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Do Air Purifiers Really Work? Should I Buy an Air Purifier?

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So you have been thinking about buying an air purifier. But you’re unsure about whether that’s a good idea. You’re asking yourself, friends, and the search engines, “do air purifiers really work?” With so many ways to waste money, one more can seriously hurt your finances. As a good steward of your hard-earned dollars, you want real value for any purchase you make. The question, “do air purifiers really work?” is an intelligent one, and demands a clear, truthful answer. In this post, experts and research speak so that we don’t need to.


Do Air Purifiers Do What Manufacturers and Marketers Say They Do?


Air purifiers work when you plug them into a power outlet, unless they’re faulty. But that’s not the sort of information you seek. You want to know whether air purifiers do what most marketers and manufacturers say they do. You want to know whether they remove dust, pollen, asbestos, cigarette smoke and other pollutants. We’re almost certain that this isn’t the first article you’ve read so far.

But we want to make sure that your stopping here isn’t a waste of your time. We know you don’t need our opinion in this matter. You want reliable information that you can confidently use to inform your buying decision. For that reason, we want to let experts speak and say what they know about the effectiveness of air purifiers. Let’s hear what experts say.


What Do Health Experts in General Say about Air Purifiers?


According to a Chicago Tribune article published on May 17 2016, health experts in general don’t think air purifiers are necessary. That doesn’t sound very exciting to ears that want to hear better things. But that’s not all they said. The experts also said that air purifiers can help people who struggle with asthma or COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease).

What can we say about the advice health experts gave? Clearly, the experts didn’t seem to think that these machines are an absolute necessity. That means you can live without these devices. But wait. The experts said air purifiers can improve the quality of life of those with COPD or asthma. How do air purifiers help such people? They improve the air quality in their spaces, helping to breathe easier. But who wouldn’t want to breathe air that contains fewer pollutants?


Here’s What Dr. Clayton Cowl of Mayo Clinic Thinks about Air Purifiers


As of the writing of the article we mentioned above, Dr. Clayton Cowl, a pulmonologist, worked for Mayo Clinic. At that time, the medic chaired the division of preventive occupational and aerospace medicine. Dr. Cowl seemed focused on the limitations of air purifiers. The opinion he gave seemed to suggest that he thought people gave air purifiers much more credit than they really deserved. He particularly commented about homeowners who saw air purifiers as the ultimate protection against respiratory diseases.


Air Purifiers May Offer Protection against Respiratory Diseases, but there are no Guarantees


People should stop thinking “they will never be I’ll” just because they have an air purifier in their room. Dr. Cowl said that buyers must stop thinking that an air purifier is “all they need” to stay “completely protected.” The expert didn’t expressly say that people don’t need these devices. Here’s what Dr. Cowls advice boils down to.

Air purifiers work, but they may not fully protect people against respiratory diseases. Prospective buyers, whether asthmatic or not, need to manage their benefits-related expectations better. They shouldn’t expect too much from air purifiers.


Here’s What a Lung Health Expert Said about the Usefulness of Air Purifiers


Another lung health expert, Patti Solano, made comments that echo those of Dr. Cowl and the other health experts. According to Solano, consumers shouldn’t expect their air purifier to “clean the entire home.” However, Solano admitted that the most common devices, portable air purifiers, “can improve a room.”

Here’s more of what the lung health expert thought. For people with lung problems, investing in a portable air purifier is a good idea. Solano further suggested that such people may also want to consider buying more efficient filters for their furnace.


Medical Experts Agree that Devices with HEPA Filters are the Best Air Purifiers


Medical practitioners have a name and a reputation to protect. For that reason, they’re often guarded as they make health-related claims. There are many people in this country who wouldn’t hesitate a doctor or health expert who makes claims that leads to harm.

With that in mind, one can safely conclude that the experts the Chicago Tribune Interviewed meant every word they said. Cowl and Solano said that people who plan to buy an air purifier should choose those that use air filters. The best air purifiers, Solano said, are those that feature True HEPA filters.

HEPA is an acronym that expands into “high-efficiency particulate air.” Why HEPA air purifiers considering filter replacement costs money? These devices are able to trap most particles larger than 0.3 microns. Besides, they don’t generate ozone, a proven lung irritant.

According to Cowl and Solano, it’s best to stay away from air purifiers that clean air using ozone. They also said that to get the most out of these devices, homeowners should keep their spaces thoroughly cleaned.


How Does Research Answer the Question: “Do Air Purifiers Work?”


From 2002 to 2010, different researchers carried out 14 filtration studies. The studies investigated the role of air filtration in controlling allergic respiratory diseases. One particular study conducted by Johnson et al. in 2009 had 219 children with asthma as participants. The kids came from 186 homes.

Admittedly, the researchers had whole-house filtration as one of four different interventions. Additionally, the researchers used all four interventions in only 33.7 percent of the homes. The researchers also carried out what they called asthma quality of life surveys. The children from the surveys reported improved quality of life after intervention.

A different study focused on portable room air cleaners with HEPA filters. The study indicated that such devices may offer various clinical benefits. However, the study noted that such air cleaners worked best for single rooms rather than the whole place. You want to have several such pieces put in different rooms to benefit from whole house filtration.

Of course, you could always install a “whole-house” air filtration system. However, such systems often come with various challenges, and they may not be the best option for you. PRACs deliver the most benefits if your HVAC system operates at high-efficiency levels. By comparison, whole house air filtration systems depend to a large extent on how your HVAC functions.  When whole-house filtration works alongside high-efficiency HVAC filtration, it clears particles better than HEPA PRACs.

The problem with whole-house filtration is that you’ll likely have many installation-related issues. Besides, whole house filtration systems tend to cost more than homeowners expected. A 2011 literature review encourages consumers to consider what it calls “combination filtration.” 


Here’s the Verdict: Health Experts Think Air Purifiers Work, but there are Limits


If you look closely, all the experts interviewed used different words to say basically the same thing. All of them thought buyers expected their air purifiers to do much more than they’re designed to do.

Additionally, all the experts agreed that air purifiers are good investments for people with breathing-related conditions. One more thing: the experts agreed that HEPA air purifiers are the best options out there. So, what do we say? We think an air purifier is a worthwhile investment.

Well, air purifiers may not help healthy people as much as they might people with breathing problems. However, since air purifiers can improve rooms, healthy people may also benefit from using them. Yes, air purifiers are effective, especially if you have asthma, COPD, or other lung conditions. And yes, these devices work for the rest of the population.


So, Should You Buy an Air Purifier?


Maybe you should; maybe you shouldn’t. It all depends on you and the specific circumstances of your life. If you have breathing difficulties, you certainly should consider buying an air purifier, preferably one with a HEPA filter. If you have no breathing difficulties, you may not need to buy an air purifier.

But consider this. The number of people with asthma in the United States has followed an upward trajectory over the last couple years. We stated in an earlier section that air purifiers don’t guarantee 100 percent protection from respiratory diseases. But since allergens cause these conditions, everyone needs to find a way to control them.

Maintaining high indoor hygienic standards comes highly recommended, but cleanliness needs the support of other effective measures. And that’s where air purifiers come in. Honestly, these devices may not remove every allergen that lowers the air quality in your room.

But True HEPA air purifiers can remove up to 99.97 percent of particles. That makes buying the best air purifier you can afford seem like a great idea. Because it is. Your life may be good, but with the right air purifier, it could get healthier and happier. Here’s a True HEPA air purifier review to help your research.


Final Thoughts on the Question “Do Air Purifiers Really Work?”


Here’s my honest answer to the question, “do Air purifiers really work?” YES, AIR PURIFIERS WORK, but they don’t work the same way. Some remove allergens but also release ozone into your indoor environment. Such devices may harm you more than they help. Great air purifiers, especially those with true HEPA filters, remove a significant amount of allergens. Such devices make your indoor environment cleaner, healthier, and more comfortable. 

Experts agree that people with breathing problems should consider investing in efficient air cleaners. But pretty much everyone can derive great benefits from using an effective air purifier in the home. In the end, though, only you can decide whether you need an air purifier.