiers won’t work as well if you don’t follow their intended use guidelines. Whether they are 100 percent efficient is another question.
How to Select the Best Indoor Air Purifier for Your Home
In order to select the best indoor air purifier as per your requirements, you must first do an analysis that uncovers the quality and quantity of the pollutants or allergens present in your home’s indoor air.
You can hire a company that performs air-quality testing services to prepare this report for you.
These companies also provide air quality testing kits or perform specialized tests to monitor the levels of common pollutants present in your house. These tests let you know the quantity and prevalence of each type of contaminant—such as dust, bacteria, and pollen—in your home.
Once you have the levels assessed and measured, you can start your search for the appropriate air purifier. When you start shopping, you must consider the following:
- You need to decide whether you want your air filter system to be suitable for personal use, a single room, or for the whole house
- If you do not want a purifier system that can be mounted on your air conditioner, then you should consider large, portable varieties
- Check the efficiency rating of the air purifiers under consideration
- Compare features such as servicing indicators, dust sensors, and air-quality monitoring systems
- Compare brands and pricing
Limitations Associated with Air Purifiers
It is very important you understand that an air purifier does have some limitations; don’t assumer that it alone will be enough to control the levels of contaminants present in your home if the numbers are high.
If you opt for a quality air purifier, it certainly will have some impact on your indoor air and will make your life much easier as part of your strategy to control air cleanliness.
You also need to take into account that some of the air purifiers, such as the Honeywell HFD-120-Q Tower Quiet Air Purifier, can control the level of small contaminants like dust, animal dander, and pollen but are quite ineffective dealing with viruses, bacteria, mold, smoke, and gases.
On the other hand there are some models, such as the RXAir® Filterless UV Air Purifier 800 Sq Ft, that not only deal with the animal dander, dust, and pollen but also help with odor reduction; killing biological contaminants such as viruses, germs, and bacteria; and eliminating volatile organic compounds.
By opting for the indoor air quality check, you will be able to make the right decision in selecting the type of indoor purifier you need. Be sure it can handle the specific contaminants present in your house.
Depending upon your requirements, you can opt to choose from the wide range of air purifiers that you can install on your air conditioning pipes or go for a portable air purifier that can travel around your house with you.
While operating a portable air purifier, you should make sure that the machine is kept away from the walls and that its air intake isn’t obstructed in any way.
The vents of the air purifier must be positioned in such a way that they blow clean air into your living space.
If there are some specific areas in your home that are prone to contamination, then it is a good idea to place the air purifier in that spot so it can absorb all the pollutants without allowing them to move into other areas.
Summary: Do Air Purifiers Work?
There are a combination of things you need to do in order to get optimal efficiency from your product. You must do things in order to eliminate the contaminants in the air such as vacuum, dusting, and making sure the room is well ventilated.
Your main objective while using an air purifier is to control the level of the contaminants present in your home’s air.
Along with the usage of an appropriate air purifier, you must take all the appropriate steps required to control the inflow of such contaminants in your household.
While using the purifier, you should be careful operating the machine and follow all the instructions provided in the user’s manual to get maximum effectiveness in cleaning the air.
Using an air purifier doesn’t mean you should neglect cleaning the house or keeping the fresh air at bay.
Regular cleaning of the house and letting in a certain amount of fresh air will be much healthier in such circumstances, and air purifiers are there to help this process along.