The popularity of home air purifiers is on the rise, partly because of the concern over airborne diseases and indoor air quality. Nevertheless, many homeowners aren’t sure whether they really do make a difference in improving the air quality and reducing contaminants like viruses in a confined space.
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Do Air Purifiers Actually Work?
The short answer is yes, provided that you have realistic expectations and complement them with other best practices known to improve the air quality in your home.
Air purifiers improve the air quality by removing particles like dander, pollens and a wide range of allergens while at the same time sanitizing the air (i.e., reducing or lowering the level of germs and viruses to a safe level).
Many people think that air purifiers are synonymous with filters, although in reality, there is a notable difference between them: Filters only remove particles, whereas purifiers both filter out particles and also reduce the level of pathogens in the air.
Some purifiers have filters to trap particles as air goes through them, while others sanitize or “neutralize” the particles in the air without filtering them first.
What Types of Contaminants Can Air Purifiers Address?
Air purifiers are typically recommended for people with allergies, asthma and other similar conditions. However, they remain a worthwhile investment if you are concerned about the air quality in your home.
- Animal dander
- Mold dust
- Volatile organic compounds
VOCs are gasses emitted into the air from certain products like paint, aerosol sprays, gasoline and other solvents, cleaners, room deodorizers, new carpets and furniture, personal care products, etc.
Prolonged VOC exposure may lead to headaches, asthma symptoms, and respiratory issues. But in the worst-case scenario, they may even lead to kidney damage, liver disease and cancer.
If VOCs and unwanted odor are your primary concern, opt for air purifiers that contain activated carbon filters.
Air Purifiers and COVID-19
According to the US Environmental Protection Agency website, air purifiers can help minimize airborne contaminants, including COVID-19 and other types of viruses. As a result, they are ideal in any confined spaces, especially those with poor ventilation (possibly due to a lack of windows and vents).
But to work best, health experts from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend using air purifiers along with other “best practices” to actually minimize the risk of airborne transmission.
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The bottom line
If you have allergies or asthma, air purifiers are a worthwhile investment because they can improve indoor air quality to the point that they can alleviate your symptoms and prevent reactions.
However, it remains important to prevent or at least minimize the level of aggravating particles from getting into your house in the first place.
Another thing to keep in mind is that air purifiers work better when combined with filters and well-maintained HVAC systems.