Choosing A Good Home Air Purifier

Before you buy a home air purifier, do some research on the various technologies used to choose the best model and size for your needs.

If you have allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, or if you live in an area where the air is polluted, you may benefit a great deal from purchasing and using a home air purifier. All the areas where you spend a great deal of time can become more pleasant if the quality of the air inside your house is improved, but it's particularly important to have an air purifier in your bedroom. Breathing clean, good quality air while you sleep can ward off hay fever and asthma, and it will also help you sleep more deeply, get better rest and improve your general health.

Before you purchase, however, you're going to want to do some research. There are many types of home air purifiers, in a wide range of prices, so it's important to educate yourself in order to be able to decide which style is best for you. You're going to have a lot of reading to do. One of the best sites for educating yourself is the online Allergy Buyers Club. It is a retail site, so they want to sell you product. However they have an enormous amount of information about a wide range of products, and you can learn a lot even if you don't decide to buy from them. Don't limit yourself to internet research. You'll probably want to talk to the people you know too, to find out their actual experiences with the different sorts of air purifiers.

The whole concept of home air purification is fairly recent. In the beginning there were ionizers, which used an electrical charge to made the air seem fresh and clean by changing the charge on pollution particles, so that they became heavy. The dark side - quite literally - of ionizers was that when the particles became charged, they would stick to nearby surfaces. The wall next to the ionizer would turn black, and no amount of scrubbing could remove the stain. In addition, many of the charged particles gradually lost their charge and were returned to the air in the room. Unless the room was vacuumed and dusted frequently, there would still be a good deal of particulate matter in the air over time. In addition, the American Lung Association states that ionized particles are more likely to stick to human lungs if they are inhaled.

Then came the HEPA filter. The initials stand for High Efficiency Particulate Air filter. To meet HEPA criteria the filter had to be able to filter out particles as small as 0.3 microns. Some HEPA filters are effective to a particle size of 0.01 microns. Particles of this size range are so small that they can easily be inhaled, and yet may not be easily exhaled. Bacteria, viruses, some dust mite debris and animal dander and other irritants fall in this size range. The HEPA filter is what is known as a mechanical filter. This means that it physically traps the particles in its filtering layers. One benefit of a good quality HEPA filter is that it actually becomes more effective as it is used. The particles trapped in the layers become part of the filtering system. Clearly adding a HEPA filter to the ionizer made it a better air purifier.

There many home air purifiers available which use HEPA technology. Some are basically fans which blow the air in the room through a HEPA filter, while others have an added ionizer. Both types are available through a number of sources including chain stores like Target and Walmart and are considerably less expensive than the high end specialty items on line. Just be aware that if you buy a less expensive air purifier it will probably be less efficient, will not last as long and you will probably need to change the filters more frequently. However, if you are simply looking for a cleaner environment and do not have major health issues, a less expensive air purifier may serve your needs adequately.

The ionizer and the HEPA are not the only technologies used for home air purification. Ultraviolet (UV) light is also used by some manufactures for control of very small particles such as viruses, mold, germs and other contaminants. Some purifiers have a combination of UV and HEPA filter, although the online Allergy Buyers club expresses some concern over whether the UV light may have a negative effect on the HEPA filter over time. However, the Alllergy Buyers Club's online site recommends a UV/HEPA filter called the Clarifier which has tested as effective with gasses and odors as well as bacteria, viruses and unspecified particles. This technology is particularly popular for hospitals and medical applications.

Another popular style is the electronic air purifier. This variety uses an ionizer to charge the particles as they enter the machine, and then collects the charged particles by various methods. The electrostactic precipitator has oppositely charged metal plates which collect the particles. However, as the plates become loaded with particles they lose their ability to continue to collect more, and must be frequently cleaned or they lose their effectiveness. The Sharper Image Ionic Breeze air cleaner is a good example of this type of electronic air purifier, and many users swear by it. Other types of electronic air purifiers use a variety of what are called media charged filters, which also have the opposite charge of the ionized particles but these filters must also be frequently maintained and replaced or they will use their effectiveness.

Another approach to home air purification is to produce ozone, which is supposed to clean the air rather in the same way that an ionizer does. This is a controversial method of cleaning the air. There is considerable controversy about whether ozone actually purifies the air, or whether it simply creates another variety of pollutant.

Steam cleaning is another air purification technique. It is a specialized tool but one which can be very effective in the right situation. It is not recommended for general allergen removal but is quite effective at removing mold spores. Its most effective use is in preventing recurrence of mold and it works over a period of time.

When you think about buying a home air purifier take this information about different types of air purifiers into consideration. You will also want to give some thought to the size of the space you are working with. Various models will have information on the size of room they can effectively clean, as well as estimated times for filter change or cleaning for best performance.

Once you have this information you will be able to make an informed selection about the best air purifier for you and you can do a little comparison shopping for price and make your final selection. Soon you will be enjoying cleaner, fresher air in your house or apartment.

Trending Now

© High Speed Ventures 2011