When you think of air pollution, you probably think of hazy outdoor air. But in fact, indoor air generally contains about 2 to 5 times as many pollutants as outdoor air. For the safety of your family and your pets, you can minimize or eliminate these pollutants with an air purifier. But some wonder — are air purifiers safe for homes?
Here we’ll take a closer look at the types of pollutants that may be present in your home, and why an air purifier is a safe way of cleaning your indoor air and reducing allergens.
What pollutants are inside your home?
Inside your home, the air may contain traces of hazardous chemicals from cleaning products, nitrogen dioxide from tobacco smoke and/or carbon monoxide from a gas stove. Other harmful indoor pollutants include formaldehyde from pressed wood products and lead from old lead-based paints. Asbestos from floor tiles and roof shingles can further add to indoor pollution. Likewise, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are harmful contaminants that can be off-put from varnished furniture, newly installed carpet and other furnishings.
How to keep your indoor air clean
You can reduce the effects of these harmful pollutants on your family’s health by minimizing the use of chemical-based products. To help in keeping your home environment fresh, you should be mindful of the type of materials used in your furniture, particularly the formaldehyde present in varnished finishes.
Here are a few recommendations that can help improve your indoor air:
- Stop smoking, or avoid smoking inside the house.
- Add indoor plants that produce fresh oxygen. Plants can beautify the space while enhancing the quality of air at the same time.
- Replace chemical-based cleaners with natural products.
- Do away with carpet, since carpet accumulates dust over time, which can become airborne with movements and strong winds.
While preventive measures are a good way to start, the best way to manage poor air quality issues is with an air purifier. Having an air purification system in your home can help clean the air from unwanted pollutants such as tiny dirt and dust particles, germs, tobacco smoke, foul odors and allergens.
Benefits and Disadvantages of Air Purifiers
While air purifiers provide a lot of benefits, they can be costly to purchase. Here we’ll examine the pros and cons of air purifiers so you can decide whether to invest in one for your home.
Advantages of air purifiers
- Keeps indoor air clean from tiny dust particles and tobacco smoke
- Removes odors and pet dander from the air
- Eliminates harmful gaseous and biological pollutants (when equipped with a HEPA filter)
- Prevents possible health problems associated with poor air quality, such as itchy eyes, headache, dizziness, and sore throat
Prolonged exposure to indoor air contaminants can lead to allergy flareups, asthma attacks and other health implications, particularly for people with preexisting conditions. An air purifier is an effective way to combat these issues, as well as maintaining overall higher quality indoor air with less odor and dust.
Disadvantages of air purifiers
- Safety concerns with certain types of air purifiers
The purchase price is one of the major drawbacks of an air purifier. A high-quality air purifier that can process large amounts of air will generally run several hundred dollars. While you can find cheaper models for less than $100, these products are typically only good for very small areas, or have low quality filtration.
Maintenance is another disadvantage. Periodic cleaning of the filter or collection plates is necessary, otherwise they’ll no longer be effective in eliminating air pollutants. Dirty filters can further add to your indoor pollution problem, due to bacterial growth that can be emitted back into the atmosphere.
Some filters are disposable, with manufacturers recommending yearly replacements that can cost anywhere from $30 to $200.
Be careful when shopping for an air purifier to avoid ones that generate ozone as a by-product. Likewise, air cleaners with ionizers and equipped with electrostatic precipitators can pose potential hazards to health. Exposure to ozone may lead to various health issues like shortness of breath, throat irritation, coughing, and chest pain. Furthermore, it can trigger asthma attacks and worsen chronic respiratory disease.
Which air purifier is right for your home?
The best air purifiers for homes are those fitted with a true HEPA filter. This is short for High-Efficiency Particulate Air filter and this kind of filter effectively traps airborne particles. It is also effective against pollutants that are hazardous to everyone in the household, especially babies and those with allergies or respiratory conditions.
Furthermore, look for a model with extra low noise features. This allows you to run the device all night long without causing sleep disturbance. Ready to find the air purifier that’s right for your family? Take a look at our Best Air Purifier reviews and start your journey to a safer, cleaner home.