The pandemic, combined with increased education about the importance of air quality, has greatly increased the demand for air purifiers. Although there is a wealth of information available, myths and misconceptions can still make it difficult for consumers to decide if an air purifier is right for them. Here are a few of the most common air purifier myths.
1. Air purifiers don’t do anything.
High-quality air purifiers are typically quiet and still. Without motion or sound, it can be easy to assume that the purifier isn’t doing much. However, that’s far from the truth. Even when they’re quiet, air purifiers are working hard to keep your indoor air clean.
An air purifier with a True HEPA filter needs to be able to remove 99.95% or more of all particles which are 0.3 microns in diameter, but the reality is that they are actually capable of filtering out particles of almost any size. A True HEPA filter can trap dust, mold, smoke, pet allergens, PM2.5 (dangerous particles that are 2.5 microns or smaller), and even bacteria and viruses.
When an air purifier is used consistently, you will notice that allergy and asthma symptoms will be greatly reduced. You should also be able to sleep better and be less prone to catching illnesses.
To check if the purifier is running, simply put the back of your palm or your face where your device lets air come out and feel if there is a breeze. If you can’t feel anything, you may need your purifier to be repaired or replaced.
2. If there are bad odors in your home, the purifier is not working.
A purifier that just contains a HEPA filter will be excellent at removing pollutants but do little to nothing to remove bad odors. So, having lingering bad smells in your home does not necessarily mean that your purifier isn’t working properly.
However, a purifier with an activated carbon filter should remove gas and odors. If you notice any unpleasant smells with a purifier that is marketed to clean both pollutants and odors, it may be time to change the carbon filter.
3. Rooms with air conditioners don’t need air purifiers.
The cool, fresh feeling of an air-conditioned room may give the illusion of clean air, but don’t be fooled. In fact, air conditioners may actually make your indoor air worse.
The climate inside of your AC is moist and dark. It may even contain standing water. Dark, moist areas are ideal environments for mold to grow. Because air conditioners work by recycling the same indoor air over and over, your AC could potentially be sending mold spores throughout your home.
Though your AC does have a filter, it’s primarily there to keep dust from getting into your AC, not to purify the air.
4. All purifiers are the same.
Purifiers vary in a number of ways including size, filters, technology, and effectiveness. Before deciding which purifier is right for you, it’s important to consider all the different aspects of each machine.
Generally, you should look for purifiers with a combination of True HEPA and activated carbon filters for the full spectrum of protection.
5. Windows need to be closed for the purifier to work.
Air purifiers will work whether or not windows are open. In normal air quality circumstances, outdoor air is less polluted than indoor air, so having a window open should not impact its effectiveness by too much.
However, if you live in an area with a lot of pollutants such as a city or near active wildfires, opening windows will make it harder for the purifier to work.
It’s generally best to keep windows and doors closed when the air purifier is running so that your purifier works at peak performance.
6. Air purifiers will solve breathing problems.
High-quality air purifiers can go a long way in reducing allergy and asthma symptoms. Air purifiers with HEPA filters are able to remove at least 99.95% of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria, and any airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns. That means that while in a room with an air purifier, a person with allergies or asthma should experience almost no symptoms.
Unfortunately, air purifiers can only eliminate the pollutants causing symptoms, not cure the allergy. Allergy symptoms will persist in indoor spaces that are not being cleaned with an air purifier.
7. Air purifiers create ozone.
While ozone was commonly used in air purification in the past, most companies have moved away from ozone technology because of the dangers it presents.
Ozone is a molecule composed of three atoms of oxygen. Two atoms of oxygen form the basic oxygen molecule that is necessary for us to breathe. The third oxygen atom can detach from the ozone molecule, and re-attach to molecules of other substances, changing their chemical composition.
It’s this third oxygen molecule that interacts with organic material like viruses outside of the body, changing their composition so that they can’t infect us. Unfortunately, the extra oxygen molecule can also interact with substances inside our bodies, creating a range of health issues like chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath, and throat irritation.
While ozone-producing purifiers are less common, there are still some available on the market. Make sure to research before choosing an air purifier so you’re certain that your purifier does not contain this dangerous technology.
The safest, most effective way to keep your indoor air clean is to look for a high-quality air purifier that contains both a True HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter.