Especially if you live in urban areas, the quality of the air we breathe is becoming a more and more important topic of discussion. We are constantly breathing in dust, mould, smoke, and vehicle exhaust emissions—not to talk about germs and other impurities. And this raises the question: are air purifiers actually worth it?
Air purifiers make an interesting promise: a gadget that can cleanse the air in your room and help you breathe in healthier air. There are studies that show that 3 out of 4 zones in the UK are above legal limits for air pollution. However, even if you can’t do much about the cleanliness of the outside air, what you breathe inside your home is under your control.
How do air purifiers work?
All air purifiers have at least one filter and a fan, that helps circulate the air through the filter. The base principle is that when the air goes through the filter most impurities will be left behind. These filters are commonly made out of paper, fibreglass, or mesh, and need to be replaced regularly in order to perform correctly unless you have a HEPA filter.
The frequency of replacing your filters depends on the type of air purifier you have. Some can be washed and require constant maintenance, while some just need to be replaced from time to time. You can also find UV filters that can wipe out biological particles, like bacteria. Additionally, there are air purifiers that use ionizers to attract particles. However, if you use such an air purifier, be careful if it produces ozone or not because this can irritate your lungs and even aggravate the symptoms of asthma.
What can be filtered out?
Most air purifiers can filter out larger particles like dust or pollen, but can’t capture gases, which will require absorbent materials. Additionally, in order for air purifiers to be efficient, you need to replace the filter every three months at least.
You should be aware that you will never be able to mimic controlled lab conditions with an air purifier. Even if most air purifiers claim to have 99% effectiveness, there are many particles that fly right past these gadgets. For instance, any allergens embedded into your furniture or flooring won’t be filtered.
What should an air purifier have?
- Clean-air delivery rate rating – this is a way to measure the cleaning speed of the air purifier, especially for dust, pollen, and smoke. you should aim for a rating of 300, or even 350.
- Size – to be efficient, you need an air purifier suitable for the size of your room.
- HEPA filter – this is not mandatory, but true HEPA filers are considered to be the most efficient for ultra fine particles.
These aren’t the only things you should look for, but perhaps the most important. However, be mindful of your needs and find an appropriate air purifier. For instance, what types of particles you want to target, what type of filter you need, should be important factors.
How can you clean air purifiers?
Depending on the type of air purifier you have, the cleaning process might be different for you. However, it’s a good idea that you check the manual before cleaning your unit so that you don’t risk damaging anything.
First of all, wear a protective face mask. Especially if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you need to protect yourself from any particles of strong pollutants that your filter might capture.
The cleaning process itself is quite simple. Just wipe down the exterior of the air purifier with a damp cloth. Afterwards, carefully vacuum the grill before removing the filter. When actually washing the filter, be gentle and mindful, because some of them are delicate are require care.
Before reinstalling your device, be sure that the filter is completely dry. If it isn’t, your air purifier might not work as efficiently as you would expect. Additionally, because of the moisture, it could start growing mould.
So, should you buy an air purifier? Even though it won’t do wonders for the air quality in your home, it certainly brings some improvements. Especially if you suffer from allergies or any related symptoms, you will feel better with air purifiers in your room. However, don’t expect those filters to capture absolutely all the particles that are damaging to your health.
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