Have a nagging cold that just won’t go away? Spring allergies seeming to last longer and longer?
What if it wasn’t really a cold or hay fever, but your home’s air quality?
Most of us don’t like to think about the pollutants in the air we breathe every day, especially those of us living in urban areas. It’s dirty, it’s gross, and it’s on the rise.
In fact, the Environmental Protection Agency reports that air quality inside our homes can actually be up to five times more polluted than outdoors. This is because of reduced ventilation and accumulative effects of ozone. Holding your breath yet?
Aside from everyday pollution, there are a number of other reasons an air purifier can make you breath easier, including asthma and allergies.
It’s easy to ignore the potential consequences of breathing unclean air, but reversing the damage from and cleaning up your home’s air quality is not as hard as you think. It could potentially save you from some serious health consequences down the road.
So, take a deep breath and read up on how to choose the very best air purifier.
Why Is Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) Important and How Did It Get So Dirty?
Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) refers to the level of contaminants inside the average home or office. Thes contaminants can be anything from dust, dander, pollen, and mold, to microscopic pollutants in the ozone layer, some of which can be radioactive and accumulate indoors over time.
The main ways in which a home’s IAQ begins to degrade are what we bring in from the outside every day when we come and go, as well as toxic contaminants that emit from the furniture, clothing, and even building material. That, coupled with poor ventilation and air flow, will lead to an increasingly poor IAQ and potential negative effects on one’s health.
While most healthy adults won’t show any immediately damaging effects from poor IAQ, the effects accumulate over time and can lead to serious health issues after prolonged exposure. Additionally, children, elderly people, and those with weakened immune systems may find themselves having difficulty breathing well in a home with poor air quality.
That’s why it’s so important to take your home’s air quality seriously, even if you aren’t yet being affected physically. An indoor air purifier is an easy and inexpensive way to drastically improve your home’s health so you can breathe easier.
How To Choose The Best Air Purifier
First, you need to focus on what it is that you’d like to remove. There are air purifiers that are more general, focusing on multiple types of pollutants, and then there are some that specialize in one area. If you happen to suffer from a lot of pet dander and odors, or if you live in an area with a lot of ozone pollution, you’ll want to weight the pros and cons of a few different types:
HEPA Filter Air Purifiers
A HEPA filter is best for airborne particles, aka the “bigger” pollutants like mold, dander, pollen, and dust.
This is the clear winner for someone who suffers from allergies, coughing and/or irritation. An air purifier with a HEPA filter works by trapping the contaminant particles within its fibers as it sucks air in. The air that comes out the other end is clean and free of particulate matter.
Activated Carbon Air Purifiers
Activated carbon is exactly what it sounds like, a chamber of a highly porous carbon compound that absorbs contaminants and many common household odors. Because carbon is an organic compound, it’s safe to use in household applications and presents no toxicity risk.
Activated carbon air purifiers work best for smoke removal, as well as certain gases. It also does well to remove most common, mild household odors.
Alumina and Potassium Permanganate Air Purifiers
Activated carbon is a great choice for many basic purifying needs when it comes to odors and gases, but it doesn’t work in every situation. For example, alumina or potassium permanganate air purifiers are preferable for formaldehyde contaminants which are commonly being emitted by manufactured furniture items and building materials.
These purifiers work by using chemical compounds to neutralize harmful aldehydes and other odors. As such, this type of purifier is preferred by pet owners, as it been shown to work better on pet odors trapped in carpets and bedding better than carbon.
Combination Air Purifiers
If you’re looking for an air purifier that works on a wide range of contaminants, it’s best to opt for a combination air purifier. Some purifiers on the market boast a combination of HEPA and carbon, carbon and alumina, etc.
While it may cost a bit more, they’re worth the extra money if you live in a highly polluted urban area, have pets, or simply struggle with asthma or allergies from many different sources.
Air purifiers may seem like a non-essential, but it’s worth it to take some simple steps in getting the best air purifier for your home and mitigating the risk of health problems related to poor air quality.
Some additional steps to take to improve IAQ is maintaining proper home ventilation, weatherizing your home, and ensuring that what you bring into your home is free of toxic chemicals and aldehydes.
Need help choosing the best air purifier for your space or want to read in-depth air purifier comparisons? Contact us today and visit our comprehensive reviews on our site!