If you’ve recently moved into a house or apartment where the last occupant smoked, or if you live with someone currently who smokes inside, you may be trying to get rid of that awful smell. At some point you may have even asked the question, “Do air purifiers help with cigarette smoke?”
Well, the short and sweet answer to that question is: yes, air purifiers can absolutely help you get rid of the odors and toxic particles of cigarette smoke. For that matter, an air purifier can also help you get rid of smoke from wood fires, forest fires and cooking as well.
But in order to properly clean your air, you’ve got to make sure you get the right air purifier for the job. In this blog post we’ll discuss how air purifiers work to remove harmful toxins from your home’s air, and also share the exact features to look for.
If you don’t care about the technical mumbo-jumbo, you can click here to start shopping for air purifiers that are specifically made to remove smoke.
What is Smoke Made of?
The contents of smoke may surprise you. There are actually visible particles and invisible particles. The visible particles you can see swirling around in the air are primarily made up of tar, ash, carbon and oils. The invisible elements, also known as volatile organic compounds or VOCs, contain a variety of liquid, solid, and gas particles. These particles linger in the air for a while but eventually sink into the surrounding environment – as in they sink into your drapes, carpeting and furniture.
But what exactly are you sharing a space with and inhaling? Well, cigarette smoke has over 600 ingredients and 7,000 total chemicals that are released every time one is lit. When tobacco is burned, more than 150 billion tar particles are released per cubic inch. That makes cigarette smoke 10,000 more concentrated than the pollution given off by cars during a rush hour commute!
You may be surprised to learn that the visible smoke you see from a cigarette only makes up roughly 5 to 8% of the total output. The remaining 92 to 95% of the smoke is the invisible VOCs I just mentioned. And this invisible smoke contains several toxic gasses including carbon monoxide, acrolein, hydrogen cyanide, formaldehyde, nitrogen oxide, and others.
How Does an Air Purifier Help with Smoke?
An air purifier acts like a giant lung. It “inhales” the air in your home, cleans it through advanced filtration systems, then “exhales” the clean air back out into your home’s environment.
Now to understand how an air purifier helps with cigarette smoke and what to look for when purchasing one, we’ve got to talk about those filtrations systems.
Air purifiers typically come with either a HEPA filtrations system or an Activated Carbon filtration system. In some cases, an air purifier may come with both. If you want to remove all of the harmful cigarette substances in smoke, you will need an air purifier that comes with BOTH types of systems. Here’s why:
True HEPA filters have been designed to remove 99.97% of those visible smoke particles you see. True HEPA filters have been certified to be able to remove particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, so they are perfect at trapping smoke particles.
But as powerful as HEPA filters are at removing particulate matter, they aren’t able to remove the majority – that 92-95% of the invisible smoke elements that linger. For that you need an Activated Carbon filter that is designed to remove gaseous VOCs. These pollutants are absorbed and stick to the outside of the carbon so the air that is released back into your home is pure and clean.
Other Considerations When Buying an Air Purifier for Cigarette Smoke
Now you know you will need to purchase an air purifier that houses both a True HEPA filter and Activated Carbon filter in order to remove cigarette smoke effectively. But what other things do you need to keep in mind?
Change Filters Regularly
It goes without saying that the filtration system within an air purifier is where the clean air magic happens. But your filters can only work when they are free of clogs. For this reason, you will want to be sure you replace your filters often. For most people, following the manufacturer’s guidelines will suffice. For those households that may be dealing with cigarette smoke as well as another pollutant, say pet dander, you may need to replace your filters more often as they may become clogged more quickly. It’s always a good idea to have some new filters on hand so you can easily swap them out when necessary.
Another important consideration is the size of the room or rooms you will be using an air purifier in. Each unit is built to be able to handle a certain size room, much like an air conditioner. If you want your air purifier to work as efficiently as possible, then be sure to measure your room(s) beforehand, then purchase the unit(s) that can accommodate that size.
Have Any Questions?
Hopefully we have answered your question, “Do air purifiers help with cigarette smoke?” If you have any other questions about buying the right air purifier to help remove the toxins and odor of cigarette smoke from your home, then please feel free to get in touch with us.
We don’t think we’re in the business of selling air purifiers – we believe we’re in the business of helping families breathe easier.