Should You Purchase a Home Air Purifier?

Jamie Sukroo - 11 Mar 2020

Should You Purchase a Home Air Purifier?

I’ve written this blog to provide you with the information required to make an informed decision as to whether you should splash out on a Home Air Purifier. I’ve been considering one for a while as I sometimes wake in the morning with a blocked nose.

I’ll be covering the following in this blog:

  1. The 5 types of Air Purifiers on the market and Recommendations when buying,
  2. The benefits and drawbacks of Air Purifiers,
  3. Other ways to keep the air in your home clean.

Air Purifiers: The 5 Types & Recommendations:

  1. Paper/Fibre/Mesh Air Filters: these make use of a filter to capture particles, such as dust and dander (material shed from humans and pets). High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are one of the air purifiers in this category. The filters on these air purifiers need to be cleaned or replaced regularly.
  2. Electrostatic Air Filters: these use an electrically charged panel or screen to capture particles. Another type, called an ionizer (or ion-generating air cleaner), attaches electrically charged ions to dust and other pollutants, making the particles heavier and causing them to drop from the air.
  3. Activated Carbon Air Filters: these use activated carbon (or a similar product) to remove gases and odours from the air. They’re not typically used as home air purifiers. Certain gases (such as carbon monoxide) are not often removed and they often have a short lifespan.
  4. UV Light Air Filters: these use ultraviolet light to supposedly destroy biological impurities, such as mould and bacteria. The light won’t remove particles, such as dust and dander, so these are often combined into one unit which also utilises a filtering device.
  5. Ozone Generators: these use either UV light or an electrical discharge to create ozone. Although ozone is effective at killing mould, mildew, and other air contaminants, it can cause or aggravate serious health problems, including lung damage and asthma. These are best avoided or used under the supervision of a health professional.

Recommendations:

  1. Make sure to choose an air purifier with a “Clean-Air Delivery Rate” or CADR (the measurement of its cleaning speed) of at least 300. Any air purifier with a rate below 300 should be avoided as it won’t be up to the job.
  2. Try to also choose an air purifier that has a washable filter over one that requires replacing at regular intervals. This can reduce costs over the lifetime of the product. Similarly look at the energy rating
  3. Pay attention to the noise levels of the air purifier especially if you wish to use it at night.
  4. Confirm that the air purifier is Ozone free as some can still produce ozone.

The Benefits and Drawbacks of Air Purifiers

Benefits of Air Purifiers:

  • If you choose well, your home air purifier should be fairly decent at cleansing the air of particles such as dust, pollen and smoke. This can provide relief to people who suffer from allergies.
  • Most air purifiers are portable meaning they can be moved from room to room.
  • Provided you choose a high-quality air purifier, with a good energy rating, and additionally a washable filter the costs over the lifetime of the product should be minimal.

Drawbacks of Air Purifiers:

  • No unit can remove all the gaseous pollutants from indoor air, including volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
  • There isn’t enough medical evidence to link air purifiers with better health – so if you don’t suffer with allergies or a blocked nose it may be a waste of money for you.
  • More affordable units typically can only clean one room at a time—sometimes just a small bedroom. If you want to filter the air in a more open area, you’ll likely have to look at the larger, more expensive units or a household-wide system.
  • Some units might only be effective at the highest fan speed, which is also the noisiest setting that uses the most energy. It may be better to choose a larger unit and run it at a lower speed to minimize noise without sacrificing efficiency.

Other Ways to Clean Your Air

Before you spend money on an air purifier, you first might want to try some of these more economical ways to improve indoor air quality.

  • Use a vacuum with a HEPA filter to clean your home frequently and thoroughly.
  • Maintain your HVAC system and change or clean filters regularly.
  • Keep pets well-groomed to minimize shedding.
  • Refrain from smoking indoors and limit the use of wood-burning fireplaces and candles.
  • Use exhaust fans in the kitchen and bathroom.
  • Take off your shoes at the door to avoid tracking in pollen and other pollutants.
  • Avoid household items with VOCs—certain cleaners, paints, furniture, etc.—as much as possible.
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