Alabama is known as a state that is not friendly to those with allergies. Every spring and summer, we experience a deluge of pollen. Most of us are familiar with that nice powdery yellow-green coating that covers everything outside! In the fall, we encounter allergens from falling leaves, mold, and a range of other particulate matter in the air. For a lot of our residents, this leads to stuffy noses, itchy eyes, and an overall miserable experience.
Unfortunately, the allergens don’t always stay outdoors. When the pollen, mold, and dust make their way indoors, life at home can become uncomfortable. For those with breathing issues and allergies, air purifiers help to clear the air…literally. They are an excellent option for those who need a little extra help at home with indoor air quality. But what exactly does an air purifier do and is it worth the investment?
They Get Rid of Particulate Matter
The main task of an air purifier is to filter the air. For homes that have a problem with dust, pollen, pet dander, and other particulate matter in the air, an air purifier helps to remove the particles using a filter. Think of it as an extra booster to your home’s HVAC filter. What isn’t caught in the primary filter is collected in the air purifier. You get rid of the build-up by either changing or cleaning the filter, depending on the model you purchase.
They Clean Up VOCs
Some air purifiers are also able to clear VOCs from the air. VOCs, or Volatile Organic Compounds, are fumes that come from cleaning supplies, paints, scented candles, and other household items. They are bad for your health in high concentrations, or if inhaled for long periods of time. Have you ever painted a room and started to feel unwell due to the fumes? That is an example of VOCs in action.
An Air Purifier is Not…
A Replacement for Regular Cleaning: Having an air purifier does not mean you will never dust your home again. These systems are intended to enhance proper home maintenance, not take over the heavy lifting. Dusting should still be a part of your routine. A bonus to owning an air purifier? You may find that you need to dust less often, thanks to the collection of extra particulate matter in the air.
A Replacement for Ventilation: Investing in a great ventilation system is the first step to having great indoor air quality. Your home needs to be able to “breathe;” that means getting dirty air out and bringing clean air inside. While air purifiers do a great job of adding an extra boost to a ventilation system, they are not meant as a replacement.
A Substitute for Safe Chemical Storage: Certain air purifiers remove VOCs from the air in your household. That said, this device is not an excuse to store toxic products in your home. An outdoor shed or a garage with proper ventilation is a much better choice for cleaning products, solvents, paints, or any other high-VOC product you may have around the house.
An Excuse to Smoke Indoors: No air purifier can remove all the pollutants, odors, and tar associated with tobacco smoke. The best course of action to reduce air quality damage from second-hand smoke is to keep smoking outside.
Do I Need One? It Depends…
Do you experience itchy eyes, runny nose, headaches, and trouble breathing in your home? Do these symptoms disappear when you leave your house? Allergy symptoms that clear up upon leaving your home are a big red flag for indoor air quality problems. If you have these symptoms, have a great ventilation system, and routinely clean your house, you are a good candidate for an air purifier. Before making the purchase, however, you may want to do a Precision Tune-Up on your HVAC system, to ensure that the cause of your symptoms isn’t due to dirty ducts or another existing issue in your home.
How Do I Choose the Right Air Purifier?
If an air purifier purchase is in your future, be sure to do a little preliminary research. There are air purifiers available for specific problems. For example, if you have asthma or another respiratory illness, there are air purifiers that cater specifically to your needs. If you live in an area where VOCs are a problem, look for an air purifier that is designed to remove these gasses from the air.
Also, consider the square footage of the space you need to purify. Most portable air cleaners are designed to work in a single room. If you think you may need a whole-home solution, we can help you find the right system to get your family breathing easier.
The Bottom Line: If you have a great ventilation system and clean regularly, you probably don’t need an air purifier. However, if you suffer from allergies, asthma, or other breathing problems, an air purifier helps to reduce symptoms and keep you breathing easy. Just be sure to do your research before purchasing to find the purifier that is right for your family.