Clean air is not a luxury but a necessity, especially in the confines of our homes. The quality of air we breathe directly impacts our health and well-being. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be two to five times more polluted than outdoor air. This is where air purifiers come into play. They help in improving the quality of indoor air, making it healthier and safer to breathe.
Why Do You Need an Air Purifier?
Portable room air purifiers are designed to filter the air in a single room. They are separate from whole-house air purifier systems and air filters, which are integrated into a home’s heating, ventilating, and air conditioning system and designed to clean the air in the entire house. Room air purifiers can be especially beneficial if you have specific areas in your home where pollutants are more concentrated, such as a room where someone smokes or where pets spend most of their time.
What Does an Air Purifier Do?
Air purifiers work by removing allergens and pollutants from the air while they’re still floating around. Once these particles have settled to the ground, they are more effectively removed by vacuuming. Air purifiers equipped with HEPA filters are particularly effective at removing common household irritants, including tiny viral droplets, particulate matter, pet dander, dust, and dust mites.
Types of Air Purifiers
Different air purifiers use different technologies to clean the air. Some of the most common types include:
These purifiers use fans to force air through a dense web of fine fibers that trap particles. Filters with very fine mesh are called HEPA filters. They can remove larger particles when they’re suspended in the air. However, mechanical filters don’t help with gases or odors.
Activated Carbon Filters
Unlike mechanical filters, these filters use activated carbon to capture certain types of gases, including some odor-causing molecules. They are often used in combination with mechanical filters.
These machines produce ozone, a molecule that can react with certain pollutants to alter their chemical composition. However, they can result in dangerous indoor air quality, and are not recommended.
Electrostatic Precipitators and Ionizers
These electronic models charge particles in the air so that they stick to plates on the machine or to nearby surfaces. They can produce ozone and are not typically recommended.
Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)
Some manufacturers claim that their air purifiers kill airborne viruses, bacteria, and fungal spores with UV lamps. However, the UV light must be powerful enough and the exposure must last long enough to be effective.
Photocatalytic Oxidation (PCO) and Photoelectrochemical Oxidation (PECO)
These air purifiers use ultraviolet radiation and a photocatalyst, such as titanium dioxide, to produce hydroxyl radicals that oxidize gaseous pollutants. Depending on the pollutant, this reaction can generate harmful byproducts.
How to Choose the Best Air Purifier
When choosing an air purifier, consider the cost of replacement filters, the Clear Air Delivery Rate (CADR), whether it has Energy Star certification, the size of the room it will be used in, and the noise level. Also, consider the placement of the air purifier and adjust the speed as needed.
Investing in an air purifier can significantly improve the air quality in your home, leading to better health and well-being. However, it’s important to choose the right one that suits your specific needs and circumstances. Always remember to replace or clean the filters regularly and place the air purifier in a spot where nothing can obstruct the airflow.