Can an air purifier really help your allergies?

Nowadays, you can walk into almost any store and see some kind of air purifier for sale. There are big ones that look like industrial machines, high-tech devices with lights and digital screens, and small ones to wear around the neck. And what are their claims!

Eliminates viruses

Kills mold and mildew

Kills dust mites

Similar to HEPA


Medical HEPA

Cleans the air

They slice, they dice, they play FM radio! Well, okay, that last part is made up, but you get the idea. With so many machines on the market, they must be doing some good. Right? If you buy one, will an air purifier really help your allergies? The answer is: it depends.

An air purifier can really help your allergies if you have environmental allergies and if you have the right type of device for the size of the room you want to use it in. Here's how an air purifier can help your allergies.

An air purifier can help indoor environmental allergies

If you suffer from indoor environmental allergies, the right air purifier can help. Indoor environmental allergies are caused by things like


Dust mites


Pet allergens


The right air purifier can also remove irritants like smoke, odors and VOCs (volatile organic compounds). These are not allergens, but they can make breathing difficult. So if these are the things that bother you, an air purifier can really help you fight your allergies.

If you're allergic to pollen and suffer from seasonal allergies, an air purifier can help a little. But there are more effective ways to relieve seasonal allergies.

Indoor allergens float in the air, fall and stick to surfaces. When we move around a room, run a fan, sit down or stand up from furniture, pick up things and put them down, we send the allergens deposited in the air back out to circulate and fall back down.

"I can't say enough good things about this air cleaner (P6006). It is well made, quiet and works great. It is expensive but well worth it. We wish we had known you years ago. We have spent so much money on junk parts over the years." Richard

Air Purifiers help fight allergies by catching allergenic particles as they float around and trapping them. Once trapped, they can't float away again. This is important because only floating particles are inhaled. Attached particles are not a problem as long as they do not float and are not inhaled.

An air purifier can help fight allergies if placed in the right room.

Here's the thing. No air purifier can help with your allergies if it's placed in the wrong room. You probably think the living room or the room where you watch TV is the logical choice. But that shouldn't be the first room you worry about. Even if you binge watch Game of Thrones or House of Cards, you don't really spend much time in the living room or den.

You spend a third of your life sleeping! That's right, you spend as much time sleeping as a cat does grooming. And cats groom themselves a lot.

When you go to bed, you spend 7 to 10 hours in one place. Even more, if you watch TV or read in bed before you go to sleep. So if you want to get the most out of your air purifier, you need to put it in the room where you spend the most time .

"We researched air purifiers for over a week and finally settled on the P1211 and P6006 from Protech Allergies. It is truly the best device available. We noticed a difference within hours. It is worth every penny. Samuel

An air purifier can help fight allergies if it's the right kind.

In addition to a dizzying array of brands and models, air purifiers can use many different methods to clean the air. Some of these methods rid the air of allergens, while others do not.

Ozone is created when an extra oxygen molecule binds to the normal oxygen we breathe, which is made up of two oxygen molecules. Oxygen is nice to breathe, but it's not really very stable. So this extra oxygen molecule doesn't stay bound very long. It breaks away and becomes a free radical.

That's not good. In fact, air alerts are issued when outdoor ozone levels are high. Ozone irritates the lungs. Unfortunately, too many air cleaners create ozone. This is because the free radical in ozone has the ability to oxidize VOCs, eliminate odors and kill germs.

Air purifiers that produce ozone can make your respiratory problems worse. Never buy a device that produces ozone. Read the labels and if you're not sure, ask before you buy. An air purifier that produces ozone will not help with allergies.

Short-wave ultraviolet light in the 260 nm-270 nm range kills bacteria by disrupting their DNA, destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their function at the cellular level. It is frequently used for medical disinfection. This is because it is very effective with continuous application.

This means that the UV light must shine continuously on the organism to be effective. UV is built into air purifiers to kill bacteria, but it only works if the body is exposed to the light all the time. UV light also does not kill the dead organism.

So here's why an air purifier that uses UV light won't really help you fight your allergies. First, for the UV light to do its job, it must shine directly and continuously on the particle to be killed. In the case of bacteria (which do not cause allergies) or dust mites (which do), the particle must remain directly under the light for a long time.

Air purifiers are busy sucking in air, passing it quickly past the light, and then returning it to the room. The particle is not exposed to UV light long enough to be effective. Even if a mite were killed by the exposure, it would still cause allergy problems because dead mites release as much allergen as a live mite.

Ultraviolet light does not remove particles from the air and is not effective in cleaning a moving air stream. An air purifier that uses only UV light can't really help you fight your allergies.

HEPA filtration is one of the most common methods used by air cleaners to remove allergens from the air. HEPA is a measurement. The acronym stands for "High-Efficiency Particle Air." It is a standard that was developed by the government as part of atomic research. They needed to stop the spread of airborne radioactive particles.

The standard means that 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger are stopped or arrested. 0.3 microns is really small. A filter that fine is small enough to capture all common indoor allergens. It will catch dust and dust mites, mold, pet hair and dander, cockroach bits and any stray pollen that has made its way inside.

HEPA filtration is the gold standard for filtering air of allergens. But it must be a true HEPA.

Beware of descriptions such as "HEPA like", "hospital-grade" or "HEPA style". These are just a few questionable ways to include "HEPA" without meeting the standard. Read the labels and make sure the filter is a true HEPA filter. Make sure it removes 99.97% of particles larger than 0.3 microns. An air purifier with a true HEPA filter will really help your allergies if it is the right size for the room.

Air cleaners should be the right size

An air purifier can only clean the air if the air gets to the unit. This means that the air cleaner must constantly move air around the room. To move the air, you need a motor and a fan. These are mechanical parts that will make noise.

A good air cleaner minimizes this noise, but a "quiet" air cleaner does not move the air. Even if the motor and fan were quiet (which is unlikely), you should still hear the air moving. Even the wind makes noise when it blows. The same is true of your air purifier.

To determine the right size for the room, you need some information. First, you need to know the volume of air in the room. In case you forgot, the volume is calculated by multiplying :

Room length x room width x ceiling height.

A 10 x 12 room with standard 8 foot ceilings has a volume of 960 cubic feet (10x12=120 120 x 8 = 960). This is important to know. If you only looked at the square footage, you would think that 120 feet is enough to clean. But that's 8 times less than what you actually have.

Take a very close look at the machine you are considering buying. The technical specifications will tell you how much air the motor can move. This information will be expressed as a number and then CFM. For example:

P6006 air purifiers: 510 CADR integrated fan/motor.

Honeywell does not say how much air their motors use. They simply tell you the area of the room the unit will clean. This information is useless since some rooms have 8-foot ceilings, some have 10-foot ceilings, and vaulted ceilings can be 13 feet or more. If you can't get the motor specifications, move on to the next choice.

Next, check the machine's technical specifications and find the amount of air moved by the motor. It will be expressed as a number followed by the letters "cfm". This means the volume of air the machine can filter, expressed in cubic feet of air per minute.

To determine air exchange, take the volume of air in the room and divide it by the cfm of the machine. This will tell you how long it takes to get an air change. Or, in other words, how long it takes for the machine to pass all the air in the room through the filter once. To determine the number of air changes per hour, divide 60 (the number of minutes in an hour) by the number of minutes for a change.

You want at least 4 to 6 air changes per hour. 10 is good and more than 10 is more than good!

So can an air purifier help your allergies? The answer is yes, as long as you suffer from indoor environment allergies, get a device that uses a true HEPA filter and is sized for the room.

Air purifiers also help with odor control and smoke control. But these are not their primary functions. So shop carefully to find the right unit.

Oh, and make sure you leave it on all the time. Like a light bulb, it only works when you turn it on.

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