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17 Benefits of an Air Purifier (Proven)

Besides dealing with the never-ending indoor pollution, there are many benefits of air purifiers that most people are unaware of. In this article, we will go through every single beneficial point of using an air purifier. Some of the health perks are pretty self-explanatory, while a few might even surprise you. If you spend most of your time indoors and are still pondering on getting an air purifier, this post will address it all.
Short answer
Air purifier is good for you.

 

1. Clean Air And Increase Life Expectancy

Clean air is essential to our health and well-being. Air purifiers improve indoor air quality by capturing fine particles in the air before it gets into the lungs and bloodstream. Without the harmful particulates, respiratory, cardiovascular, neurological systems will remain strong and healthy. You will feel an improvement in productivity and have a better state of mind. Simply put, you will live longer just by breathing clean air.

2. Relieve Asthma Symptoms

An air purifier alleviates asthma symptoms, breathing discomfort, and prevents an asthma attack from occurring by removing asthma triggers. Common airborne asthma triggers like dust mites, pet dander, mold, and pollen will all be trapped inside the air purifier’s HEPA filter. Leave it on all day to transform your house into an asthma-friendly home.

Asthma is a chronic lung disease where a person’s airways are swollen or inflamed. The inflamed bronchial tubes will aggravate breathing difficulty, wheezing, cough, and other respiratory ailments. Breathing in polluted air will increase the risk of an asthma attack. According to CDC, about 1 in 12 people have asthma and the numbers are rapidly uprising every year. While a home should be the safest place for an asthmatic person, is this sadly the place where most asthma-related deaths occurred.

Remember, an air cleaner is a preventer but an inhaler is a savior. It is the best thing to save you from a life-threatening asthma attack.

3. Air Purifiers Trap Airborne Dust And Slow Dust Buildup

Air purifiers trap dust in the air before the particles can settle on a surface area. With fewer airborne dust particles, there will be less dust accumulation in the house so less cleaning frequency is needed. Dust allergies like sneezing, red eyes, eczema will also less likely to be triggered. With the freed-up time and energy, you can now focus on doing the things that matter to you the most. As dust is everywhere no matter how often you clean the house, every home should have an air purifier running 24×7 in keeping the air clean.

Dust is made of dead skin, animal fur, dander, decomposing insects, pollen, food debris, hair, fabric, or fiber. Most people are allergic to dust mites rather than dust itself. Depending on how small the particle is, dust can stay airborne for up to 5 days. On average, a home produces 4 pounds of dust every month (about the weight of a laptop). A vacuum cleaner would do a fine job on ground dust, it can’t deal with anything that is airborne.

4. Impede Germs Growth And the Spread of Airborne Diseases

Air purifiers with a HEPA filter, UV-light, or antimicrobial can capture and halt the growth of bacteria and viruses in the air. By disinfecting the germs, it can reduce the spread of airborne diseases like the common cold, influenza, whooping cough, chickenpox, mumps, measles. With cleaner air and less exposure, everyone in the household will be safeguarded from catching the viral infection.

Airborne diseases are spread through the air via inhaling, sneezing, and coughing. Studies have shown that most germs/ flu viruses can stay active for up to 24 hours in the air. Some cold viruses can even survive in an indoor environment for up to 7 days. When one family member falls sick, there is a high likelihood that the other family members will catch the virus as everyone is breathing the same air space infected with germs. Besides cleaning the air, always remember to wash your hands and keep the room well-ventilated.

5. Capture Pollen And Alleviate Seasonal Allergies

Air purifiers help alleviate seasonal allergies by trapping pollen released from trees, grasses, and weeds. It is particularly useful during spring or early summer where pollen is at the peak of its widespread. With fewer allergens invading the indoor breathing space, an air purifier can create a safe environment for anyone suffering from allergic rhinitis (hay fever).

When mother nature works its magic, you need to be prepared. Hay fever is an allergic reaction to pollen with symptoms similar to a common cold. This includes sneezing, congestion, coughing, sinus pressure, watery eyes, itchiness, and scratchy throat. Most pollen allergies will come and go but typical viruses like cold can last from 7 to 10 days. Keep all windows/ doors shut to reduce the number of incoming pollen during allergy season.

6. Neutralize Odors Without Creating Harmful Byproducts

Air purifiers with an activated carbon filter neutralize unpleasant smells in your home, keeping the indoor air fresh and clean. The porous form of the carbon filter will effectively absorb odors such as cooking, rotten eggs, sewage without releasing any harmful byproducts. You can safely leave an air cleaner running all day in the background while going on with your daily lives. It is the safer and better option than an air freshener that just masks away the foul smell while releasing more chemicals.

Nobody wants to stay in a smelly home. When something reeks, it is probably bad for you. Odor can make a person feel sick but it is not the pungent smell that causes it. It is the gaseous chemical compound or bacteria that travels with the odor. An offensive smell can one might experience loss of appetite, nausea, or headache.

7. Neutralize Cigarette Smoke And Smell That Causes Lung Cancer

Air purifiers can remove firsthand/ secondhand cigarette smoke and protect our lungs from developing cancer. Through chemical adsorption, the porous surface of the carbon filter will absorb about 7,000 chemicals emitted from the cigarette. 70 of those are carcinogens capable of causing cancer in living tissue. With fewer chemical gases in the air, air purifiers will also indirectly reduce the amount of thirdhand smoke residual settling in walls, clothes, and upholstery. Children and the elderly would benefit the most in a smoke-free environment due to their weakened immune systems and developing lungs.

Like it or not, smokers are everywhere and so are the chemicals they bring. Tobacco is notoriously known for its 3 components: nicotine, carbon monoxide, and tar. Nicotine is the popular one that causes addiction but tar is the dangerous one that causes cancer. Despite the aggressive awareness campaign, there are still 36.5 million smokers in the U.S. alone. More scaringly, at least 16 million people live with a smoking-related disease. Common sicknesses include COPD, pneumonia, bronchitis, emphysema, dementia, heart disease, and lung cancer. If you are a smoker, quit smoking is no doubt the best option. Otherwise, smoke in an open space area reduces the concentration level of the toxic gas from building up.

8. Eliminate Harmful Chemicals And Reduce The Risk Of Leukemia

HEPA air purifiers with an activated carbon filter eliminate chemical gases like volatile organic compounds (VOCs), phthalates, ammonia, deet, and nitrogen dioxide. By reducing the concentration level of harmful fumes in the air, you will be at less risk of developing cancer that causes blood-forming tissues like leukemia and lymphoma.

VOCs are colorless, chemical gases emitted into the air from household products that exist in our daily lives. You can find VOCs in paints, furnishing coatings, air fresheners, aerosol sprays, detergents, toilet bowl cleaners, and insect repellents (pesticide). Common types of VOCs include formaldehyde, benzene, ethylene glycol, methylene chloride, tetrachloroethylene, toluene, xylene, and 1,3-butadiene.

VOCs can reach vapor pressure at regular room temperature and will stay linger in the air for 2-3 hours. It can also react with other gases to form toxic air pollutants. Inhaling to VOCs can lead to nausea, breathing difficulty, watery eyes, decrease in productivity, nose and throat irritation. Prolong exposure can lead to irreversible health issues such as damage central nervous system, cardiovascular, tumor, and cancer.

9. Capture Pet Allergens And Subdue Pet Allergies

An air purifier can subdue pet allergies by capturing pet hair, shed fur, and pet dander in the air. It can also get rid of persistent pet odors and germs from saliva, feces, litter box. Your home will smell as fresh as before with fewer allergens in the air. There are many specialized pet air purifiers in the market dedicated to pet owners with domestic cats or dogs. Choose one with the stronger airflow so it can cover more grounds at one go.

Allergies can develop at any stage of life. When you inhaled dust mites, pet dander, or pet odor, your body will produce Immunoglobulin E (IgE), a type of antibody that triggers a chain of allergic reactions. This can be extremely painful for pet owners where they might have to temporarily move their furry companion outside for something that is beyond their control. Besides taking allergy shots or medication, an air cleaner can give pet owners a glimmer of hope.

10. Protect Baby, Children, And Elderly From Respiratory Illnesses

Air purifiers remove hazardous particles in the air so babies, children, and the elderly would not inhale to it. In the long run, it can prevent the development and aggravation of respiratory illnesses.

Babies, children, elderly are the higher risk group of respiratory diseases due to the extended amount of time in the indoor and weakened immune system. Children and babies are also more likely to breathe into ground pollutants due to their height and smaller lung capacity.

Our immune system is a network of cells, tissues, and organs. It will defend our body against bacteria and viruses attack. As we continue to age, the number of cells reduces thus the body will take a longer time to recover from cuts and infection. That is why elderly, postpartum women, chronically ill people are more vulnerable and should be treated with extra care.

11. Improve Sleep Quality And Stop Snoring

An air purifier can help you sleep better by removing allergens in the air like dust mites, mold, bacteria, and fungi. Without the sleep-disrupting irritants, allergy symptoms such as sneezing, coughing, nasal congestion, postnasal drip, sore throat that causes you to wake up middle of the night will not be triggered. You will breathe easier with less snoring and your sleeping partners would truly appreciate it. Additionally, some air purifiers generate calm, soothing white noise that helps improve sleep quality. Great for those that have trouble falling asleep at night without the sound of a whirring fan.

Clean air correlates to a good night’s sleep. Unfortunately, many people live under poor air quality conditions and suffer from insomnia. Sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder that should not be taken lightly. People with untreated sleep apnea often wake up from a headache, daytime drowsiness, or lack of concentration. Unrefreshed sleep will affect our daily productivity and have detrimental health effects in the long run.

12. Remove Outdoor Air Pollutants That Cause Adverse Health Effects

A HEPA air purifier protects our lungs by trapping PM10 and PM2.5 outdoor air pollutions that flow inside the home. It is very useful particularly for those staying in an urban area with high vehicular traffic. Common sources of outdoor air pollutants include carbon monoxide (CO), nitrogen dioxide (NO2), formaldehyde (CH2O), lead (Pb), sulfur dioxide (SO2), ozone, and other particulate matters derive from fossil fuel, vehicle fumes, and forest burning.

Exposure to outdoor air pollution will have adverse effects on our health and can exacerbate pre-existing diseases like chronic obstructive pulmonary disorder (COPD). In the long run, it will increase the risk of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, arrhythmia, ischemia, cardiac failure, and stroke. When the outdoor air quality is bad, close all windows and doors will help reduce the incoming pollutants.

13. Remove Radon Gas That Causes Lung Cancer

An air purifier with activated carbon filter absorbs radon gas before it starts contaminated the house or school. With reduced radon exposure, an air purifier can prevent the development of lung cancer. Very important as most radon poisoning happens without a person realizing it until it is too late.

Radon is a naturally occurring, radioactive, byproduct of uranium found in soil, rock, water, and building materials. Radon gas often enters a home through cracks on the floor, plaster, wall, pipework, electrical wires, and ceiling. Because radon gas is colorless and odorless. it could take months or years to discover the leakage. According to EPA, there are around 14,000 to 21,000 deaths annually in the U.S. that are caused by radon-linked lung cancer.

Besides using an air purifier, Seal any cracks on the floors, walls, plasterwork, and fix damaged ducts before more carcinogenic radon gas are leaked in. Hire a radon mitigation contractor if the radon pollution is beyond remediation.

14. Capture Asbestos Particles And Prevent Asbestosis/ Mesothelioma Development

An air purifier with a True HEPA filter removes airborne asbestos and protects us from breathing in the harmful fibers. With less asbestos in the air, it greatly reduces the risk of asbestosis and mesothelioma development.

Asbestosis is a disease that causes inflammation and scarring of the lungs due to asbestos exposure. Symptoms include shortness of breath, cough, wheezing, swelling in the neck or face, loss of appetite, and chest tightness. Mesothelioma is an incurable, malignant tumor that forms mesothelial tissue in the lining of the lungs, abdomen, or heart. It is extremely deadly as most mesothelioma patients will have a lifespan of approximately 12 months after diagnosis. Because asbestos fibers are lightweight and odorless, it is hard to detect their existence until it is too late.

Asbestos is a common building material until the 1980s due to its fireproof, tough durability, chemical, and heat resistance. You will find asbestos in insulation pipe, roofing, drywall, ceiling, cement, and floor tiles. If you are staying in an old house or work in a commercial building built before the 80s era, you may be exposed to airborne asbestos fibers that shed due to age.

Asbestos will only become hazardous when they are damaged or cut. If you are planning to renovate an old home, it is highly recommended you hire a certified abatement expert that has all the safety gears to do.

15. Improve Mood And Reduce Stress Level

An air purifier with an ionizer disperses negative ions that boost your mood when you’re feeling down. This is because negative ions produce biochemical reactions that increase the levels of mood chemical serotonin. Serotonin is known as a happiness hormone that stabilizes our mood, alleviates depression, and relieves stress. With increased serotonin levels, you will feel happier, sleep better, digest better, and enjoy a boost in daytime energy.

Having a bad cold, cough, or headache will stress you out especially when you’re trying to get things done. Air purifiers remove hazardous airborne pollutants and reduce your stress level. When you breathe in clean air, your cortisol level AKA stress hormone will decrease which relaxes the body, lowers heart rate, and blood pressure. Many studies have shown that a person is less stressed and worried when living in a clean air environment than those that are not.

There is no doubt clean air would do wonders for your mood and health. A stroll in the park or enjoy some mood-boosting foods could also improve your emotional state. However, if you are constantly experiencing mood swings and easily agitated, consult your doctor to see if you are suffering from Bipolar Disorder.

sharp air purifier mosquito

16. Trap Mosquito And Prevent Malaria Infection

There are air purifiers that trap mosquitoes and other tiny insects via a mosquito repellent sheet in its filtration. The strong airflow prevents trapped insecticides from escaping thus reducing the risk of contracting malaria infection and other diseases. An air purifier is a good alternative to mosquito repellent spray that could add more air pollution to your home. However, it is by no means the perfect mosquito catcher. Instead, treat it as an extra benefit that taps onto the existing air cleaning feature.

Mosquitoes are one of the deadliest creatures on the planet. It accounted for 475,000 deaths every year. This disease-carrying insect often roams in Africa and in Southeast Asia, where dengue and malaria fever spread. In the U.S, West Nile virus, (LAC) encephalitis, and yellow fever diseases are more commonly transmitted. Given its severity, it still baffles us to this day why manufacturers never thought of implementing this feature across their lineup.

17. Extend HVAC Filter Life

Air purifiers capture airborne pollutants and reduce the burden of the HVAC filters. Every household HVAC (Heating, ventilation, and air conditioning) comes with a filter that traps dust and other particulates. With the decrease of pollutants in the air, there is less clogging on the HVAC filters thus the usage life will be extended.

The Many Types Of Air Purifier

Not every type of air purifier will share the exact same benefits. Some come with a single filtration or technology while others may be the combination of 2 to 3 filters. To help you differentiate the many types of air purifiers in the market, let's look into how each model works.

  • HEPA Air Purifier - Uses an internal fan to draw air in and capture 99.97% of microscopic particles as small as 0.3 microns that pass through the HEPA filter. It is the most common type due to its proven efficiency and safety track record. The only downside is the HEPA filter required replacing and can be costly in the long run. We highly recommend buying an air purifier with a True HEPA filter instead of an uncertified, less efficient HEPA-type filter.
  • Carbon Air Purifier - Draws air in and absorbs smoke particles and odors via chemical absorbent pores. An Air purifier with an activated carbon filter is incapable of capturing non-smoke particles such as bacteria and viruses. Unless you have a very specific use of the deodorizer like in the bathroom, you're better off with a HEPA air purifier.
  • Air Ionizer - Ionization is a filterless technology that diffuses negative ions to attach with positive ions irritants. The attached particles will fall from the increased weight and adhere to the wall, table, bed, ground. If there is no cleaning done, the settled dirty irritants could stir back into the air again when disturbed. An air ionizer is also not great against large particles like dust and gaseous pollutants.
  • Electrostatic Precipitators - Release ions and creates an electrostatic field that charges particles in the air causing them to fall. The collector plate will attract the fallen particles rather than letting them scatter all over the place like an ionizer. While there is no filter to replace, the downside with electrostatic precipitators is the inefficiency against smoke and odors. A very low concentration level of ozone byproducts may be produced but the amount is insignificant to cause an alarm.
  • UV air purifiers - A proven disinfection technology that uses ultraviolet light to kill bacteria and viruses. By damaging the DNA cell, the pathogens will be left dormant without the ability to grow and spread. However, there are a few downsides to UV light technology. First, the light intensity will decline overtime where it takes multi-shot of rays to completely destroy germs. Replacing the UV light bulb can also be costly if you use it 24x7. Furthermore, UV is not great in removing large particles, fumes, and odor. Ozone may also be produced but at a very low concentration limit of 0.050 parts per million (50 ppb).
  • Ozone Generators - An unsafe device that releases harmful ozone to mask odors instead of cleaning the air. Ozonator is not approved by EPA or any government agency. This is because ozone is an unstable reactive gas that can do more harm than good. Expose to ozone can cause chest pain, shortness of breath, permanent lung damage, and aggravates respiratory issues. Never ever purchase an ozone generator.

How To Choose The Right Air Purifier?

If this is your first-ever air purifier purchase, it may seem daunting with many options available in the market. Some models are only meant for close-range purifying while others are designed for the entire living hall. To reap the maximum benefits of an air purifier, always start by understanding your needs. Do you need it to remove dust, mold, germ, cigarette smoke, pet hair, or odors? Once you have a clear mindset on your requirement, start focusing on the types and features of the air cleaner. Here's what you need to look out for when buying an air purifier.

  • Room size and placement - Air purifiers come in all shapes and sizes. Choose a model that has enough airflow capacity to cover the room size you intended to place the air purifier. To do so, measure the square footage of your room size and see if the model fits the bill. Account for the number of people and ceiling height. Most manufacturers will give you the air cleaner recommended room size that you can refer to.
  • Set a budget (including filter cost) - Avoid spending too much on something that you could not afford. Cheap air purifiers don't mean it is unusable. There are lots of under 100 air purifiers that will do a fine job in purifying the air. For an all-around HEPA air purifier, expect the price between 200-300 dollars.
  • Filter maintenance - Expect to pay around 80 to 160 dollars on filter cost annually. This is highly dependant on the numbers of filtration, the filter change frequency, and the type of filtration you are replacing. For example, A bigger, all-in-one HEPA filter set will be more costly to replace than a small single HEPA-type filter.
  • Airflow performance - The higher the airflow delivery rate, the faster the indoor air can be cleaned. Most manufacturers will release their airflow delivery rate based on the Air Change Per Hour (ACH) rating. If you are an asthmatic person or has hypersensitive, make sure the airflow output is measured at 4 or 5 air changes per hour.
  • Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) - Another standard metric to look into CADR developed by The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). Measure in cubic feet per minute (CFM), it evaluates how faster an air purifier can remove dust, pollen, and smoke particles in fixed room size. Anything above a 200 cfm CADR would be good enough for most homes.
  • Overall features - There are a lot of variations in an air purifier that could affect its usability. You'll have features such as Auto mode, Sleep mode, air quality monitor, timer, filter change indicator, and remote control just to name a few. Choose what you need as you will be using the air cleaner for many years to come.
  • Energy-efficient - Small air purifiers are less power hungry but there are models that use less energy over the others in the same category. An air purifier that has an Energy Star Rated mark is a good indication of how energy-efficient is the model.
  • Recognition and certification - Go with a reputable brand that is tested by independent agencies and is widely used by people all over the world. Look for keywords such as Asthma and Allergy Friendly certified, UL listed, California Air Resources Board (CARB), AHAM approved. Having all the marks is a good assurance of the product's quality and protects you from being misled by the manufacturer.
  • Noise level - Anything between whispering 30 decibels to an audible 60 decibels would be fine. A noisy air purifier could disrupt your sleep and the frustrated users may end up not using it at all. Note that the noise level is highly dependant on the operating speed and there are people that do enjoy the white noise generated from the fan.
  • Ozone emission - Some air cleaners do generate ozone byproducts during the air filtration process. As long as it is within the ozone concentration limit set by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), there's nothing to worry about. A HEPA air purifier would be the safest choice as it produces no ozone.

Final Thoughts

Here are some official figures to show you the importance of clean air. According to EPA, Americans spend approximately 90% of their time indoors and 70% at their home sweet home. Despite the staggering numbers, indoor pollution is 2-5 times worse than outdoor pollution yet 87% of American homeowners are not aware of it. To top it off, there are around 50 million Americans suffering from various allergies annually according to ACAAI.

By now you should have a clear idea of the health benefits an air purifier can bring. Before you go ahead and purchase an air purifier, there are simple methods to improve indoor air quality such as:

  • Vacuum the floor and carpets daily.
  • Keep windows and doors open to bring in more fresh air. Only do this if the outdoor air quality is good.
  • Grow natural air-filtering indoor plants like Peace Lily, Devil's Ivy, Boston Fern, Spider Plant.
  • Turn on the exhaust fan or range hood in the kitchen during cooking.
  • Smoke outside or better yet quit smoking.
  • Keep your indoor pets clean and limit their activity space.
  • If the indoor humidity level is high (above 50%), use a dehumidifier. If the humidity level is low (under 30%), go with a humidifier.

Remember, clean air is essential to our health. If you need any recommendation on which air purifier to go with, we are always here to help.

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.