Having an air purifier in your house means you and your family can come home, shut the door, and know you’ll be able to breathe easily. While you can’t actually see what’s floating through your air, microscopic particles can cause illness, congestion, and breathing issues. That’s why so many people set up an air purifier.
Why do I need an air purifier?
Every home has a certain level of pollutants. There is always dust and allergens like pollen in your home’s air, and if you have pets, you’ll have pet dander. Some homes also have mold spores or cigarette smoke. Most of these particles are as tiny as 10 micrometers, but they aren’t healthy to breathe in and you may feel ill if you breathe them in on a regular basis.
An air purifier will help remove these potentially hazardous airborne particles from your home’s air, and as a result, keep you and your family healthier. It will also clean the air that comes in from outside, and that’s especially important when the air quality index is reporting as unhealthy or hazardous.
PM2.5 and the air quality index
It happens most often in the heat of summer or when there are forest fires in the area. A thick haze settles over your neighborhood or high in the sky over your house. That haze is due to fine particulate matter, also known as PM2.5, and it’s an air pollutant that makes it hard to breathe.
When there are high levels of PM2.5 in the air, your local health department may issue an air quality warning based on where your area falls on the air quality index. Also called AQI, the air quality index measures the level of air pollution in your air on a scale of 0 to 500. 500 is the worst air quality possible. Good air quality is rated as 50 or lower.
A rating of 300 or higher is considered hazardous air quality, and that’s when you’ll see recommendations for anyone with breathing conditions to stay indoors. An AQI that high will also mean that exercising outdoors can be hazardous.
An air purifier will be very useful during times of poor outdoor air quality as it will keep the air inside your home clean and fresh.
How does an air purifier work?
An air purifier is a fairly simple device that sanitizes the air in your home. It works by using a fan to pull air into a replaceable filter or multiple filters. The particles are captured in the filter and the device pushes clean, sanitized air out into your room.
How well your device works will depend on what type of air filter it uses and what that filter is designed to remove. Keep in mind that it will only purify the air in one room in your home, so if you’d like to purify the air in multiple rooms you’ll need several units.
What kind of air filters are used in air purifiers?
There are several different kinds of air filters you can use in air purifiers, and the type of filter you have will determine how your model will work.
Mechanical air filters
The most common type of replacement air filter used is mechanical air filters. This type uses pleated fibers or fine mesh to capture contaminants, and the most common and efficient type of mechanical air filter is the HEPA filter. HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air.
HEPA filters can capture 99.97% of large particles and particles as small as 0.3 microns. That includes smoke, paint emissions, dust, pollen, and in some cases, mold. The key to ensuring your air purifier uses an actual HEPA filter is to look for the term True HEPA filter. It may perform as expected if the filter is designated as HEPA-type or HEPA-like, but it won’t be a True HEPA filter.
Some mechanical air filters also have added layers, and you’ll find replacement filters with an antibacterial coating or a layer of carbon to kill bacteria or absorb odours.
Carbon air filters
A carbon air filter doesn’t capture particles; it absorbs them. As mentioned, you’ll often find this type of air filter as an addition or layer on a mechanical filter so your air filter has a pleated filter to capture larger particles and an activated carbon filter to absorb odours and some gases. You can also find carbon-only air filters.
UV-C air purifiers use UV-C technology to remove a percentage of airborne germs including odours, mold spores, smoke, and pet dander. To work they have a powerful UV lamp inside the air purifier, and that lamp kills the pollutants as they enter the air purifier.
Some models of air purifiers will have all three types of filters, using each to capture the most particles, gases, and odours.
Which air purifier is right for me?
To determine which kind of air purifier you’d like to use in your home, you’ll need to take a look at the different types.
Tower air purifier
A tower model may feature 360-degree intakes so they can draw in air from all angles, and they can remove up to 99% of dust, pollen, and mold spores in your home. Some models also feature ionic purification for cleaner, fresher-smelling air.
Compact air purifiers
An air purifier doesn’t have to take up a lot of space in order to clean the air in your home. Compact models are available from brands like Blueair, Dyson, Germ Guardian, and Bionaire. They don’t take up a lot of real estate, but they can easily clean the air in a small to mid-size room.
Some compact models can remove particles in your air using three-layer systems that include the HEPA filter, PCO filter with charcoal, and UV-C light. They may also feature different cleaning levels that let you choose how clean you’d like the air to be, and have easy-to-use touchscreens.
Air purifiers that double as a fan, heater, or humidifier
Some models of air purifiers don’t just clean your air; they also work as a cool fan in the summer, a warm heater in the winter, or a humidifier. Dyson is a popular brand that makes hot and cool air purifiers. With a True HEPA filter on board and UV light technology, they can perform double duty while removing up to 99.97% of particles in your air.
Smart air purifiers
Smart air purifiers will remove dust and other particles from your air, and they give you full control and an idea of your indoor air quality via a compatible app. Designed with Wi-Fi on-board, they are available as tower air purifiers or compact air purifiers. You’ll be able to use the app to monitor your air quality, turn the device off and on, or adjust the settings. Some models also feature an LCD screen that shows you everything from the current PM2.5 levels, indoor humidity, and temperature. Some can even be controlled by voice with a smart home device and Amazon Alexa or Google Assistant.
If your goal is to have fresh, clean air in your home and reduce allergy-related illnesses and breathing issues, an air purifier will almost completely eliminate pollen, dander, mold, and so much more. You can find a wide selection of air purifiers, right now on Best Buy.