When you’re shopping for an air purifier, a lot of products make claims that may seem too good to be true, especially if this is the first time that you’ve considered purchasing an air purifying unit. The general assumption is that it works to clean the indoor air of your house or apartment so that you’re breathing air free of any floating contaminants. But if you’re unsure about whether or not the air purifier product claims are true, is purchasing one a waste of money?
According to the EPA, air purifiers are a surefire way to enhance your residence’s indoor air quality. Today, our homes are built with great insulation which is great for energy efficiency but isn’t great for indoor air quality. Health experts today say that air purifiers are quite unnecessary unless the product is used within the living space of a person who has a lung condition such as chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) or asthma. Due to this, there are few steps that you should consider taking before investing in an air purifier, especially since their high price points and ongoing maintenance responsibilities are needed to ensure that the units work properly.
What Can I Do Before Buying An Air Purifier?
Adjust Your Expectations
According to experts, like everything else, air purifiers have their own limitations. Dr. Clayton Cowl, a pulmonologist and a preventive occupational and aerospace medicine expert, states that it’s a waste of money to buy an air purifier if the customer believes that it will “suddenly rid them of all respiratory diseases.”
The director of the Lung Association in Greater Chicago, Patti Solano, states that air purifiers won’t clean your entire living space either. The best that an air purifier can do is improve the air quality within one or a couple of rooms. For those who do suffer from lung conditions, it’s best that you invest in filters for your furnace or consider purchasing a portable air purifier that is equipped with true HEPA filters. These high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters have been proven to trap 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in size, including trapping pollen, dust, pet dander, mold and some bacteria. In addition, some air purifiers have carbon-activated filters that remove odors such as cooking smoke or tobacco.
It’s also important to note that the limits of an air-purifying unit extend to large particulates like cockroach allergens or dust mites that may not be trapped. This means that those who suffer from seasonal allergies may not experience much relief from having an air purifier in their household.
Watch Out for a Few Things
Before purchasing an air-purifying unit, it’s important that you conduct a little bit of homework. The Environmental Protection Agency’s website has reviews of what you should be looking for on its Indoor Air Quality page. One of the tips included on that page states that you should only really consider filter-type air purifiers and avoid units that use ozone to clean the air because these can actually do more harm rather than help.
Aside from fan speeds, there’s no need to pay more for other special features that are often advertised by air purifiers. Fan speed is important because the lower fan speeds aren’t as efficient, which you may consider using if the air purifying unit is loud.
According to experts, air purifiers work the best if it’s in a room where the door is closed and if the unit is cleaned often so that it can perform its utmost best to remove lung irritants. The filters of air purifiers should be replaced regularly, but to note, because of this high maintenance and cost that is associated with changing the filters, air purifiers may be your last resort.
Check Your Other Options
There are some alternatives that you can consider before spending a significant amount of money on an air purifier. One of these includes looking for better furnace filters that have the ability to trap pollutants but please also note that these also have to be changed regularly as well. When you’re looking for a furnace filter, keep an eye out for the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) which ranges from 1 to 20 and is standard for the overall effectiveness of the filter. The higher the MERV rating, the more air contaminants and particulates that will be filtered out.
If you haven’t already done this, using pillow and mattress encasements can also limit the number of dust mites in your bed. You also have to be attentive to how clean your home is as well since this also majorly affects the indoor air quality of your household. It’s recommended that you open windows, dust, and vacuum with a HEPA vacuum.
In summation, air purifiers are a waste of money if you haven’t already attempted to mitigate the number of air pollutants in your household with any other methods. If you’ve already tried the other methods and tips that we’ve recommended here, the best air purifiers are those that include a HEPA filter and carbon-activated or charcoal filter. Especially for those who suffer from health and wellness issues that would require an air-purifying unit, it’s important to choose one that meets and exceeds your needs and is priced within your allotted budget.
Written by Julia Batista