There is no easy “yes” or “no” answer to the question do air purifiers work. In fact, you need to learn about the air purifiers in detail before you understand if you need one or not.
Firstly, let’s know what an air purifier is and how does an air purifier work or function.
Air purifier and how they work?
Air purifiers have been around for a long time now. Of course, they have been in continuous development. Air purifiers are a machine used to clean out any contaminant floating around in the air.
Any air purifier comes with one or more fan. It uses the fan to circulate the air. Also, filters are present which filtrates the air and catch any contaminant while passing out fresh air back. Generally, an air purifier contains two filters.
The pre-filter is an essential feature of the machine. It actually helps to prolong the life of the main filter or the second filter. The pre-filter traps the larger contaminant in the air. This makes the task of the main filter easier. Moreover, the second filter catches any tiny particulates that the pre-filter misses out.
In this way do air purifiers work and clean air (or at least that’s what you are told!). We will investigate how effective they actually are at cleaning the air later on this discussion.
Different air purifier filters
Filters are an inseparable and essential part of any air purifier. It would be completely useless without the filters. There are different types of filters which various air purifiers use. Here are some with their advantage and disadvantages (if any).
The HEPA or high-efficiency particulate air filters have been around since long. And they have served well. They are the most known filters used in air purifiers.
The HEPA uses a dense arrangement of fibers which traps and catches the different particulates present in the air. The big advantage with the HEPA filters is that it captures 99.9 percent of the contaminants (that’s what they say at least!). In addition, it captures particulates as small as 0.3 microns. That covers most bacteria, pollens, and even viruses.
It filtrates in three categories. Small, mid, and large particulates are trapped in three different methods in a HEPA air purifier. Firstly, the larger most contaminants are captured after cycling is done. (Larger particles here mean they are larger than the filter’s fiber). These large ones are captured by impaction. So, they just fall into the fiber since they are just too large.
Secondly, the HEPA air purifier uses interception to catch the mid-size particulates. As soon as these come in contact with the fiber, they stick on to the fiber which is referred to as interception.
Finally, the very fine and small particulates which escape impaction and interception are trapped using the process of diffusion.
In this way, the HEPA filtrates with an incredible percentage.
There is only one downside I can think of. The HEPA filters are not going to remove odors or other chemicals. Since many people get an air purifier for removing odors, it is important to keep in mind that the HEPA is not gonna help in this case.
HEPA has become popular and most people opt to buy air purifiers with a HEPA filter. And because of this, there are a lot of frauds present out there. They don’t sell the true HEPA filters. So, you need to be careful and avoid such frauds.
Now, does the HEPA actually clean out 99.9 percent of the airborne stuffs? This is not going to be the case in your home to be honest. Even if you get a true HEPA, you will still be vulnerable to bacteria and tiny viruses to some degree.
There are tons of people who make the mistake and think that HEPA resolves odor problem and reduces other harmful chemicals from the air. They could not be more wrong. The HEPA is pretty much an ineffective filter in these kinds of issues.
This is where the activated carbon filter plays its role. You can use a carbon filter to deal with any kind of odors. It is a great help when you have any pet at home and they don’t know where the toilet is lol. Since pet urine stinks too much, you can use the activated carbon to clear out the smell.
Moreover, odors are not the only thing these filters are capable of removing. Smoke is another culprit that it catches. Since some of us don’t care about our children and smoke at home, we can at least try to clean the smoke to some degree. The activated carbon will help in resolving this issue too.
Furthermore, people suffering from asthma or other breathing-related problems can feel better using this filter. The ones that do air purifiers work with an activated carbon filter should be used in such situations.
It is noteworthy that they are not so effective at doing the HEPA’s job. They cannot take out the small particulates that roam around in the air.
There are many air purifiers that use ionizers to filtrate. This type of filter-based air purifiers are used for almost the purpose as the HEPA. But, do air purifiers work as the HEPA?
Firstly, the ionizer uses a mechanism to neutralize the many threats which move around in the air that we breathe in. Then these affected particulates dropdown. They cling onto any solid substances around. That includes wall, table, and even floor.
But, the ionizer has plenty of issues. For example, it does not completely remove the particulates even though it neutralizes them for a while. Eventually, the downed particulates are going to reenter the air and cause problem. Luckily, this issue can be solved with a vacuum cleaner. Furthermore, some air purifiers with ionizers might actually have an electrostatic collection plate to take out the downed particles.
There’s another big issue with this type of filters. Some models of air purifiers with ionizers may produce harmful ozone. Ozone is one type of gas that can cause different illness to the human body. This is especially troublesome for people who are already suffering from asthma and other breathing-related problems. That is why never get an ionizer air purifier which produces ozone.
The filter is one crucial part of any air purifiers. That is why it is very important to know the filters before you actually learn do air purifiers work.
Some air purifiers use ultraviolet light as a means to destroy harmful bacteria, viruses, etc. Using UV light, the threats are neutralized and they become inactive. Therefore, these come into our contact as inactive so that they cannot cause any harm. But, this feature has some defects.
First of all, the bacteria and viruses need to be under the intense UV light for several minutes in order to make them harmless to us. Then there are some that need to be under direct UV light. And in all honesty, this is not possible always.
Sometimes, some bacteria or viruses actually come back to being even after the effect of the UV light. That is why it should be used properly.
So, considering these issues, I would say that it is a gamble really. Depending on your own situation you may benefit from using the air purifier that has UV or you might not that much.
Proper maintenance for greater gain
Any air purifiers that use filters to clean air need proper maintenance.
The most important thing you need to remember is that the filter needs changing sooner or later. Some might have a design that will require you to change the filters in two-three years. While others might need changing in three months! That is why you need to keep track of your filters properly.
Luckily, not every filter actually needs changing. There are many filters that will work just fine if you clean them out properly. You should make time to clean air purifier filters once every three months (depending on how often you use).
Furthermore, do not forget the pre-filter either. You should also make time to wash the pre-filter with regularity. I would suggest washing them more often since they trap the bigger particulates.
It is noteworthy that whenever you are cleaning or changing filters, you need to make sure that the purifier is unplugged and out of any power source reach. This ensures from turning it on accidentally too.
Try to keep the whole of the purifier clean. You can simply use a soft cloth to clean the outer part of the purifier.
With proper maintenance of the air purifier, it will be far more effective and will continue to last longer.
Do air purifiers actually work?
By now, you should get a good idea about how effective they actually are. Furthermore, you should also know what they remove and how you can maintain them. If you are still not sure about do air purifiers work then here’s more to make your decision easier.
Firstly, there are not that many medical evidence to suggest that an air purifier works well. Moreover, the claim that they clean 99.9 percent could still only be a lab test result. There are still good reasons to doubt if that’s gonna be the case in our home. Remember that the contaminants are continuously getting inside our home.
Sometimes, an air purifier may work for some people while might not in other people’s case. One reason might the environment of our home. Air purifiers might actually be useless in a home where cleaning is not done regularly. Furthermore, the home does not have a proper ventilation system.
If you believe that you can maintain an air purifier properly and you actually need one. Then you should not think of getting any other one except the HEPA air purifier. This is the most trusted and effective.
If you have breathing problems or asthma then you should get an air purifier. But, do not rely fully on the purifier. You need to take care of your home just as much. Make sure the home has a proper ventilation system.
Allergy patients can also find comfort from using an air purifier. But, the advice is the same. Never rely wholly on the purifier!
If you are not so troubled with allergy and have no breathing-related problems whatsoever then it is only a money loss to get an air purifier. You will not feel any better since you are not likely to experience the change in the air.
Now, do air purifiers work? You should know better
Whether you get one or not and they work or not, here are some tips that will help the environment of your home.
- Try to keep the windows open for longer period of the days. Let the sunlight in.
- Make sure you vacuum your house regularly.
- Clean out the electronic accessories that especially attracts more dust.
- Get an exhaust fan for your kitchen. Use it during cooking and keep it on for some time after cooking is done.
- If you have asthma or any breathing-related problems then it is better to not use anything that creates smoke. That includes candles, fireplace, excessive smoke from cooking, and smoking too.
Learn more about using the air purifier in air purifier uses.