Do Air Purifiers Work?

So you have been pondering buying an air purifier. But you’re not 100% sure that’s a good idea. You’re asking yourself, friends, and the search engines: Do air purifiers 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 every purchase you make. And that’s why you’re researching whether air purifiers offer any benefits. 


air purifier natural
Everyone deserves fresh, healthy air. And trees are natural air purifiers. You need some in the yard, houseplants inside the house, and a couple human-made air purifiers.


In this post, experts and researchers will speak. And that’ll help you (hopefully) form a fairly accurate opinion as to whether these devices actually work.


Do Air Purifiers Do What Manufacturers Claim They Do?


Unless an air purifier is faulty, it should jump into action immediately you plug it in! They work. But that’s an extremely simple answer. And I’m 100% certain that’s not the sort of information you stopped here for.

You want to know whether air purifiers do what most marketers and manufacturers say they do. You want to know  whether they remove construction dust, pollen, asbestos, VOCs, car exhaust fumes, cigarette smoke, pet dander, and mold spores.

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 wasn’t a complete waste of time.

We also know you don’t need our opinion on this matter. Instead, you want reliable information you can confidently use to inform your buying decision. For that reason, we’ll let experts and scientists speak about the effectiveness of air purifiers (or lack of it).

Let’s hear what experts say.


What Do Health Experts 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 for everyone. 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 these devices can help people who battle asthma, allergies. or COPD cope better with the symptoms.

Clearly, the experts didn’t seem to think that these machines are an absolute necessity for everyone. That means you can live without these devices.

So, how do air purifiers help such those who need them most? They improve the indoor air quality, helping them breathe easier.

But who wouldn’t want to breathe air that contains considerably fewer pollutants? No one. That’s who. 


Dr. Clayton Cowl of Mayo Clinic Speaks


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. 

Clearly, though, the medic didn’t assert that these devices aren’t important. Or that there’s any problem experienced by the millions of consumers who use them. He simply stated the obvious: you can live without an air purifier. Even if that’d mean breathing dirty air and shortening your days on Earth! Well, we said that, not him.

And it’s true. Air pollution kills millions of people globally each year


Do Air Purifiers Help With Respiratory Diseases?

allergies and asthma suffer
Allergies are terrible. They make the sufferer’s life so hard, particularly in the springtime. Luckily, one can always buy the best air purifier for asthma and allergies.

According to Dr. Cowl, people should stop thinking “they will never be ill” just because they use an air purifier. They must stop thinking that this device is “all they need” to stay “completely protected” against respiratory illnesses.

Again, we see that the  expert didn’t expressly state that people don’t need these devices. Or that they’re bad for them. 

Here’s what Dr. Cowls advice boils down to.

Air purifiers work, and they’re useful products. However, these devices may not offer 100% protection against respiratory illnesses.

Prospective buyers, whether asthmatic or not, must manage their benefits-related expectations better. They shouldn’t expect too much from air purifiers. Just like they shouldn’t from any other kind of product.


A Lung Health Expert Speaks


Another lung health expert, Dr. Patti Solano, made comments echoing those of Dr. Cowl and other health experts. According to Solano, consumers shouldn’t expect their air purifier to “clean the entire home.”

However, Solano admitted that portable room air purifiers, “can improve a room.”

Here are other thoughts expressed by the lung health expert thought:

For people with lung problems, investing in a portable air purifier is a good idea. In addition, such people may want to consider buying more efficient filters for their furnace.


True HEPA Filters Are the Best, Say Experts


Medical practitioners have a name and a reputation to protect. For that reason, they’re often guarded as they make health-related claims. Many people in litigious U.S.A today wouldn’t hesitate to sue or report a doctor or health expert who makes misleading claims.

With that in mind, it’s safe to conclude that the experts the Chicago Tribune Interviewed meant every word they said. Dr. Cowl and Solano advised that people who plan on buying an air purifier should choose those that use True HEPA filters. As you can see, they were willing to pinpoint a specific type of device they believe offers various benefits. So, who are we to doubt them? 

HEPA is an acronym that expands into “high-efficiency particulate air.” But why True HEPA air purifiers considering mots use expensive replacement filters? It’s because these devices trap a huge number of particles (99.97%) larger than 0.3 microns. Besides, they don’t generate ozone, a proven lung irritant. 

Note: Some True HEPA air purifiers such as the Medify MA-40 Medical Grade H13 True HEPA (for 800 Sq. Ft. ) use HEPA filters, yet they produce ozone. Keep that in mind as you hunt around for the best air purifier for your home. 

According to these two experts, it’s best to stay away from air purifiers that give off ozone. To get the most out of these devices, they said, homeowners should keep their spaces thoroughly cleaned.


Researchers Answer the Question Do Air Purifiers Work?


From 2002 to 2010, different researchers carried out 14 filtration studies. These 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. These kids came from 186 homes.

The researchers had whole-house filtration as one of four different interventions. Additionally, they used all four interventions in only 33.7 percent of the homes. They 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. Evidently, you should install a couple air cleaning devices in every room so you can 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 (air purifiers) deliver the most benefits if your HVAC system operates at high-efficiency levels. You must ALWAYS ensure your HVAC system is working properly if you want to see all the benefits a portable air purifier offers. 

Similarly, the effectiveness of whole house air filtration systems depends to a large extent on how well your HVAC functions.  Note: When a whole-house filtration system works alongside high-efficiency HVAC filtration, it clears particles a little better than PRACs do.

But that’s not to say PRACs are less effective than whole house systems. In fact, some PRACs remove 0.1-micron particles, out performing most whole house systems. Plus, PRACs are portable, easier to install, maintain, and use. And the vast majority of them are affordable. 

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.” That is, use both PRACs and whole house filtration for the best results. 


Air Purifiers Help, But They’re Not for Everyone


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.

Also, all of them agreed that air purifiers are good investments for people with breathing-related conditions. One more thing: they agreed that True HEPA air purifiers are the best options out there.

So, what do we say? We think an air purifier is a worthwhile investment.

However, air purifiers may not help healthy people as much as they might people with breathing issues. But since air purifiers can “improve rooms,” healthy people may also benefit from using them.


So, Should You Buy an Air Purifier?


Maybe you should. Or, perhaps  you shouldn’t. It depends on your needs and the specific circumstances of your life. If you have breathing difficulties, you certainly should consider buying an air purifier, preferably one with a True HEPA filter.

If you have no breathing difficulties, though, you may not need to use 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. And air purifiers don’t guarantee 100 percent protection from respiratory diseases. But since allergens cause these breathing problems (allergies and asthma), everyone needs to find a way to eliminate or control them.

Maintaining high indoor hygienic standards comes highly recommended. But cleanliness needs the support of other effective measures. And that’s where the best air purifiers come into play. 

As noted elsewhere, True HEPA air purifiers remove up to 99.97 percent of particles (0.3 microns or larger. That alone makes buying the best air purifier you can afford seem like a great idea. Because it is.

You likely live a pretty decent and happy life. But who says you can’t improve it? With the right air purifier, your life could get healthier and happier. Here’s a True HEPA air purifier review to help your research.


Final Thoughts on Do Air Purifiers Work?


Yes, these devices work.  But they don’t work the same way. Some True HEPA devices remove allergens from enclosed spaces, improving the room’s overall air quality.

But others release ozone into your indoor environment. Such devices may harm you more than they help. Medics and other scientists recommend HEPA portable room air cleaners such as the Medify MA-40 Medical Grade H13 True HEPA (for 800 Sq. Ft. ). They advise asthma and allergy sufferers should give ozone generators a wide berth. 

People with breathing challenges definitively need these devices more than anyone else. But pretty much everyone can derive great benefits from using an effective air purifier in their home/room.

In the end, though, only you can decide whether you need an air purifier or whether or not. 


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