Last Updated December 8, 2020
What is an Air Purifier
The air around us is filled with hundreds of thousands of tiny particles. While some of these particles are benign, others can be poisonous to if inhaled. Breathing in these harmful compounds can have both short and long-term effects on our overall health.
The good news is that there is a simple and easy way to get rid of these nasty particles and breathe pure, fresh air.
Air purifiers filter out toxins in the air so that you can maintain your health. Even if you have been exposed to polluted air for a long time, it is never to late to reap the benefits of improved air quality.
How Does an Air Purifier Work
Have you ever used a water purifier?
If so, then you have a good general idea of how air purifiers work.
Essentially, air purifiers take in polluted air, run it through a filter, and then emit clean air. The filters are designed to catch toxins and other particles that you don’t want in your lungs.
Indoor air purifiers are often filtering out things like pet dander, pollen, mold, smoke, cleaning products, dust, allergens, and more. Depending on the size of and layout of your home or business, you may need more than one air purifier to keep all of the air in the building sanitized.
Typically, an air purifier is small and can be plugged into a standard outlet. You can think of them as being the opposite of a diffuser; instead of adding particles to the air, they get rid of pollutants.
How Well Do Air Purifiers Work
Like most products, there is a wide range of effectiveness when it comes to air purifiers.
In general, air purifiers do a great job of getting larger particles out of the air. A higher quality air purifier will also get some smaller particles. The best air purifiers will sanitize the air in addition to filtering it.
In order to get the most out of your air purifier, however, you will need to regularly change the filter and make sure that you don’t try to filter an area larger than recommended by the manufacturer.
Why is Air Quality Important
Short term exposure to air pollutants can cause a wide range of problems. It can make your eyes itch and your nose run. It can also cause respiratory problems, especially in people who already suffer from asthma and allergies.
Long term exposure is even worse. Effects include asthma, breathing problems, weak lungs, and emphysema. Breathing too much low quality air for too long has also been associated with cancer and shorter life spans.
Remember, when you breathe, oxygen in the air is transported to your bloodstream. If there are other things in the air like mold, cigarette smoke, smog, dander, etc. these will enter your circulatory system as well.
Your body doesn’t need all of this stress added onto its respiratory and cardiovascular systems. An air purifier will get rid of those toxins and keep you and your family healthy. After all, if we pay attention to the ingredients in the food we eat, why shouldn’t we consider what is in the air we breathe?
How Can I Measure Air Quality?
Most local weather stations will give you an air quality index and give a daily pollen count forecast. This can help you gauge the amount of pollution and allergens in the air outside. While indoor air quality will likely be a little better than the outdoor quality, there will not be that much of a difference.
If you have allergies or asthma, you will also be able to tell immediately when the air around you is polluted. It will start to affect your breathing immediately.
Some people are also really sensitive to smells. While it’s not a 1:1 ratio, lots of airborne odors can also indicate low air quality.
Types of Air Purifiers
There are five main types of air purifiers. All of them essentially draw air in with a fan, filter it, and then push it out. It is the filtration system that generally varies from product to product.
- HEPA: You’ve probably heard the term HEPA before. It’s simply an acronym that stands for High Energy Particulate Air. HEPA filters are designed to filter out essentially all particles larger than 0.3 micrometers. (Remember that 1000 micrometers–also called microns–can fit in a millimeter!) These filter out pollutants much smaller than those detectable by the human eye.
Though HEPA filters themselves do not generally catch odors, most of some kind of activated carbon or something similar added to do that. They also work best when the filters are clean. Most filters, however, only need to be replaced about every two to four years.
- UV: We’ve all heard about harmful UV rays, right? That’s because overexposure to UV rays can cause damage to our cells.
The same is true for toxins in the air. When they are exposed to UV rays in an air purifier, they are destroyed or neutralized. The most effective UV air purifiers will combine UV radiation with a filtration system for maximum effectiveness.
- Carbon: Activated carbon is incredibly porous, so it is great at absorbing airborne chemicals, including perfume, smog, and tobacco smoke. It is great for people who are really sensitive to these types of compounds, especially those with asthma. While activated carbon might not be as good at filtering out larger particles like dust, it can definitely get dangerous chemicals out of the air you breathe.
- Negative Ion: Remember in high school chemistry class when you learned that a negative ion is an atom that has more electrons that protons?
A negative ion purifier uses negatively charged oxygen atoms to magnetically attract harmful compounds in the air. When the newly formed molecule gets too heavy, it attaches itself to a wall or to the floor.
Perhaps you can already see the problem with these types of air purifiers. A good air purifier will clean the air. Negative ion purifiers just cover up the problem by moving the pollutants. We do not recommend negative ion purifiers for this reason.
- Ozone: Ozone filters supposedly work by releasing ozone into the air with the goal of having the O3 particles bond with dangerous chemicals. Unfortunately, this hasn’t been shown to work. Instead, your ozone-releasing air purifier could just be emitting tons of ozone into the air and adding another contaminant into it. Many chemicals do not readily bond with ozone, while others such as dust don’t bond at all.
Definitely avoid ozone emitting air purifiers. Not only are they ineffective. They may be dangerous.
Types of Filters Used
The two most common types of filters used in air purifiers are HEPA and carbon filters, mentioned above.
HEPA filters are great at trapping and eliminating particles that aggravate allergies and asthma. Carbon filters are great at getting rid of chemicals, but they are not as good at getting rid of other irritants such as dust.
Which Filter is Best
HEPA filters are the best bet for most household-use air purifiers. Make sure to get one that not only eliminates particles but also eliminates odors. This will help you ensure you and your household are breathing clean, fresh air and staying healthy.
Who Should Get Air Purifiers
Raise your hand if you breathe on a regular basis.
If your hand is up, you could benefit from an air purifier.
Think about it. We really do not thank our lungs enough for the hard work they do. And we are doing them no favors when we constantly inhale chemicals and allergens.
In fact, lung cancer consistently ranks as the most deadly cancer in the United States, and other lung diseases, such as pneumonia and influenza, take a serious toll as well.
While everyone could benefit from having a high-quality air purifier, some groups of people may get more out of using them, including:
- Kids: Children breathe more frequently than adults and need more oxygen. This means that, if there are toxins in the air, they are taking more of them in. It also means that they are going to have longer exposure to the pollutants and will be at a higher risk of developing lung disease as an adult. For this reason, many people put air purifiers in their children’s nurseries or rooms. Some teachers even put them in classrooms.
- Older Adults: Older adults are more prone to respiratory infections, so they should be getting the highest-quality air possible. If you have an older loved one in your life, consider getting him or her an air purifier, especially if they live in the city, smoke, or have pets.
- People with Asthma and Allergies: Quite literally, little things can trigger asthma and allergies. An easy way to avoid an attack is to get an air purifier and ensure that your air is free of irritants. Some people like having an air purifier in their basements if they flood or are prone to mold and mildew. Others like having an air purifier to neutralize pet dander or their roommate’s cigarette smoke.
- Pregnant Women: You already take your prenatal vitamins and your prenatal DHA, and you do gentle exercise on a regular basis. You’ve been wearing compression socks to ward off varicose veins and eating the highest quality nutrient dense foods. Why? Because you want to have a healthy baby!
Yet, studies have found a clear link between air pollution and low birth weight. If you live in an area that’s prone to smog or have other pollutants in your environment, you may want to consider getting an air purifier, stat! Maintaining air quality in your home or office can be one of the best things you do to help your developing baby.
Other Ways to Improve Air Quality
Of course, air purifiers are not the only way to improve air quality, though they may be one of the simplest!
Other steps you can take to ensure that you and your family are breathing fresh air include using an air conditioner instead of keeping the windows open. You should also vacuum and dust regularly, and, if you have a pet, keep their coat clean.
More difficult steps include trying to get your loved ones to stop smoking and sealing your basement so that it is no longer damp.
In the end, however, there are things outside of your control, such as the amount of smog in your city. This is why it may be best to combine these steps with an air purifier for the cleanest possible air.
Benefits of Having the Quietest Air Purifier
People are always looking for the quietest heaters, refrigerators, and vacuum cleaners. Air purifiers are no different.
If you have an appliance, you don’t want to constantly hear it. You don’t want to have to shout over it. You don’t want people to look around when they visit and ask “what is that sound?”
Even worse, some studies have even found that background noise from appliances can be bad for your brain health! That’s right! Background noise isn’t just annoying. It can be downright dangerous.
Since you want both lung and brain health, it’s in your interest to get an air purifier that works well and works quietly.
Features of a Quality Quiet Air Purifier
So what should you look for when you buy a high-quality air purifier?
First of all, look for something quiet. As we pointed out above, loud appliances are annoying and dangerous.
You also want something that is going to be effective. Don’t get an air purifier that will just mask pollutants. Get one that will eliminate or neutralize them. HEPA filters or HEPA filters combined with UV radiation will be your best bet.
You should also check if your air purifier gets rid of odors. If not, your air may still contain nasty smoke or pet smells even after it has been cleaned.
Make sure that you get the right size purifier for your space. An air purifier that cleans a 60 square foot office may not be enough for a 200 square foot master bedroom. In turn, that may not be enough for a 600 square foot open-floor plan living room.
Where Can You Use an Air Purifier
Air purifiers can be used in pretty much any indoor space.
They make great additions to offices and nurseries. They also can help get rid of the moldy smell common in damp basements.
If someone in your household smokes, an air purifier in the main room will help get rid of any tobacco toxins that are brought inside.
- Do Quiet Air Purifiers Work Just As Well As Regular Air Purifiers?
Of course! A quiet air purifier actually works better than a regular air purifier because it is helping your lungs and not harming your brain. Just because an appliance isn’t noisy doesn’t mean it isn’t working.
- How Often Do Filters Need to Be Replaced
This depends on the type of air purifier you buy, how often you use it, and how dirty your air is. Assuming you have a HEPA filter and not especially dirty air, a filter change ever one to two years should be fine.
The important thing to remember is that you *do* need to change your filter. You can’t expect that one filter will last for the rest of your life. As a filter gets full, the purifier will not work as well.
- Where Can You Buy a Quiet Air Purifier
You can buy a quiet air purifier where you buy everything: the internet! Though a quick Google search will yield thousands of results, we recommend buying your air purifier from a trust brand that uses trusted materials and has solid reviews.
You can also buy an air purifier at any store that sells small appliances. You’ll have fewer options, however, and you won’t have the opportunity to look at reviews. Generally, buying online will be your best bet.
- Can I Keep My Air Purifier Running 24/7
Yes. Air purifiers are actually designed for ’round-the-clock use. After all, you breathe 24/7, right? You can’t just expect toxins and pollutants in the air to magically disappear after a certain time.
Really, the only time you might be able to get away with turning off your air purifier is if you leave for a long time. For example, if you have an air purifier at your lake house, you can run it just on the weekend. Likewise, you can turn off your office air purifier during the weekend. Even then, however, you will see the best results with continuous use.
- Are Quiet Air Purifiers Safe to Use Around Children and Pets
Children breathe more often than adults, so they will benefit even more from having an air purifier. Quiet air purifiers in particular are great for nurseries, kids’ rooms, and even classrooms.
Many people are also sensitive to pet dander and odors. Air purifiers can help neutralize these irritants and make living with Fido much more pleasant.
Like an electronic, however, you want to put your air purifier somewhere where kids and pets can’t get to it. You don’t want them getting tangled in a cord or pulling it onto their heads.
- Do Air Purifiers Help With Allergies
Allergies happen when our immune systems overreact to an outside substance. They can cause coughing, wheezing, runny noses, and, sometimes, severe respiratory reactions that require hospitalization.
An easy way to prevent this from happening? Getting rid of the outside substances that are in the air we breathe!
Air purifiers filter out many common allergens including pollen, mold, and pet dander. Say goodbye to the sniffles and hello to easy breathing!
- Do Air Purifiers Help with Cigarette Smoke
In a perfect world, we would convince our roommates, friends, and family members to finally quit smoking.
The next best thing for those of us who live and interact with smokers on a daily basis, however, is getting rid of the smells and toxins associated with cigarettes. Remember, second-hand smoke can be deadly, and there is no risk-free level of exposure!
Air purifiers can help though. If odors are of particular concern for you, make sure to get one that traps both smells and particles. This will help minimize the effects of second-hand smoke on you and your loved ones.
- How can Air Purifiers Help with Asthma?
People with asthma have inflammation in their airways, so they are especially affected by unclean air. Many things that don’t bother other people are considered “triggers” for asthma in that they further inflame the lungs and make it hard to breather. While irritants vary from person to person, common ones include dander, dust mites, pollen, and mold.
Guess what? Air purifiers help to neutralize all of these issues. This is what makes them so popular among people (especially children) who suffer from asthma.
- Where’s the Best Place to Put an Air Purifier
The best placement for an air purifier depends on your reason for using it. If you suffer from pet allergies, putting your air purifier in the rooms your pet hangs out in the most is probably the best bet. If you use it for your child, putting it in your kid’s room will work the best. If you want an air purifier to neutralize mold, you may want to consider putting it in the basement or any damp rooms in your home.
Many people, especially those with severe allergies, will do best if they have multiple air purifiers in different rooms.
- How Much Do Air Purifiers Cost
You’ll see air purifiers for under $50, and you’ll see others for several hundred dollars. How do you choose?
Well, more expensive purifiers will generally be for larger spaces, be quieter, and eliminate odors as well as particles. Other common features include night lights, timers, filter change alerts, and fans.
If you want to get the best quality air purifier for your situation, read reviews and consider your price point. If you have a smaller room, you probably don’t need an air purifier for a 600 square foot space, for example. Likewise, however, you don’t want to get one that doesn’t eliminate odors if you are getting it because of cigarette smoke.
How to Take Care of an Air Purifier
The best thing you can do to take care of your air purifier and keep it running in top condition is to change the filter regularly. Otherwise, it will just consume energy and not do anything to significantly improve your air quality.
You can also go over the outside with a damp cloth to eliminate any dirt that has built up over time. As a precaution, you should probably first unplug the appliance.
Why Get a Quiet Air Filter
Life is hectic. The kids are loud. The dog is loud. But your health — and their health too! — is important.
There’s one simple way to improve your health today. It doesn’t involve a fancy gym membership or an overhaul of your eating habits. Simply installing an air purifier can ensure you breathe fresh air all day, every day. This will help stave off allergy and asthma attacks in the short term and chronic lung diseases like cancer in the long term. It can minimize the effects toxins you have little control over, including cigarette smoke, mold, and smog.
There is no reason to have a noisy air filter. In fact, it could be dangerous to your brain health. This is why quiet air filters are the best option.
Do the right thing for yourself and those you love. Invest in a quiet air purifier today and breathe clean from now on.