Do Air Purifiers Dry Out The Air? (Say It Isn’t So)

As more and more families have an air cleaner at home, we will answer one of the age-old questions: Do air purifiers dry out the air? Many people started to question whether an air cleaner is a culprit for uncomfortable breathing space, especially during winter. While the straight answer is NO, it is not enough to satisfy the curious folks. Bear with us as we explain why an air purifier does not contribute to dry air, what is causing it, and what can you do about it
Short answer
An air purifier does not dry out the air.


Do Air Purifiers Make The Air Dry?

An air purifier will not cause air to dry out or remove moisture from the air. It circulates clean air by eliminating airborne pollutants that pass through the filters like dust, mites, mold, pet dander, germ, pollen, smoke, chemical gases, and odors. Most air purifiers do not have a reservoir and heating coil mechanism to draw moisture; hence the room dampness level will remain the same. We have conducted numerous tests with different brands and sizes of air purifiers running in a closed room to solidify our point. The humidity readers show no significant changes to the room humidity regardless of the fanspeed the air purifiers are running.

Do Air Purifiers Dry Out The Air

So What Causes Dry Air?

Dry air is a natural byproduct caused by cold weather. As temperature drops and the air gets colder, it loses the capacity to retain moisture. Improper ventilation is one of the reasons why dry air is ubiquitous during the winter season. Most people will fail to fully insulate their homes and prevent cold air from getting in. The reliance on the home’s heating system for heat further accelerates the indoor air from becoming dry. The low dew point cold air will be heated inside and drive the humidity level down 15% or less. Improper use of a dehumidifier will also over drain moisture from the air leading to undesirable results. You should never use a dehumidifier if the relative humidity falls below 30%.

To improve dry air conditions, you will need a humidifier that adds moisture to the air. An essential device to your health as breathing in dry air is not just a comfort issue. Dry air can aggravate dry cough, dry throat, chapped lips, nose bleed, skin rash, asthma, and eye irritation. It can also worsen respiratory illnesses like COPD, bronchitis, emphysema, and sinusitis.

To get the best of both worlds, air purifier humidifier combo models will clean the air while releasing water vapor simultaneously. You can quickly identify the types of air purifiers by checking if there is a water reservoir included in the design. If you have no idea what each device does, click here to learn the differences between an air purifier, humidifier, dehumidifier.

Why Does The Air Feels Dry With An Air Purifier?

Like a fan, the air might feel drier when your air purifier is running fast in a small room, yet moisture remains intact. This phenomenon is due to the strong air circulation known as a “wind-chill”, where cool air blows directly onto the body leading to evaporation. The dryness feeling is momentary and has nothing to do with the air purifier or dry air.

As warm, dry air holds more moisture, you will feel hot, sticky, and uncomfortable. It is because the body needs to disperse the heat through sweat evaporation. The body cannot cool down when the room temperature is close to your body temperature. To reduce the dryness feeling with an air purifier, here’s what you can do:

How To Deal With Dry Indoor Air

How To Deal With Dry Indoor Air (Non-Air Purifier Method)

There is no doubt that an air purifier is beneficial to your health as it removes harmful particles from the air. However, it will not improve a dry air environment that can exacerbate many respiratory issues, especially for an asthmatic person. To create a more breathable and comfortable home, here are a few improvements that can help with dry indoor air without an air purifier.

  • Use a humidifier - The quickest and easiest way to add moisture to the air. A humidifier can counter dry air by increasing the humidity level in a home. Only use distilled water to prevent mold and bacteria growth in the water tank. Best used in the wintertime when air is typically at its driest.
  • Reduce the dependency on an air conditioner and fan - Both appliances are known to reduce moisture in a room in exchange for cool air. When not possible, place a humidifier in the same room to balance out the lost moisture in the air.
  • Improve room ventilation and air circulation - By opening doors or windows, particularly during the summer. Doing so will prevent the indoor air from being stale and dry.
  • Seal your home - Especially during the winter season to prevent cold air from entering and warm air from going out. Improve your home insulation and fix any leakage in attics, windows, and doors so you will not have to rely on the thermostat to turn up the heat.
  • Shorten your shower time - A hot steamy shower might feel great on a cold day, but the excess heat will dry out the air quicker. Instead, opt for a cold shower that is good for your skin and increases the moisture in the air by leaving the bathroom door open.
  • Hang your clothes to dry indoors - Do it on a drying, garment, or hanging rack instead of relying on a dryer that uses a lot of energy. The excess moisture will evaporate and add dampness to your home.
  • The classic bowl of water - By leaving a big bowl full of water out, the water will evaporate and humidify the room. Do note that it is not as effective as a humidifier and increases the chance of water spillage, especially if you have children or pets at home.
  • Get indoor houseplants - The process of transpiration will evaporate water vapor from flowers, leaves, and stems. You will need a lot of house plants to make any difference with dry air.

Can Air Purifiers Make Allergies Worse?

Air purifiers will not make allergies worse or cause a sore throat, dry cough, or dry mouth due to dry air. A true HEPA air purifier can improve sleep quality and alleviate allergies symptoms. It will not dry out sinuses unless you place the air purifier close to your head, where the constant airflow may cause discomfort and dryness. According to EPA guidelines, do not buy an ozone generator that is often masked as an ionic air purifier to trick buyers into getting one. Ozone gas is hazardous that can cause respiratory irritation such as coughing, wheezing, chest tightness, and shortness of breath. Overexposure will lead to lungs inflammation, aggravating asthma, allergies, and ultimately death.

Final Thoughts

An air purifier has nothing to do with dry air. As Americans spend 90% of their time indoors, Living in a dry air environment can lead to many health issues that need to rectify. EPA recommends keeping humidity levels between 30% and 50%. With the ideal humidity level, you will have healthier hair, sleep better with less snoring, breathe better with no nasal congestion. Your skin conditions will also improve and be free from eczema and psoriasis. Your plants will also grow healthier, and wooden furniture will not suffer from dry rot. So keep yourself hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. It will lubricate your nasal passageway and remove excess mucus. Apply moisturizer or lotion on your skin to keep it moisturized. Apply lip balm or petroleum jelly for those with chapped lips.

Max Fernandez

A loving father and a dedicated reviewer for airfuji.com with more than 1000 air purifiers under his belt. Max Fernandez is also one of the million patients currently suffering from asthma. Feel free to nudge him if you have any questions.
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