Do Air Purifiers Really Make a Difference in Our Homes?

The debate over air purifiers has been ongoing for some time, with many people wondering if they really make a difference in our homes. While there is very little medical evidence to support that air purifiers directly help improve your health or relieve allergies and respiratory symptoms, they can still be beneficial in certain situations. With the coronavirus pandemic, air purifiers have become an increasingly popular topic as they can help reduce the “viral load” or the amount of bacteria in the air. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is still investigating how long respiratory droplets can survive in the air, but air purifiers can still help trap dust, odors, and dandruff.

Pleated filters are made of folded cotton or polyester fabrics and can filter out basic contaminants, but offer only low filtration. More folds provide more coverage for contaminants such as dandruff and mold, but limit airflow. When it comes to knowing if you need a new air filter, don't trust your eyes; trust your calendar. Air purifiers look great on paper, but are they worth it? The answer is yes.

Air purifiers are a must for any home as they can trap pollen, dust, dander, hair, mold, bacteria or mold that would otherwise end up in your lungs. The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, in partnership with Allergy Standards Limited (ASL), created a certification program to demonstrate which air purifiers actually remove the most harmful particles from the air. Portable air purifiers, also known as air purifiers or air sanitizers, are designed to filter the air in an individual room or area. The Environmental Protection Agency recommends eliminating the source of pollutants and ventilating indoor spaces with clean outdoor air as the best way to improve indoor air quality.

If you want an additional degree of protection, HEPA air purifiers and activated carbon filters can trap radon and asbestos particles to protect you from harmful effects. Portable air filters and HVAC filters can reduce indoor air pollution; however, they cannot remove all air pollutants. If you have any allergies or health problems, you should seriously consider an additional air purifier for the main rooms of your home. When it comes to evaluating claims about air purifiers, it's important to take them with a grain of salt.

Depending on the model, HEPA-filtered air purifiers can also capture bacterial and viral particles of 0.3 microns or greater. Research suggests that devices with HEPA filters “appear to be beneficial as long as they are maintained regularly” but no study definitively demonstrates that air filtration has a significant impact on health outcomes. You should also not re-introduce those allergens into the air which means they are captured in the air cleaner filter and are not redistributed around the room. While they are excellent at sterilizing the air of living organisms, they cannot filter the air for more common pollutants such as dust, allergens, or smoke. There aren't many downsides to having an air purifier in your home other than financial investment. Outdoor air pollution from things like wildfires generally seeps into indoor air between 50 and 80 percent of its outdoor concentration. Air purifiers can neutralize some of the threats posed by air pollution and indoor air that doesn't circulate well, but not all live up to their advertising.

To detect odors, hair, dead skin, or anything else your pet has brought inside, consider one of the approved air filters.