Do You Need an Air Purifier?

Do You Need an Air Purifier?

Purifying the air you breathe sure sounds like a good idea, right? If you're considering buying an air purifier, there certainly is a wide range of models available. But air cleaning alone can't get rid of all the pollutants indoor air contains. Plus, the jury's still out on whether air purifiers improve air quality enough to make them a worthwhile purchase.

Here's what the research shows:

  • Air purifiers may be able to reduce fungi in the air.
  • A high efficiency particulate air purifier can reduce??but not eliminate??dog and cat dander.
  • Air purifiers may help people with allergies or asthma sleep better. However, in several studies, air purifiers didn't improve peak expiratory flow rates among asthma sufferers. Nor did purifiers allow them to take less medication.
Experts say that removing or covering sources of pollution or ventilating a room usually works better than trying to filter pollution out of the air. But an air filter can help back up these more effective methods.

When comparing costs, be sure to include regular maintenance, such as periodic filter replacements. When you bring home a portable air purifier, put it as close to a known pollution source as possible, and be sure to avoid blocking the machine's inlet and outlet.

The following low-tech??but highly effective??strategies can help protect you from indoor pollution at home:

  1. Don't let pets in the bedrooms.
  2. Wear a mask while vacuuming.
  3. Wipe hard surfaces weekly with a moist cloth.
  4. Keep the humidity level in your home below 50%, if possible.
Here are some more things you should know if you're thinking about buying an air purifier. Portable devices make a fair amount of noise. Also you may still smell tobacco smoke after running your air cleaner. The smell of tobacco smoke comes from gases, not from the particles your air purifier removed.