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Do Air Purifiers Work?

Why air cleaners are an important part of a clean home

Understandably, whether or not air purifiers actually work is the first question people ask. Before getting into details, the main thing you should know is that an air purifier alone is not an adequate solution to allergy or indoor pollutant issues. It should be used in conjunction with regular cleaning, dusting, mopping, disinfecting, etc.

The general consensus is that air purifiers do actually clean the air you breathe. One issue you will hear about is the fact that Ionizers –a type of air purifier—are ineffective because they simply make airborne particles stick to walls or drop to the floor. This means that they don’t actually rid your home of the things that cause allergies or nasal discomfort. Furthermore, these machines produce ozone, which is a lung irritant.

People looking for information about how to get rid of dust or other allergens will be discouraged by this information, but you should know that Ionizers are not the recommended type of air purifier. We recommend the use of a machine that uses a HEPA filter, which is a high-efficiency filter that will actually trap these particles. You can then clean the filter and actually remove the substances from your home.

HEPA filters have been around for decades, and, to be classified as true HEPA, they must be able to remove over 99.9% of particles larger than .3 microns in size. For comparison, most research has suggested that the average size of a household dust particle is .5 to several microns in size, while mold spores and pollen are greater than 10. Tobacco smoke and other odor particles have been found to come in sizes on either side of this .3 micron threshold, and there is a special filter for these particles that are used in conjunction with HEPA filters: activated Carbon filters.

Brands like Austin Air and Airgle use a True HEPA filter surrounded by a layer of activated Carbon and zeolites. The HEPA removes airborne allergens such as dust, pollen, mold, viruses, and bacteria. The activated Carbon then gets rid of chemicals and odor. This combination is unmatched for contaminant removal, and ideal for people suffering with allergies or asthma. 

Airfree air purifiers are best for those seeking removal of microorganisms.  They feature a patented Thermodynamic Sterilizing System which uses heat to kill mold and viruses.  No need to worry, the heat will not affect your room temperature, as the air blown out is cold.

So, do air purifiers work? Yes, they are able to trap a high percentage of the airborne allergens and irritants that flow through the filters. However, remember that an air purifier is only one step in getting rid of dust, mold, Volatile Organic Compounds, smoke odor, pet dander, or pollen. However, if you clean your surfaces and floors, an air purifier can play a large part in eliminating the rest. For details about which type of machine you should look into based on your needs, please see our air purifiers page.

We are also often asked how air purifiers work.  You can find out how the different types of air purifiers clean your air, along with a ton of information on what to look for if you are in the market for one, in our air purifier buying guide - a link follows.

Additional Resources

Additional Resources: How to Get Rid of Allergies
  Do Air Purifiers Work?
  Air Purifier Buying Guide

By: Eugene Ravitsky