Do you or someone you love suffer from allergies? If so, you’re definitely not alone. It is estimated that more than 50 million Americans suffer from the horrific nasal congestion, coughing and sneezing fits that make life absolutely miserable.
Did you know that allergies are the 6th leading cause of chronic illness in this country?
If you’ve tried nasal sprays and pills that never really seem to work or, worse, come with nasty side effects, then you’re probably wondering “do air purifiers help with allergies?”
The short answer to that is, of course, yes!
But now let’s take a deeper dive so you know exactly how air purifiers work and exactly what to look for when buying one so you can get the relief you need.
How Do Air Purifiers Work Exactly?
Air purifiers “breathe in” the air in your home, clean it of any harmful particulate matter, and then “exhale” the clean air back out into your living space. All air purifiers use some kind of filtration system to do this important cleaning.
If you’ve been shopping around you have probably noticed there are two main types of air filters commonly used:
- HEPA filters
- Activated carbon filters
Each filter is powerful, but each filter handles removing different particulate matter.
True HEPA filters remove particulate matter from the air. They can handle 99.97% of allergens as small as 0.3 microns in size. Just how small is that? Consider the fact that human hair is 75-100 microns in size and you understand how microscopic the particles HEPA filters remove are.
Most allergens are particulate in nature. These include common allergens such as pollen, mold spores, pet dander, and dust. To remove these, you will need to make sure you buy an air purifier that uses a HEPA filtration system.
But as powerful as HEPA filters are, they cannot remove ALL allergens. There are some people who are allergic to volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that are found in things such as carpeting, furniture materials, paints, glues, and cleaning agents. These allergens are gaseous in nature and cannot be trapped by a HEPA filter.
To relieve yourself of VOCs, you will need an air purifier that comes with an activated carbon filter. These filters are specially treated to increase the surface area significantly, which then allows them to trap gasses. As an added bonus, activated carbon filters can trap odors, leaving your home smelling incredibly fresh and clean. (HINT HINT for all of you with pets!)
So, do air purifiers help with allergies? Definitely. Just be sure you really know what you are allergic to so you can purchase a unit that uses the right filtration system. There are air purifiers on the market that are equipped with both kinds of filtration systems so you can be sure to cover all of your bases. They cost a bit more, but for many people, the added expense is totally worth it.
Now that you know how air purifiers work to help relieve allergies, here are some other points to consider so you can be sure to buy the right unit for your home.
Buying a purifier with the right filtration system is not enough. You’ve also got to make sure your unit can handle the size of the room it will be used in. The air purifier must be powerful enough to handle the space or you won’t get the results you want.
In this case, we like to compare an air purifier to an air conditioner. You would never buy a tiny air conditioner built for a small 250 s. ft. bedroom and put it in your great 800 sq. ft. great room and expect it to be able to cool the space efficiently. It cools the bedroom perfectly, but it can’t do as good a job of cooling the great room.
The same is true for air purifiers. Each has been built with a specific square foot in mind, so it’s important you measure your room(s) so you can be sure you buy the right unit(s) for the job.
Here is an easy way to get the square footage of your room:
Measure the length and width of the room. If you find it is an odd length, it’s fine to round up to the nearest whole number to make the math easier. You will simply take the length of the room and multiply it by the width.
So for example, if your room is 20 feet length and 15 feet wide, you would multiply 20 x 15 and get a total square footage of 300 sq. ft. Easy.
Then, take this number and keep it in mind when shopping for a unit. You will see on the box or online specs that each unit is suitable for a certain square footage.
How Many Air Purifiers Do You Realistically Need?
Finally, you’ll want to consider using more than one unit in your house, depending on how bad your allergies are. For some people with mild allergies, an air purifier in their bedroom can be enough to bring some relief.
For other people with more severe reactions to multiple allergens, it may be necessary to add a unit to the rooms you spend the most amount of time. For most people this is the bedroom, living room and a home office.
It’s important to mention that, like an air conditioner, you’ll want to run the purifier 24 hours a day for it to be able to do its job properly. But don’t worry, studies have suggested the cost of running an air purifier is similar to the cost of having a table lamp on.
Stay on Top of Filter Replacement
Your air purifier can only work efficiently if your filters are clean. Be sure to replace your filters as often as the manufacturer recommends. You can also purchase a unit that comes with a “change filter” light. This is good for homes that have pets that may need to change their filter more often than the manufacturer recommends.
Do air purifiers help with allergies? Without a doubt, as long as you follow these guidelines to ensure you buy the right unit for your home and needs.