Do Air Purifiers Actually Work?

Increased awareness of allergens, airborne diseases, and the importance of indoor air quality has led to increased adoption of air purifiers at homes, workplaces, and schools. Air purifiers are billed to reduce air pollutants, such as mold spores, allergens, pet dander, and volatile organic compounds. While most people believe that these devices improve air quality, do they actually work?

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers have a simple working principle. They draw in the air using a motor-powered fan. Drawn air is passed through several filters, eliminating air pollutants and other contaminants. Air purifiers may have two, three, or five filtration units, depending on the unit. There are two main types of air purifiers. They include;

1. Filtered

They are the most popular and effective air purifiers. They have one or several air filters that trap air pollutants as air passes through. Most filtered air purifiers have HEPA filters, which remove up to 99.97% of air pollutants larger than 0.3 microns.

Filtered air purifiers also have a pre-filter designed to capture large particles, like pet hair, and an activated carbon filter, which absorbs unpleasant gases, volatile organic compounds, and fumes that the HEPA filter cannot capture. Due to these capabilities, filtered air purifiers can remove mold, fungi, and other indoor allergens that negatively affect human health.

2. Ionic Purifiers

Most people prefer ionic air purifiers because they are comparably cheap. However, they aren’t as effective as filtered purifiers. Unlike filtered options, ionic purifiers don’t draw in air. Instead, they release electrically charged ions into the air. These negatively charged ions attach to air particles, including mold, chemicals, and allergens, grounding them to surfaces, such as walls and floors.

Some ionic purifiers have an oppositely-charged collecting plate that attracts the negative ions with already trapped air contaminants. However, others don’t have a collecting plate, meaning that these particles can recirculate if you sweep, lean on the wall, or walk on the floor. Besides, negative ions emitted by ionic purifiers can affect human health negatively.

What Can Air Purifiers Do?

Air purifiers can;

  • Remove pollutants – air pollutants, such as smoke and dust, are irritating and exacerbate several respiratory issues, such as asthma. Reliable purifiers can eliminate smoke, odors, and other air pollutants.

  • Clears viruses from the air – air purifiers also eliminate airborne viruses, such as mold spores and COVID-19. These viruses are transmitted as tiny aerosol particles released when an infected person coughs, breathes out, or sneezes.

  • Can inform you of indoor air quality – modern air purifiers are fitted with sensors that determine the amount of pollution in the air. They also measure indoor air humidity and temperature. Homeowners can use these units to monitor their indoor air quality and humidity.

What Can’t Air Purifiers Do?

While air purifiers eliminate air contaminants, they can’t do the following;

  • Keep your home germ-free – while purifiers can filter our germs, they only filter the air within the room. Therefore, contaminated air in other rooms and viruses that settle on surfaces won’t be filtered.

  • It cannot guarantee frequent air changes – ideally, indoor air should be replaced severally with fresh air to prevent odors, moisture, and carbon dioxide buildup. If this isn’t possible, especially in small rooms with minimal ventilation, air purifiers won’t help.

Bottom Line: Do They Work?

While air purifiers work effectively, they have some caveats. Enjoying the benefits of air purifiers depends on several factors, including;

  • The type of purifier
  • Where the purifier is used
  • The initial level of air contamination
  • How often the air filter is replaced

Fortunately, you can maximize the benefits of air purifiers by sweeping, vacuuming, cleaning dust, and mopping frequently.

the authorABHIYAN
Abhiyan Chhetri is a cybersecurity journalist with a passion for covering latest happenings in cyber security and tech world. In addition to being the founder of this website, Abhiyan is also into gaming, reading and investigative journalism.