How Does an Air Purifier Work?

How Does an Air Purifier Work?

As we talked about in our previous blog, there’s loads of ways for bacteria and undesirable organisms to float about your house via your HVAC system. In light of this, many have turned to an air purifier. Not just for the sake of what might be getting caught in the filter and somehow getting back out, but to purify other things from our breathing air, like dust, pet dander, pet hair and a variety of other things our eyes can’t see, but our lungs can breathe, sense, and become damaged from. This is an especially attractive idea for it’s been shown that indoor air features levels of pollutants that are around 5 times higher than the amount of pollutants you’ll find in outside air. So, do air purifiers solve this issue, or are they fancy paper weights that you have to plug-in and raise your monthly energy bill for? Let’s take a look. 

The Basics

Most air purifiers are a very sleek looking set of filters equipped with a fan that promises to suck all of the air that circulates in a room. The filters catch the pollutants, particles, and unwanted garbage floating through the air, and push clean air back out into the area. Obviously, for these to maintain efficiency, those filters that catch and don’t release those things from your air need to be changed on a regular schedule to maintain their current efficiency. This is where the downside of any air purifier comes: in addition to the price of your air purifier (which if you invest in a good one is relatively pricey) you’ll need to replace filters on the regular. Air purifiers only really work when they’re running constantly, so those filters will likely need to be changed often, and your electricity bill, jokes aside, will increase, but only by around $50 annually. 

Filter Usage

The amount of filters you’ll go through in a year varies from person-to-person. You’ll be advised best by the technician installing your air purifier. Though, you can make a basic determination based on a few factors, for example, if you have pets and how many of them, how often you vacuum, how often you cook and produce smoke, if you smoke indoors, how many people live in your home, and more. You’ll find that some filters on the market use “reusable and washable filters” as a selling point, but it’s important to be wary of those. To ensure those are still effective, you’ll need to wash them super carefully and there’s lots of room for user error. That’s why most of the better air purifiers feature replaceable filters instead as it provides a more steady and reliable product that cleans your air more efficiently. 

When shopping for an air purifier, you may be on the watch for one other potential scam: UV air purifiers. They claim to use a UV filter to clean your air by essentially incinerating bacteria and other unwanted air pollutants as they pass through. The careful thing to note here, however, is that bacteria, and indeed most pollutants, are actually UV-resistant if not entirely unaffected by UV light. Additionally, there are some filters that use an ionizing filter to attract dust and other particles in the air and make them settle. However, some ionizers are known for producing ozone, which is a gas far worse than the bacteria floating around your bedroom as far as your health is concerned. 

What Your Filter Should Catch

An air purifier can be a great tool. Especially for those looking for a solution to irritated lungs, bad allergies, and asthma flare-ups. They cannot, however, work miracles. The EPA actually released a notice that detailed what air purifiers can actually accomplish because there was some misrepresentation occuring in the marketing of these products. It should be noted that while your air purifier can certainly pick up pet dander, dust, and pollen, it cannot pick up gases. So, if you’re hoping to simply invest in an air purifier after getting inexpensive carpet that’s letting off VOCs into your home, it won’t be able to catch those. In fact, in order to catch gases, an air purifier would have to be equipped with an absorbent, not just a filter, which would also have to be replaced to remain functional. 

What should also be noted, is that your air purifier will not be able to purify your carpet and furniture. What we mean by this is that your filter won’t be able to pick up anything that’s not in the air. So if there is pollen, dander, and dust floating around on shelves, deeply ground into the fabric of your carpet and more, that won’t be getting sucked up. Obviously, there’s things you can do to shake that off the furniture and out of the carpet to get it into the air, but if you’ve been without a purifier for sometime, that will likely be a longer process. 

Do You Need an Air Purifier? 

If you’re suffering from progressively worse allergy seasons and you feel like there’s a coating of cat and dog hair coating everything in your house, yes. Air purifiers can help the air you breathe become healthier for you and if you’re already prone to respiratory irritation, there’s no reason to wait. Luckily, you’re local HVAC specialists at Arthur Hagar can help you find the right air purifying system for you and get it installed in a more optimal place than your living room, next to the cat bed. While per room installations that just plug-in to an outlet are a great solution for people dealing with a similar issue and are not homeowners, it may not be for you.

You can choose to install an air purifier that works through your present HVAC system, removes those pollutants from the air and does not interfere with your decor or your day-to-day life. They also offer a much more long-term solution to what is, admittedly, a long-term problem. While plug-in options will break down sooner rather than later and only save you a few dollars in the process.

Reach out to Arthur Hagar to schedule an initial consultation for an air purifier installation service today. 


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