IS IT TIME FOR A NEW AIR PURIFIER?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency warns that indoor air is often more polluted than outdoor air. That’s not good when you consider that about 90 percent of Americans spend the majority of their time indoors. A whopping 1 in 4 Americans say they average 21 to 24 hours indoors each day, and 41 percent of people spend 15 to 20 hours inside.
If you can relate to these statistics, it’s probably time for a new air purifier. You may also want to consider an upgrade if any of the following statements apply to you:
- Your current air purifier runs slowly or loudly
- You have dropped your air purifier or submerged it in water
- You have respiratory issues that have not improved with your existing air purifier
- You have recently added dogs, cats or other pets to your family
- You use chemical-laden cleaning supplies rather than natural ones
- Running your air purifier regularly creates high utility expenses
- You have an outdated air purifier that lacks the features you want and need
Even if none of these statements apply, you may still need a new air purifier if you are unhappy with the one you already have. Air purifiers are built to last for a long time, but you don’t have to keep yours forever if it doesn’t meet your needs.
HOW AIR PURIFIERS IMPACT OUR LIVES
Polluted air makes it difficult to breathe, and it may even make your home smell bad. Cigarettes, fried foods and litter boxes often create unpleasant odors, but an air purifier can help remove them. An air purifier can also improve your health as indoor air pollution can create numerous issues, including:
- Burning or itching eyes
- Nasal congestion
- Shortness of breath
Left untreated, these symptoms may trigger or evolve into long-term conditions or diseases such as:
- Reactive airway disease
- Chronic bronchitis
- Heart disease
An air purifier doesn’t remove 100 percent of airborne pathogens, but it greatly improves the air quality in your home. Running an air purifier 24/7 helps you breathe easily – now, and in the future – by filtering out harmful particles.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN CHOOSING A NEW AIR PURIFIER
There’s no one-size-fits-all design for air filters, so it’s important to choose one that meets your needs. Before you purchase an air purifier, ask yourself the following questions:
- Do I have any allergies?
- Where will I put my new air purifier?
- What size air purifier do I need?
- Do I need more than one air purifier?
- What features will benefit me, and which features can I skip?
- Does appearance matter?
- How much do I want to spend on an air purifier?
- How will I maintain my air purifier?
These questions are necessary if you want to find an air purifier that meets your current and long-term needs. All air purifiers help improve indoor air quality, but some are made specifically for people with allergies or respiratory issues. These air purifiers may perform better than basic models designed for general use.
Decide where you want to put your air purifier before you buy one. Many purifiers are bulky, so you may not want one in your kitchen or living room. If you do place a purifier in an easy-to-see spot, you may want to choose one that matches your home decor. Air purifiers come in many colors and sizes, so it’s not difficult to find one that complements your style.
Think about what you expect from your air purifier. Do you want to press a button and let it work its filtration magic, or do you want m control the purification process? Do you plan to run it day and night, or would you like an automatic shutoff feature? Keep in mind that special features often come with a hefty price tag, so don’t overspend if you can live without certain functions.
Maintenance also matters. Some people don’t mind vacuuming an air purifier’s filter regularly or wiping down the exterior while others want a hassle-free air purifier that requires minimal maintenance.
THE AIR PURIFIER SHOPPING EXPERIENCE
Many adults find shopping for household appliances such as air purifiers overwhelming, and understandably so. There are many options and brands to choose from, which is why we recommend asking yourself the questions above before you start shopping. This will give you a basic idea of what you want so you aren’t wandering aimlessly through a store’s aisles or clicking photo after photo of online products.
Make a list of the features you want so it’s easy to remember. Include everything, even things that may seem minor such as the color you prefer. You may also want to jot down your preferred budget so you don’t spend more than intended.
WHICH STORE SHOULD YOU CHOOSE?
You can purchase air purifiers from local stores, large retailers and online merchants. When you shop in person, you may be able to view models outside of the box. However, you don’t have all of the reviews and specifications available that you may find when you browse online stores.
If you’re a hands-on person who likes to see things in person before you buy them, start your air purifier search in local stores. If you value convenience and like detailed information about potential purchases, stick with online retailers.
You should also consider your ability to transport an air purifier to your home if you shop at a local store. Some air purifiers are large and heavy, so you may struggle to get it home on your own. You may find it easier to buy a purifier from an online site that offers delivery. Some online merchants even offer free installation, but you can also call an HVAC specialist if you need help.
TYPES OF AIR PURIFIERS
There are five main types of air purifiers: HEPA air purifiers, ozone and ionic air purifiers, UV air purifiers, electrostatic air purifiers and activated carbon air purifiers. We’ll explain each one below.
As you review the following options, keep in mind you aren’t limited to one type of filtration. Many homeowners purchase multiple air purifiers or add several filter types to one purifier.
HEPA Air Purifiers
HEPA air purifiers are ideal if you have allergies or suspect you have a high volume of dust mites, pet dander or mold spores in your home. HEPA filters remove at least 99.7 percent of airborne particles measuring 0.3 microns or larger, and some HEPA filters effectively capture particles as small as 0.1 micron.
Ozone Purifiers and Ionic Air Purifiers
Ozone air purifiers and ionic air purifiers behave in a similar manner. Each of these purifiers send a charge to neutral airborne particles. This makes the particles stick to surfaces rather than floating in the air.
These purifiers may cause issues if you have an existing respiratory condition, so you may want to try a HEPA purifier instead.
UV Air Purifiers
Are you a germophobe? Then you need a UV air purifier. They eliminate bacteria, viruses and mold with powerful light. However, they don’t capture gas or cigarette smoke, so you may need a second filtration system for that.
Electrostatic Air Purifier
Electrostatic air purifiers convert neutral particles to charged particles during the filtration process using an electrical current. To understand this process, try thinking of them as magnets for the converted particles. The airborne particles have a negative charge after the conversion process, and the filters have a positive charge.
Because they now have opposite charges, these converted particles cling to the electrostatic filter inside the air purifier. You can typically clean and reuse an electrostatic filter, but unfortunately, you cannot use your air purifier without a filter. That means you may have a day or two of downtime while you wait for your electrostatic filter to dry.
Activated Carbon Air Purifiers
Air purifiers with activated carbon filters trap gases and fumes, so they’re often paired with other forms of air filtration, such as UV and HEPA, for particulate removal. Activated carbon is known for tackling hard-to-remove odors so your home smells fresh.
Pricing for air purifiers varies drastically, with lower-end models as cheap as $50 to $100 and high-end models costing as much as $1,000 or $2,000. If you have $200 to $300, that’s generally enough to get a mid-sized air purifier with a few basic features.
An air purifier is not a one-time expense, so keep that in mind when you choose a model for your home. Air purifiers require energy, so they will increase your utility bills and also require new filters on a semi-regular basis.
Breathing in polluted air can make you sick and cause serious health issues. While you can’t always prevent pollution, you can improve the air quality of your home with an air purifier. A quality air filter transforms debris-filled air into fresh, clean air you can comfortably and confidently inhale.
Don’t just buy the first air purifier you find, though. Consider the features you need as well as your budget, then shop for air purifiers that fit your requirements. If the air purifier you choose doesn’t perform as expected, don’t toss it in the donation bin just yet. Experiment with different filters until your air purifier effectively removes dust and other particles.
Creating clean air in your home isn’t an unattainable goal. Sometimes the process just requires a few test runs with an efficient air purifier and filters tailored to your household’s needs.