• Harmony

Five Reasons You Need an Air Purifier

Updated: Dec 3, 2021

Air purifiers won't solve all your problems, but they will definitely keep your home's air cleaner. Here are five reasons to use an air purifier.

The best air purifiers are sometimes pitched as the best way to improve the air quality in your home. But their usefulness is often overblown — and some air purifiers, such as those with ionizing functions that produce ozone, may actually be detrimental to your health.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the best way to improve indoor air quality is to get rid of the source of pollutants and ventilate your interior spaces with clean outdoor air. While air purifiers can reduce airborne pollutants, they cannot eliminate them. They also can't clear the dust, dander and other particles that have already settled on surfaces around your home.

Plus, for maximum effectiveness, air purifiers have to run almost constantly. That can run up your power bill, which is why it's important to check an air purifier's EnergyStar rating before you buy it to get a sense of how much the electricity will cost.

But that doesn't mean air purifiers aren't effective in the real world. In fact, the best air purifiers are really good at filtering out fine particles like smoke, dust, pet dander and pollen. Anecdotal evidence suggests that users feel better when they run these devices in their homes — even if the long-term health benefits aren't well-studied.

So while you may notneedan air purifier, having one — as long as it's the right one for your space — won't hurt. Here are five situations in which an air purifier could probably help you out.

You have respiratory issues, allergies or asthma

Allergy sufferers and people with asthma or other breathing problems may noticesome reduction in symptoms, like wheezing and coughing, when using an air purifier with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter designed to catch 99.7% of particles larger than 0.3 micrometers. (Don't settle for devices that promise "HEPA-like" or "HEPA-style" filters.)

Some of these devices do a decent job of catching common irritants, including pollen, pet dander and dust, so unless your purifier's fan simplystirs up pollutants, it likely won't make your issues worse.

That said, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma and Immunologydoesn't specifically recommendportable air purifiers for allergy sufferers. Research suggests that devices with HEPA filters “appear to be” beneficial as long as they're maintained regularly, but no studies show definitively that air filtration has a significant impact on health outcomes.

Other ways to improve air quality at home

While good air purifiers may do a decent job at filtering out some particles, they aren't the be-all and end-all of indoor air quality. There are other steps you can take to improve air quality in your home — with or without the help of a stand-alone purifier.

  • Clean your home regularly. Vacuum, dust and wipe down surfaces and corners where dirt, hair and dander are likely to build up. Air purifiers cannot remove particles that have settled on counters, floors and furniture.

  • Ventilate your kitchen, laundry room and bathrooms. Gas, odors and moisture are likely to accumulate in these areas. Use outdoor vents and exhaust fans — such as in the hood over your stove — to keep air moving.

  • Open your windows. Poorly ventilated spaces, in particular, can benefitfrom fresh air. Avoid opening the windows if the outdoor air quality in your area is poor, however.

  • Wash your linens. Dust mites and pet dander can build up in your bedding. Launder sheets, towels and other linens weekly in hot water (130 degrees Fahrenheit), and use mattress and pillow covers to keep allergens out.

  • Skip the candles, incense and scented products. Anything that burns or has a smell can affect your indoor air quality.

  • Use a dehumidifier. Bacteria and mold thrive in damp places, so keep the humidity in your home low. Check out our list of the best dehumidifiers for more.

Bottom line

Buying an air purifier is all about managing expectations. These devices can help improve your home's air quality, but don't rely on them without taking additional steps. And definitely don't expect them to do more than they're designed for. They may be able to filter out dander, dust, smoke and pollen — but they can't clean your carpets, do your dishes or cook your meals.

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