If your home has poor indoor air quality, an air purifier may be a good investment. They can filter harmful germs as well as dust, smoke, mold, and pet dander. However, do they really work and are air purifiers worth buying? Here’s what you need to know.
Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
According to the EPA, indoor pollution sources that release gases or particles in our homes are the main culprit of bad air quality. Americans spend a majority of their time indoors where concentrations of some pollutants are 2 to 5 times higher than typical outdoor concentrations.
Causes of indoor air pollution include pesticides, household cleaning products, carbon monoxide, secondhand smoke, pet dander, dust, and mold.
An air purifier should be part of a multi-pronged strategy for maintaining healthy indoor air. You should also reduce common sources of pollution and make sure there’s fresh airflow in your home. Air needs to circulate in order to get the pollutants out of the house.
What Air Purifiers Filter Out
Air purifiers with HEPA filters can catch many of the harmful particles found indoors including pollen, pet dander, dust, and smoke. However, they are limited in filtering out gases from volatile organic compounds. HEPA filters are designed to capture 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 micron, far smaller than the diameter of a human hair.
How to Choose an Air Purifier
Before you go shopping, know the size of the space you want covered and pick a model that will work. It’s best to choose a model designed for a larger area.
Next, look at the CADR rating, or Clean Air Delivery Rate. This measures how fast the purifier will remove harmful particles. Look for a CADR rating of at least 300.
Make sure the air purifier you buy is certified by AHAM, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. This will help ensure you are getting a quality product.
The model you choose should have true HEPA filters that remove ultra-fine particles.
Keep costs in mind if you decide to make a purchase. Along with the unit, you will need to buy HEPA filters, which must be replaced up to twice a year. Carbon filters should be changed every three months. Also, an air purifier will add to the cost of your electricity bill.
The Value of Air Purifiers
An air purifier can improve indoor air quality, but it shouldn’t be the only cleaning method used.
Your first step should be trying to eliminate the source of the pollution. Regularly clean and vacuum your home and make sure it’s well-ventilated. Portable air purifiers are intended to clean the air in a single room, not your entire home. The cost of a quality portable air purifier ranges from over $200 up to $900.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Along with an air purifier, there are other ways to tackle indoor air pollution. Keep your windows open, vacuum often, regularly change air filters, use an exhaust fan in the kitchen, cut back on smoking, and reduce the use of candles and wood fires. Also, clean rugs, carpeting, and fabric furniture regularly.