An air purifier in your home can improve the quality of indoor air. You may not realize it, but every time you open the door or crack a window, you’re giving microscopic pollutants from passing vehicles a clear path into the lungs of your loved ones. But the quality of indoor air isn’t just affected by particles from the outdoors. Cigarette smoke, pet dander, and failed attempts at becoming a master chef can all impact the air we breathe in pretty nasty ways.
To maintain clean indoor air, all you need to do is never open doors or windows, get rid of your pets, and give up on your dreams of becoming the next celebrity chef. However, a more realistic yet extremely effective way to prevent inhaling harmful particles when chilling at home is by getting an air purifier.
Advantages of an Air Purifier
Apart from not having to give your pet away, there are several reasons why you should seriously consider getting an air purifier for your home.
Dust, pet dander/hair, and pollen are all popular causes of allergic reactions. Millions of people are affected by these allergens, and there’s virtually no 100% way to eliminate the risk of allergic reactions other than keeping your pet outdoors and covering your entire home in serene wrapping. The most effective way to reduce the effects of these allergens is by getting an air purifier which suctions up microscopic particles which tickle our respiratory systems and send us into a coughing and/or sneezing fit.
Fireplace and Wood Stove Debris
If you’re old-school and light the fireplace every so often or cook using a wood stove, then an air purifier is a must-have tool. Even though your home may be properly ventilated, there’s no guarantee that you can rid the indoors of wood dust. An air purifier with the right filter can retain the combustion particles and prevent them from traveling freely throughout your home.
Indoor odors can come from a wide range of different sources. Common examples are cooking (successful or failed attempts), smoking, and mold spores; all of which are not only nose-wrinkling but can also be hazardous to our health. Air purifiers with carbon and HEPA-grade filters will eliminate these odors in no time.
Toxic fumes are introduced into our homes in various ways. The most common of which is cleaning supplies which work well on floors, walls, and tiles, but also leaves a lingering, chemical smell. Or perhaps you or your child is hobbyist artists who use paint, enamels, glue, and other chemical materials in the craft. Whatever the case, an air purifier is extremely effective at reducing the concentration of these odors and eliminating them over a couple of hours.
Air Purifier Buying Guide
As you can see, an air purifier is an important appliance if you care for the well-being of those in your household. The biggest obstacle that you’ll run into is finding the most appropriate air purifier for your home/office/apartment/dorm. Luckily, finding the right model isn’t that big of a challenge if you know what sort of problems you’re dealing with and what an air purifier can do.
For the remainder of this article, we’ll focus on how you can purchase the best air purifier for eliminating dust, smoke, and pet hair.
Air Purifier for Dust
Eliminating airborne dust particles is one of the most basic functions of an air purifier. Because of this, there isn’t a specific feature or add-on that you need to consider. We’ll go over the basics of what to look for when shopping for a dust-removing air purifier.
One of the most important considerations you’ll ever have to make when shopping for an air purifier is determining how powerful a unit you need. Air purifiers are made to clear the air in differently sized rooms. Get your measuring tape because you’ll need to measure the dimensions of the room in which to place an air purifier.
Manufacturers mention the square footage capacity of their air purifiers, but this is always under the assumption that it’s being used in rooms of at most 8 feet high. If you have higher ceilings, a good rule of thumb is to subtract 20% from the square footage capacity of an air purifier model.
If you wish to take the air purifier from room to room, depending on where you are or which room is the dustiest, then you want to opt for a portable model. These come with casters and carrying handles for easy movement of the unit without any hassles. Stay away from wall-mounted models in this case.
Air Quality Indicator
Even though we have an innate sense of how dusty a room is (sneezing is a good indicator), you may want to rely on a more accurate system. Many modern air purifiers come with an air quality indicator which uses LED lights to alert you of how dusty the air in a room is. Some models also automatically switch fan speeds based on the quality of the surrounding air.
True HEPA Filter
True HEPA filters are ones that retain up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. That is much, much smaller than what our eyes can see. True HEPA filters are much more effective than standard filters at capturing microscopic particles and preventing them from being released back into the air. If dust and mold spores are things that frighten you, then HEPA filters are what you need.
An ionizing feature gives airborne particles a charge, clumping them together and making them much easier to retain in an air purifier’s pre-filter. However, some air purifier models with an ionizer produce ozone, a lung irritant which is counterproductive to the whole purpose of air purifiers. Avoid these if possible.
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Air Purifier for Smoke
To get rid of smoke and foul odors, the air purifier needs to be specially designed for the job. Take a close look at the following guide to get whether a prospective air purifier has what it takes to do the job.
Activated Carbon Filter
The most reliable system to get rid of cigarette and cigar smoke odors is an activated granular carbon filter. Microscopic particles responsible for giving smoke their foul odors are captures only in these filters.
However, there are two things you need to be aware of regarding carbon filters. First, they have an incredibly short lifespan and require replacing every three months or so, depending on how heavy a smoker is in your home. We’d recommend finding an air purifier with an Energy Star certification which does not improve the effectiveness of the carbon filter but rather reduces energy consumption. That way you’ll have a bit more in your wallet for replacement carbon filters.
Second, carbon filters have very limited uses. Apart from eliminating cigarette smoke, they can also help in capturing traffic pollution that finds its way in your home. As for dust and pet dander and hair problems, the carbon filter will not help in any meaningful manner.
To improve the versatility of the air purifier, we’d recommending finding a model that uses multiple filters, one of them being a true HEPA filter.
One of the handiest features that a cigarette or cigar smoke air purifier can have is an auto timer. This feature lets you run the air purifier for a predetermined about of time, typically between 1 and 8 hours, without having to babysit it. If you’d like to leave a room smelling fresh, just turn the air purifier on and let it do its thing.
The portability of the air purifier is entirely up to you. If your home has a designated area for smokers – e.g. enclosed porches or a partitioned room – then a wall-mount unit may be more appropriate. However, if you or someone else smokes in whichever part of your home is available, an air purifier with casters and a carrying handle would be ideal. After all, the air purifier will only work if it’s in the room where the lingering odor is.
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Air Purifier for Pet Hair
Let’s get something out in the open right now. Pet hair is not a known allergen. Pet dander is the real culprit behind itchy noses and coughing fits. However, this doesn’t mean that pet hair is not a nuisance. For most homeowners with pets, hair can be found anywhere, including furniture and shelves, when it goes airborne. This is why it’s extremely important to have a hair-capturing air purifier. Let’s go over what things to look for an air purifier for pet hair.
Even though True HEPA filters are more effective at trapping minuscule dust and dander particles, for trapping pet hair, a HEPA-type filter would be ideal. HEPA-type filters trap debris as large as 4 microns in width which is small enough for pet hair without the risk of clogging. Furthermore, replacement HEPA-type filters are considerably less inexpensive than their TRUE counterparts. This’ll help you save a few bucks down the road and allow you to run the air purifier for longer to retain more airborne pet hair.
True HEPA Filter
However, if you’re dealing with dander which an entirely different beast, then you’ll need True HEPA filters to get the job done. They eliminate 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns in diameter, effectively trapping dander and preventing it from wreaking havoc on your sinuses.
Well, what about smelly pet odor? HEPA-type filters will do nothing to get rid of the smells coming from your dog after a long day at the park or from your cat from doing nothing all day. Activated carbon filters are the only type of filter that can remove smells as contaminated air passes through it. When looking for an air purifier for your pets, make sure that at least one of its filtration stages includes a carbon filter.
Germicidal UV Rays
Some air purifiers are equipped with killer lasers. More accurately, they come with UV-C rays that deactivate the DNA of airborne pathogens so they can’t spread serious illnesses. Bacteria and viruses may not originate from your pets, but it’s still a good backup measure to ensure that the air you breathe is as free of unhealthy particles as possible.
Some air purifiers for handling pet problems are equipped with a smart sensor which detects the quality of the surrounding air. When it finds that the air is full of airborne pollutants, it’ll switch to a higher fan speed to eliminate more dander and hair quicker. After the air has a more tolerable amount of floating debris, it’ll revert to its previous setting on its own accord. The smart sensor makes the air purifier a more convenient tool since you don’t need to babysit it or monitor the air around you constantly.
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Since we breathe air, it only makes sense that we want to keep the air within our homes as free of pollutants as possible. This is achievable only by owning an air purifier – a tool that eliminates microscopic allergens and gives your home better, fresher, more breathable air in moments.
Finding the “right” air purifier is a matter of what you need it to do. There are several general usage models for dust and other irritants, while others are built specifically for certain jobs. In this article, we’ve left you with three different buying guides: how to find the right air purifier for dust (general-purpose units), for smoke, and for pet hair.
For dust, the most important consideration to make is whether the unit can handle the size of your home or specific rooms. We’d highly recommend you get an air purifier that comes with True HEPA filters (99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns) if you suffer from seasonal allergies and/or are extremely sensitive to dust and mold. Also, avoid models that produce ozone, a lung irritant.
When dealing with smoke and kitchen odors, apart from the square footage capacity of the unit, you’ll also need to consider what sort of filters it comes with. For foul smells, only activated carbon filters can do the trick. Things like casters and an onboard timer are nice-to-have features.
Finally, to get rid of pet hair, the air purifier needs to have a HEPA-type filter which deals with larger airborne particles. A True HEPA Filter would end up getting clogged by the hair, and replacements can be quite costly. Another nice feature would be a carbon filter which will help remove nasty smells that come from your pets. Furthermore, UV-C rays will kill any virus, bacteria, or other pathogens brought in by your pets after a long day at the park.