Indoor Air Quality Matters! Should You Buy Air Purifiers?

air purifiers

While there has long been a focus on outdoor air, recent events had brought long-overdue attention to indoor air quality. Indoor air can get very dirty. In fact, it can be five times more polluted than the outside air! Dust, building materials, tobacco smoke, mold, mildew, pollen, animal dander, formaldehyde, asbestos, air fresheners, wood smoke, paints and lacquers, and dry-cleaning chemicals, can all contribute to poor indoor air quality.

The immediate effects of indoor contaminants can be allergies, or irritation to your eyes, nose, or throat. Exposure can also cause headaches, fatigue, or dizziness. Long-term side effects could even include cancer and heart or respiratory diseases. 

Undoubtedly, the most effective way to improve indoor air quality is by keeping contaminants at bay or by removing them and adding more fresh air. But air purifiers can be a beneficial supplement. 

air purifiers

What do air purifiers do?

Before deciding if you should add one to your household, it is helpful to understand exactly what air purifiers do. Air purifiers “sanitize” the air by removing pollutants. Air purifiers usually include:

  • A fan that pulls in air and pushes clean air back into the environment
  • One or more filters that capture particles

What are air purifiers good for?

Air purifiers clean air by removing harmful allergens, mold, bacteria, VOCs, and other toxins. While doing so, they: 

  • Refresh air 
  • Neutralize odors
  • Reduce the spread of pathogens that can cause the spread of airborne diseases
  • Reduce asthma and allergy symptoms
  • Make soothing white noise that can promote better sleep

How to clean your air purifier

Most high-quality air purifiers cost between $200 and $900. If you’re ready to invest in one of these devices, you most definitely want to keep it running smoothly and doing its job for as long as possible. One of the best ways to do that is by keeping it clean. 

Regardless of the type of air purifier you own, you’ll need to unplug it before you clean it.

If your air purifier has a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, follow these steps:

  1.  Clean the filtered air outlets with a dry, clean, soft-bristled brush. 
  2.  Remove the front grill and clean it with a small amount of mild soap diluted in warm water. 
  3.  If the instructions say it’s safe, you can then clean the HEPA filter using water, or soak it and let it air dry.
  4.  If the instructions advise against water, remove debris using a vacuum. 
  5.  Reinstall the clean HEPA filter and the front grill.  
  6.  Wipe down the outside with a dry or slightly damp microfiber cloth. 

If your air purifier has a disposable filter, follow these steps: 

  1.  Clean the filtered air outlets with a dry, clean, soft-bristled brush. 
  2.  Remove the front grill and clean it with a small amount of mild soap diluted in warm water. 
  3.  Remove the dirty filter and replace it with a new manufacturer-approved filter.
  4.  Reinstall the front grill.
  5.  Wipe down the outside with a dry or slightly damp microfiber cleaning cloth. 

 How long do air purifiers last?

A standard HEPA filter should last six to 12 months, with the entire machine lasting up to five years. Many premium air purifiers come with a 2-year parts and labor warranty. 

How many air purifiers do I need? 

When it comes to figuring out how many air purifiers you need, you’ll begin by breaking home into the areas you want to focus on and then calculate square feet for each area. Let’s say you’re shopping for an air purifier for your master bedroom which is 350 square feet. Assuming you have an eight-foot ceiling (which is the default used by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers) you would divide 350 by 1.55 to calculate the clean air delivery rate (CADR) rating you’ll need your air purifier to have. So, for a 350 cubic foot room, you’ll need an air purifier with a CADR of at least 226. AHAM recommends you use the smoke CADR rating because it is the smallest particulate size measured. 

Are air purifiers worth it? 

The truth is, it depends! It might be that keeping your windows open, vacuuming more frequently, and regular AC filter replacement will do the trick. On the other hand, if you suffer from allergies or asthma, you may find that an air purifier with a HEPA filter significantly improves your quality of life!

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