Smoke is a silent killer that is in the air we breathe.
It can cause everything from breathing problems to cancer.
You already know how important clean air is because you have an air purifier.
But did you know that not every air cleaner is the same when it comes to getting rid of smoke? Find the right air purifier if you smoke, live in a dirty area, or just want to breathe easier.
In this article, I’ll tell you everything you need to know about smoke and air purifiers so you can choose the best one for your needs.
So relax, take a deep breath, and let’s clear the air about smoke and air purifiers.
Understanding Smoke and its Health Risks
Smoke is made up of tiny solid, liquid, and gas particles that are released when a substance burns or breaks down into smaller pieces (called “pyrolysis”).
What makes up smoke depends on the type of fuel that is burning and how it is burning.
In a typical house fire, the smoke contains hundreds of different chemicals and fumes, and the damage caused by the smoke can often be worse than the damage caused by the fire itself.
What is in Smoke?
Most of what you can see in smoke is soot, tar, oils, and ash.
When there isn’t enough oxygen to burn the fuel all the way, there isn’t enough combustion, and smoke comes out.
When you put wood on a hot fire, the smoke you see comes from the hydrocarbons (volatile organic compounds) in the wood evaporating.
At about 149°C, the hydrocarbons start to evaporate, and if the fire is hot enough, the hydrocarbons will catch fire.
The hydrocarbons are turned into water and carbon dioxide when they burn, so there is no smoke.
After the fire has been going for a while, most of the hydrocarbons (gases and smoke particles) have been burned off, and all that is left is charcoal, which is almost pure carbon with some minerals.
Health Effects of Smoke
Fine particles, also called fine particulate matter or PM2.5, are the most dangerous to your health when you smoke.
These tiny particles can get into your eyes and lungs, where they can cause eye pain, a runny nose, and illnesses like bronchitis.
Fine particles can make asthma worse and even start an asthma attack.
Smoke can cause a wide range of health problems, whether you smoke or are around people who do.
Smoking and Secondhand Smoke
In the UK and the US, smoking is one of the leading causes of death and illness.
More than 76,000 people in the UK and 16 million Americans live with a disease caused by smoking.
Smoking leads to cancer, heart disease, stroke, lung diseases, diabetes, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), which includes emphysema and chronic bronchitis.
Smoking also makes you more likely to get tuberculosis, some eye diseases, and immune system problems like rheumatoid arthritis.
About 41,000 nonsmoking adults and 400 infants die each year because they were around people who were smoking.
Adults who are around people who smoke can get a stroke, lung cancer, and coronary heart disease.
Children who are around secondhand smoke are more likely to get sudden infant death syndrome, acute respiratory infections, middle ear disease, asthma that gets worse, and respiratory infections.
Protecting Against Smoke
The less smoke there is, the better the wood is burned.
Using a wood stove that is approved by the EPA and dry, well-seasoned wood can help cut down on smoke emissions.
But there is no safe amount of second-hand smoke exposure (SHS).
Any exposure is bad, and even a short amount of secondhand smoke can damage the lining of blood vessels and make blood platelets stickier, which can make a heart attack more likely.
People who don’t smoke can be exposed to SHS even if people who do smoke are kept apart from people who don’t smoke, the air is cleaned, and buildings are well ventilated.
People who don’t smoke can only be fully protected from SHS indoors by making it illegal to smoke in that room or building.
Activated Carbon: The Key to Removing Smoke from Your Air
When it comes to air purifiers, one of the most important components is activated carbon.
This material is highly effective at removing smoke and other odors from the air.
Activated carbon is made from natural materials like coconut shells or wood, which are heated to create a porous surface area.
This surface area is then treated with oxygen to create millions of tiny pores that can trap and absorb pollutants.
When smoke particles come into contact with activated carbon, they are trapped within the pores and removed from the air.
This makes activated carbon an essential component of any air purifier designed to remove smoke from your home or office.
So if you’re looking for an effective way to improve your indoor air quality and eliminate smoke, be sure to choose an air purifier with activated carbon filtration.
For more information:
Air Purifiers for Smoke Removal
Indoor air quality can be hurt by smoking, which makes a big difference in how many air pollutants are in the air.
The amount of environmental tobacco smoke (ETS) in rooms where people smoke is much higher than in rooms where people don’t smoke.
ETS is a major source of pollution in indoor air and can be bad for your health.
About 3,000 non-smokers die every year because of secondhand smoke.
People in different parts of the house can be affected by smoke because it can move from room to room and even up the stairs and through vents.
Sources of Smoke Pollution
Indoor smoke can have 100 times more fine particles than is safe in homes with poor ventilation.
Household air pollution is caused by using inefficient and polluting fuels and technologies in and around the home.
It can cause a number of pollutants that are bad for your health, such as small particles that get deep into the lungs and enter the bloodstream.
Out of the 3.2 million deaths caused by indoor air pollution, 32% are caused by ischaemic heart disease and 23% are caused by stroke.
Combustion pollutants can also come from cooking, gas stoves, wood burning, kerosene heaters, charcoal grills, and cars left running in garages.
Heart and lung diseases are linked to being around smoke from cigarettes and burning wood.
During a wildfire, smoke can make the air outside unhealthy to breathe.
Officials in the area may tell people to stay inside when there is smoke.
People can cut down on how much smoke gets into their homes during a wildfire by putting their HVAC system into recirculation mode or closing the outdoor intake damper.
Air Purifiers for Smoke Removal
Smoke can be removed from the air with different types of air purifiers, such as mechanical filters, HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, and multi-stage filtration systems.
Consumer Reports only tests air purifiers with mechanical filters.
Fans push air through a dense web of fine fibers that trap dust and other small particles.
Smoke particles can be taken out of the air by HEPA filters.
The purpose of activated carbon filters is to get rid of smells and chemicals in the air.
Multi-stage filtration systems use more than one filter to clean the air of smoke particles, odors, and chemicals.
Shopping for an Air Purifier for Smoke Removal
When shopping for an air purifier to get rid of smoke, think about how much replacement filters will cost, how big the room is, and how loud the purifier is. Most air purifiers have a light that turns on when the filter needs to be changed or cleaned. Prices for filters are all over the place, from $20 to more than $200. Air purifiers for rooms bigger than 350 square feet are much better at getting rid of smoke. Air purifiers make a wide range of sounds, with some being much quieter than others.
Consumer Reports Recommendations
In their ratings of air purifiers, Consumer Reports recommends more than two dozen models.
Most of them use HEPA filters, and a few also have carbon filters.
In their tests, they put cigarette smoke particles into a sealed room and use a particle counter to measure the number and size of particles as small as 0.1 micron in the room as an air purifier works.
The Blueair Blue Pure 411 Air Purifier, the RabbitAir MinusA2 Ultra Quiet Air Purifier, the Mila with Basic Breather Filter, the Oransi Mod, and the HATHASPACE HSP001 are some of the best air purifiers for getting rid of smoke.
Choosing the Right Air Purifier for Smoke Removal
How Air Purifiers Remove Smoke
Smoke particles can be taken out of the air by air purifiers.
Smoke is made up of gases and small particles that are given off when something burns.
The best air purifiers for smoke have a HEPA filter, which uses a fan to force air through a fine mesh to catch particles.
The EPA says that HEPA filters can cut the number of particles by as much as 85%.
Activated carbon adsorption can also be used to improve the HEPA filter and get rid of the smell of smoke.
Harmful Chemical Components of Smoke
Experiments have shown that cigarette smoke contains more than 3,000 toxic substances.
The main ones are nicotine, tar, hydrocyanic acid, carbon monoxide, acrolein, and nitric oxide.
Many of the harmful chemicals in smoke can be caught by HEPA filters.
Parameters to Consider When Choosing an Air Purifier for Smoke Removal
When looking for a smoke-removal air purifier, you should pay attention to three things: the CCM gas value, the CARD gas value, and the type of activated carbon used.
High CCM gaseous value air cleaners work for smoke.
But it’s important to remember that air purifiers don’t get rid of VOCs (volatile organic compounds).
Getting rid of the source of the pollution is the most important thing you can do to improve the quality of the air inside.
Features to Consider When Choosing an Air Purifier for Smoke Removal
When looking for a smoke-removal air purifier, there are a few things to think about.
One of the most important parts of an air purifier is the type of filter it has.
Most smoke particles are between 0.1 and 1.0 microns in size, and HEPA filters are very good at getting rid of them.
A True HEPA filter can get rid of 99.97% of particles that are no bigger than 0.3 microns.
Carbon filters also work well to get rid of smoke and other smells.
The size of the room where the air cleaner will be used is another important thing to think about.
Rates for air purifiers are based on how big a room they can clean well.
It is important to choose an air purifier that is right for the size of the room where it will be used.
The amount of noise and the amount of energy used are also important things to think about.
Air purifiers that make a lot of noise can be hard to use, especially at night.
It is best to choose an air purifier that makes less than 40-50 decibels of noise.
Energy use is also important to think about, since air purifiers have to run all the time for them to work.
Air purifiers with the Energy Star label use 40% less energy than those without the label.
The cost of replacement filters, certifications, and extra features like smart auto mode and a remote control are also things to think about.
Before you look at the technical specs of an air purifier, you should make a list of what you need it to do.
By thinking about these things, you can choose the best air purifier for your needs and get rid of smoke in your home or office effectively.
Maximizing Smoke Removal in Your Home
How Often Should You Replace Your Air Purifier Filters?
How often you should change the filters in your air purifier to get rid of smoke depends on a number of things.
In general, you should change your air purifier’s air filters and pre-filters every three months.
But if you use your air purifier more often, the filters may need to be changed more often.
The quality of the air in your home and the type of filter you have will also affect how often you need to change the filter.
Cleaning Your Philips Air Purifier Pre-Filter
If you have a Philips air purifier, you can wash the pre-filter and should do so every month to make sure it works well.
When F0 shows up on your air purifier’s screen, you should clean the pre-filter.
Turn off the appliance and unplug it from the wall to clean the pre-filter.
Why Regular Filter Replacement is Important
It’s important to change the filters in your air purifier on a regular basis, because filters that are full of pollutants lose their effectiveness over time.
As dust, pet dander, and other allergens and particles get caught in these filters as air moves through them, they build up over time until the filter is full.
When a filter is full, it can’t catch any more particles, and air can’t move through it as well.
This makes the air purifier less effective.
Types of Filters and Their Effectiveness
Air purifiers can cut down on smoke particles and smells, but they can’t get rid of them completely.
The type of filter an air purifier has affects how well it gets rid of smoke particles and smells.
HEPA filters are effective in removing smoke particles, while activated carbon filters are effective in removing smoke odors.
With both HEPA and activated carbon filters, an air purifier can cut down on smoke particles and smells by up to 99%.
But it’s important to remember that no filter or other device can completely get rid of the smell of smoke.
Additional Tips for Removing Smoke Odors
Air purifiers are effective in removing smoke particles and odors from the air, but they cannot remove smoke odors that have become embedded in walls, carpets, and clothing.
A deep clean is needed to get rid of smoke smells for good.
A cup of vinegar or baking soda can help get rid of strong smoke smells on clothes.
You can also get rid of smoke particles and smells by vacuuming your carpets.
In the end, air purifiers can cut down on smoke particles and smells, but they can’t get rid of them completely.
With both HEPA and activated carbon filters, an air purifier can cut down on smoke particles and smells by up to 99%.
But a deep clean is needed to get rid of smoke smells for good.
To make sure your air purifier works well, you should change the filters and clean the pre-filter regularly.
Maintaining Your Air Purifier for Optimal Performance
Reducing Smoke Exposure in Your Home
Smoke can be bad for your health, especially if you have problems with your lungs.
Here are some things you can do to make your home less smokey:
- Keep windows and doors closed to prevent smoke from entering your home.
- Use fans and air conditioning to stay cool. If you cannot stay cool, seek shelter elsewhere.
- Set your HVAC system to recirculate mode or close the outdoor intake damper to reduce the smoke that enters your home.
- Avoid burning candles or using gas, propane, wood-burning stoves, fireplaces, or aerosol sprays.
- Do not fry or broil meat, smoke tobacco products, or vacuum, as these activities can increase indoor air pollution.
- Use a portable air cleaner to reduce indoor air pollution. Make sure it is sized for the room and does not make ozone, which is a harmful air pollutant.
Having a Plan for Smoke Emergencies
It’s important to know how to get alerts and health warnings, like air quality reports and public service announcements, and to have a plan for evacuating.
Here are some things you can do to get ready:
- Monitor your local outdoor air quality on AirNow.gov and manage your indoor air quality as necessary.
- Have enough food and medication on hand to last several days so you don’t have to go out for supplies.
- If you must go out, avoid the smokiest times.
Using an Air Purifier to Remove Smoke
To keep an air purifier’s ability to get rid of smoke at its best, it’s important to use one with both HEPA and carbon filters.
The HEPA filter can catch particles as small as 0.3 microns, which includes smoke particles.
The carbon filter takes in the smell of smoke and other chemicals that are bad for you.
Here are some tips on how to use an air cleaner:
- Use an air purifier in the room where you spend the most time and keep it running 24/7.
- Air purifiers for rooms larger than 350 square feet are better at removing smoke.
- Most recommended air purifiers are physically big because of the big HEPA filter inside of them.
- Change the filter as soon as the indicator light comes on or according to the time frame specified in the manual.
- If you can’t change it right away, continue to use the air purifier until you can make the switch. A dirty filter is still better than not using the air purifier at all.
- Vacuum cleaners with HEPA filters can also help remove and trap smoke particles that have settled on surfaces.
- Some air purifiers have reusable filters, which require cleaning instead of replacement. Follow the manufacturer’s instructions for cleaning and maintenance of reusable filters.
In addition to using an air purifier, you should close all doors and windows and seal any air leaks to keep as much smoke out of your home as possible.
By doing these things, you can cut down on your exposure to smoke and make the air in your home better.
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 conclusion, anyone who cares about clean air and a healthy living environment should buy an air purifier.
Smoke can hurt our health and well-being, whether it comes from cigarettes, wildfires, or other places.
An air purifier can help to lessen these effects and give us peace of mind that the air we breathe is safe and clean.
But it’s important to keep in mind that an air purifier is not a miracle cure.
Still, it’s important to stay away from smoke as much as possible by not smoking and staying inside when pollution is high.
Also, your air purifier needs to be maintained and have its filters changed on a regular basis for it to work well.
Buying an air purifier is ultimately a personal choice, but it’s important to think about how it could help your health and well-being.
Clean air is a basic right, as the saying goes.
We can all help make the world a healthier and happier place by taking steps to improve the air quality in our homes and communities.
Links and references
- “The Complete Air Purifier Buying Guide” by John Ward.
- “The Ultimate Guide to Air Purifiers” by John O’Connor.
- “Air Purifiers and Smoke Removal” by Sylvane.