Clean up your home with an air purifier

dépolluer son air intérieur

We spend most of our time in confined spaces. Designed to improve indoor air quality, air purifiers capture airborne pollutants and filter or destroy them. They help to live in a healthier environment and can help to avoid various future problems (cancer, asthma, chronic diseases, etc...)

Clean up your home

There are different types of air purifiers:

  • Air purifiers with filters

  • Air purifiers by ionization

  • Ultraviolet air purifiers

  • Photocatalytic air purifiers

It is hard to imagine that the air we breathe is even more polluted inside the house than outside, even in the city! And yet... Furniture, paints, floor coverings, household appliances and cleaning products release many chemical molecules into the air. Pets, dust mites and molds also produce allergens, not to mention bacteria and viruses that spread infections.

Our interiors contain hundreds of pollutants. According to the Observatoire de la qualité de l'air intérieur (OQAI), all the homes tested are contaminated by formaldehyde, a molecule classified as carcinogenic, and some at doses above the threshold value set by the World Health Organization (0.12 mg/m3).

The problem? Chemical particles, allergens, molds, but also humidity or dryness of the air can promote or aggravate respiratory problems.

To address these concerns, manufacturers are promoting models of air purifiers capable of filtering chemical pollutants, but also of destroying bacteria and viruses. Often very sophisticated, these devices are attractive to both individuals and professionals, such as doctors or shopkeepers. What are they worth? Are they effective against viruses?

Air purifiers with filters

These devices work with a mesh of filters: a pre-filter to capture large particles, such as dust and pet hair; an activated carbon filter to stop gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) emitted by cigarette smoke, household products, exhaust fumes or building materials (such as benzene or formaldehyde); and a HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filter that blocks fine particles.

The most common, PM 2.5, is effective on most allergens, some bacteria or particles from automobile traffic. To claim an action on viruses, the model must have a finer filter called PM 0.1.

"The presence of a very effective HEPA filter can theoretically stop the coronavirus or the H1N1 flu virus," says biologist Dr. Fabien Squinazi. The devices are generally tested in the laboratory.

The advantages: they are available at all prices, from 100$ to 2000$, and for all uses. They generally cover an area of between 10 and 100 m2 .

Disadvantages: There can be large differences in efficiency between models, and between manufacturers' claims and reality. In addition, the pollutants accumulated in the device can be released when a filter is dismantled for cleaning. Finally, some devices emit a slightly noisy hum (+60 dB).

Air purifiers by ionization

These purifiers send ions that stick to the particles suspended in the air and amalgamate them. They are sucked up by the device or fall back on the floor and furniture. They must then be vacuumed with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Ionization mainly targets chemical particles, but some devices also claim a germicidal action.

The advantages: the ions improve the efficiency of the filters in the device. The Protech Allergies brand, which has patented a system that combines ionization with HEPA or activated carbon filters, has had its devices certified by the American Association of Domestic Appliance Manufacturers. This label is a guarantee of quality.

The disadvantages: it is difficult to know how many ions actually come into contact with airborne particles. In addition, this type of purifier does not eliminate pollutants: they must be collected with a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter.

If you choose this technology, it's best to look for models with an efficiency and safety study that guarantees no ozone emissions.

Ultraviolet air purifiers

These devices contain tubes that emit UVC radiation. This ultraviolet light destroys bacteria and viruses by blocking the replication of their genetic material. The technology is known to disinfect, for example, surgical equipment.

Photocatalytic air purifiers

The air drawn in passes through a filter lined with titanium dioxide tubes. They destroy the polluting substances under the effect of a UVC radiation to transform them into water vapor and carbon dioxide. Photocatalysis thus destroys chemical particles, as well as bacteria and viruses.

Benefits: It destroys bacteria, viruses and chemical particles, including 80% to 90% of the toughest ones, like carbon monoxide or acetone.

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