Breathe in deeply.
Can you sense how clean the air is around you? Or is it full of things that are bad for your health, like pollution and allergens? With pollution in the air getting worse, it’s getting harder and harder to breathe clean air.
But don’t worry, there is a way to clean the air: air purifiers.
If you own an air purifier, you already know how good it is for your health.
And if you want to buy one, you have come to the right place.
In this article, I’ll talk about how important air quality is and how air purifiers can make it easier to breathe.
So, let’s dive in!
Understanding Air Quality and Its Importance
Air Quality and Its Importance
The amount of pollution in the air at a certain place is what is meant by “air quality.” The health of people, animals, and plants on Earth depends on how clean the air is.
Because the air is always moving, the quality of the air can change from day to day or even hour to hour.
How the air moves through an area and how people change it have a direct effect on the air quality in that area.
Temperature can also affect the quality of the air.
In cities, the air quality is often worse in the winter, when a layer of dense, cold air can trap pollutants close to the surface.
Measuring Air Quality
The Air Quality Index (AQI), which is like a thermometer that goes from 0 to 500, is used to measure how clean the air is.
Satellites in orbit around the Earth and instruments on the ground both gather information about what is in the air.
The Joint Polar Satellite System (JPSS) gathers data about particles in the air, such as smoke from wildfires, dust in the air during dust and sand storms, pollution from cities and factories, and ash from volcanoes that are erupting.
Negative Impacts of Air Pollution
Pollution from the air hurts the land, the oceans, and the air itself.
Particulate matter, carbon monoxide, ozone, nitrogen dioxide, and sulfur dioxide are some of the most dangerous pollutants for public health.
Air pollution in the environment or in your home can cause strokes, heart attacks, lung cancer, acute and chronic respiratory diseases, and other health problems.
Due to their similar make-up, the health risks and ways diseases spread from being exposed to both outdoor and indoor air pollution are often the same.
The World Health Organization says that illnesses caused by air pollution cost about $150 billion each year.
The goal of air quality programs is to give pollutant forecasts that people can use to limit the bad effects of bad air quality and cut down on the number of health problems caused by bad air quality.
Indoor Air Pollution
Indoor air pollution is a major health risk, and it’s important to know where indoor pollutants come from to lower the risk of health problems.
There are many things that can pollute the air inside, and they can be put into different groups.
The first group is biological pollutants, which include things like mold, bacteria, viruses, and animal dander.
The second group of pollutants comes from things that burn fuel, like gas stoves, wood stoves, and fireplaces.
Carbon monoxide, nitrogen dioxide, and small particles are some of these pollutants.
Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
The third group is volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.
Many household products, like paints, cleaners, and pesticides, give off VOCs.
The fourth group is radon, which is a radioactive gas that occurs naturally and can get into homes through cracks in the foundation.
Other Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Asbestos, lead, and secondhand smoke are also things that can pollute the air inside.
Asbestos is a mineral fiber that was used in many building materials until the 1970s.
It can cause lung cancer and mesothelioma.
Lead can be found in old paint and can make it hard for children to grow and learn.
Secondhand smoke is a mix of gases and particles that come from burning tobacco products.
It can cause lung cancer and other health problems.
Improving Indoor Air Quality
To lower the amount of pollution in the air inside, it is important to find and control the sources of pollution.
Using low-emission products and making sure there is enough ventilation can help improve the quality of the air inside.
Air pollution from homes can also be cut down by using clean fuels and technologies, like solar, electricity, and natural gas.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution and Air Purifiers
The Effects of Poor Air Quality on Health
Bad air quality can hurt your health in a number of ways.
Particle pollution can cause COPD, which makes it hard to breathe because it blocks the airways.
Harmful gases and particles in the air come from a number of different places, such as car exhaust fumes, coal or gas smoke, and tobacco smoke.
The number of people with asthma and how bad it is are both getting worse as cities grow and as air pollution gets worse outside.
Traffic-related air pollution (TRAP) can lower levels of high-density lipoprotein, which is sometimes called “good cholesterol.” This makes the risk of heart disease higher.
Exposure to TRAP also makes a pregnant woman more likely to have hypertensive disorders, which are dangerous changes in blood pressure that are a leading cause of preterm birth, low birth weight, and illness and death in both the mother and the baby.
When there are more fine particles in the air outside, there are more hospital stays for heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia, COPD flare-ups, and other serious health problems.
Limiting the Effects of Air Pollution on Health
There are ways to limit the effects of air pollution on health, such as staying away from areas with a lot of traffic and using the air quality index (AQI) to check the air quality in your area.
But big changes will only happen if the air quality around the world gets better.
The Benefits of Air Purifiers
Air purifiers are machines that help clean the air in a room by getting rid of things like dust and pollen.
A few good things come from using an air purifier.
Reducing Allergen Load
Air purifiers can help cut down on the number of allergens in the air.
HEPA filters, which are often found in air purifiers, can get rid of up to 99.97% of pollutants in the air that are smaller than 0.3 microns.
Filtering Harmful Chemicals
Air purifiers can filter out dangerous chemicals that are in the air inside.
This is especially helpful for people with lung problems like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and immune system problems.
Neutralizing Unpleasant Odors
Air purifiers can help get rid of smells that you don’t like.
Improving Lung and Heart Health
Air purifiers can help clean the air you breathe and lessen the bad effects of pollution by filtering out small particles.
This is especially helpful for people with lung problems like asthma, cystic fibrosis, and immune system problems.
People who have a hard time fighting off infections can also benefit from air purifiers.
Relieving Symptoms of Asthma
Air purifiers can help people with asthma feel better.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say that one out of every 12 people has asthma.
Reducing the Impact of the Coronavirus in Indoor Air
Several studies have shown that using an air purifier in schools and colleges can help get rid of and lessen the effects of the Coronavirus.
Air purifiers can help make the air better and lessen the health problems caused by pollution.
They can cut down on the number of allergens in the air, filter out dangerous chemicals, get rid of bad smells, and improve the health of your lungs and heart.
Air purifiers can also help ease asthma symptoms and lessen the effects of the Coronavirus in the air inside.
Types of Air Purifiers and Maintenance
Improving Air Quality with Air Purifiers
Air purifiers are machines that use a fan to pull in air and send it through one or more filters that catch pollutants and particles and get rid of them.
Most of the time, the filters are made of paper, fibers like fiberglass, or a mesh.
High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are the most common and recommended type of filter.
They can catch at least 99.5% of particles in the air that are 3 microns or smaller.
Pollen, dust, pet dander, and other allergens can be caught by HEPA filters.
Benefits of Air Purifiers
Air purifiers can help improve the quality of the air inside by getting rid of pollutants and allergens.
They can also help stop the spread of viruses like COVID-19’s causer, the new coronavirus.
But it’s important to remember that air purifiers are not a replacement for other ways to stay healthy, like wearing masks and staying away from people who are sick.
Choosing the Right Air Purifier
When choosing an air purifier, it’s important to think about the type of filter it has, the size of the room it will be used in, and the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR).
CADR shows how many cubic feet per minute (CFM) of filtered air an air purifier puts out.
Before buying an air purifier, it is also a good idea to pay for a home air quality test to find out what contaminants are in the air.
Types of Air Purifiers
There are different kinds of air purifiers, and each one has its own pros and cons.
Most people have HEPA air purifiers, which can get rid of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
Some HEPA air purifiers also have activated carbon filters that can get rid of smells and volatile organic compounds.
UV air purifiers use UV light to kill viruses, bacteria, and other harmful substances in the air.
Ionic air purifiers use charged ions to pull particles out of the air and get rid of them.
Best Air Purifiers of 2023
Consumer Reports says that the best air purifiers of 2023 are the Alen BreatheSmart 75i Pure and the Blueair Blue Pure 211+.
The Alen BreatheSmart 75i Pure works well at both high and low levels to catch and get rid of dust and smoke.
The Blueair Blue Pure 211+ is made to be used on the floor in a large room.
It has a pre-filter that can be cleaned and catches large particles.
Replacing Air Purifier Filters
When you should change your air purifier’s filters depends on a number of things, such as the type of filter, the air quality where you live, and what the manufacturer suggests.
Carbon filters should be changed every three to six months and HEPA filters every 12 to 18 months.
True HEPA filters and activated carbon filters should be changed every 8,760 usable hours, which is about once a year.
Every three months, you should change the pre-filter.
Every two to five years, you should change the activated carbon filter.
Every two to three years, you should change the HEPA or Super HEPA filter.
It is important to change the air purifier’s filters on a regular basis to make sure the unit keeps working well.
Pollutants that build up on a filter make it less effective over time, and air can’t move through saturated filters as well.
Some air purifiers have lights or chimes that let the user know when it’s time to change the filter.
Air purifier filters may need to be changed more or less often depending on how clean the air is and how many people are in the room.
For instance, if there are a lot of wildfires or a lot of cars on the road, the filters may need to be changed more often.
When deciding how often to change air purifier filters, you should also take into account what the manufacturer says.
How Ionizers Improve Air Quality
An ionizer is a type of air purifier that uses negative ions to remove pollutants from the air.
These negative ions attach themselves to positively charged particles, such as dust, pollen, and smoke, causing them to become too heavy to remain airborne.
As a result, these particles fall to the ground or are trapped by the air purifier’s filter.
Ionizers are particularly effective at removing odors and smoke from the air, making them a popular choice for smokers or those living in areas with high levels of pollution.
They are also known for their ability to improve mood and reduce stress, as negative ions have been shown to have a positive effect on mental health.
However, it’s important to note that ionizers can produce ozone, which can be harmful to those with respiratory issues.
It’s recommended to use an ionizer in a well-ventilated area and to choose a model with low ozone emissions.
For more information:
Safety Concerns and Improving Air Quality
Improving Indoor Air Quality with Air Purifiers
Air pollution is a big problem, and it’s not just a problem outside.
Polluting the air inside can be just as bad, if not worse, than polluting the air outside.
Air purifiers can help clean up the air inside by removing allergens, dust, smoke, and mold, among other things.
But it’s important to remember that air purifiers can’t get rid of all pollutants.
HEPA Filters for Air Purifiers
HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters are recommended for air purifiers because they can remove at least 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns.
This includes dust, pollen, mold, and bacteria.
It is important to choose an air cleaner that is rated for the size of the room where it will be used.
Particulate pollutants, like those from traffic, can be removed from the air by air purifiers with HEPA filters.
Gaseous Pollutants and Air Purification Systems
Gaseous pollutants like volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can only be cleaned out of the air with certain types of air purification systems.
Ionizing air purifiers can get rid of small particles of pollution, but they can’t do anything about chemical gases like those from car exhaust.
They can also make ozone, which is bad for your lungs.
The EPA does not recommend using ionizing air purifiers or any air purifiers that release ozone.
Safety Concerns with Air Purifiers
Most air purifiers are safe to use, as long as there are no wiring problems in the house that would stop a modern appliance from working right.
But when using air purifiers, there are some safety concerns to think about.
One worry is exposure to ozone, which can lead to breathing problems.
When ionic air purifiers are used, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can be released into the air.
Air Purifiers and COVID-19
When it comes to COVID-19, air purifiers might not offer much protection in most situations, but they might be worth it in a few.
For example, air purifiers may be useful in healthcare settings to catch floating virus particles before they reach a caregiver in the same room.
But you should be extra careful when handling the air purifier and changing the HEPA filter because the coronavirus can live for up to three days on plastic and steel, which are both common materials for air purifiers.
Improving Air Quality without Air Purifiers
Several low-cost or free steps can help you improve the air quality in your home.
One way is to control the sources of pollution by not bringing them into your house, leaving your shoes outside, not smoking, and using the right paints.
Pollutants can also be removed by regularly cleaning the house, vacuuming, and using an exhaust fan in the kitchen.
Mold can also be stopped by controlling moisture and keeping humidity below 60% (ideally between 30 and 50%).
Adding more ventilation is another way to make the air better.
Opening windows and doors to let some fresh air in is a simple and free way to make the air better.
If you live in an area with a lot of traffic, you can cut down on the amount of pollution that comes in through your windows by using a window filter.
Using Plants to Improve Air Quality
Using plants is another way to help clean the air. Some plants, like Chlorophytum comosum, can get rid of dust from the air inside.
Air purifiers can help clean the air inside by getting rid of particles, but they can’t get rid of all pollutants.
Air purifiers should have HEPA filters, and you should choose one that is rated for the size of the room where it will be used.
Particulate pollutants, like those from traffic, can be removed by air purifiers with HEPA filters, but gaseous pollutants, like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), need different types of air purifiers.
If you want to improve the air quality without using an air purifier, you can do things like control the sources of pollution, add more ventilation, and use plants.
Note: Please keep in mind that the estimate in this article is based on information available when it was written.
It’s just for informational purposes and shouldn’t be taken as a promise of how much things will cost.
Prices, rates, and fees can change because of things like market changes, changes in regional costs, inflation, and other unforeseen circumstances.
In the end, the quality of the air is a very important part of our health and well-being.
With pollution and allergens in the air getting worse, it is important to take steps to make sure the air we breathe is clean and healthy.
If you want to improve the quality of the air in your home or office, you should buy an air purifier.
But it’s important to remember that an air purifier isn’t a magic fix for all problems with the air quality.
It is just one of many things we can do to make the air we breathe better.
We also need to be aware of our daily habits, like using less harmful chemicals and pollution and making sure our homes and workplaces have enough air flow.
In the end, buying an air purifier is a personal choice, and you should do your research and pick a model that fits your needs and budget.
But no matter what you decide, remember that clean air is important for our health and well-being and that we all have a part to play in making sure we can all breathe easily and stay healthy.
Links and references
- “Building Air Quality: A Guide for Building Owners and Facility Managers” (available on the US EPA website).
- “Indoor Air Quality: A Review of Cleaning Technologies”, “WHO Guidelines for Indoor Air Quality: Selected Pollutants”.
- “Indoor Air Quality Tools” (published by the University of California).
- Information on indoor air quality from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) website.