It’s something we all do. You need to breathe in order to live. The air you breathe can either enhance your life or it can rob you of enjoyment. Many homes have poor indoor air quality levels and that makes people feel miserable. Many offices experience the same issue. Even schools have indoor air quality issues that need to be addressed sometimes.
Specific diseases have been linked to air contaminants that may be lurking in your air right now. Even asthma can be directly affected by damp indoor environments.
So what contributes to poor indoor air quality levels? According to OSHA, “Specific contaminants like dust from construction or renovation, mold, cleaning supplies, pesticides, or other airborne chemicals may cause poor indoor air quality.” Poor ventilation, problems with temperature control, low humidity, and recent remodeling activities can all contribute to indoor pollution.
What can you do about improving your air quality levels inside to avoid these issues? You can purchase, install, and then regularly use an air purifier that is designed to lower the specific particulates or issues that are contributing to your poor indoor air quality levels.
An Introduction to Indoor Air Quality and What It Means for You
Health problems that are associated with poor indoor air qualities levels don’t always appear immediately. Some symptoms may take several years to develop. Problems like dizziness, fatigue, and headaches may appear right away, but are generally treatable and short-term issues. Once the issue causing the pollution can be found and eliminated, the symptoms will often go away.
Other health effects are more of a long-term issue and may include respiratory diseases, heart disease, and even cancer. According to the Environmental Protection Agency: “It is prudent to try to improve the indoor air quality in your home even if symptoms are not noticeable.”
So how do homeowners go about identifying the problems that may be in their indoor environment? The first step is to recognize the symptoms of poor air quality. You may have indoor air quality issues if you notice these issues in your home.
- Moisture condensation on your walls, windows, and fixtures.
- Air that smells musty or foul. Air that feels “stuffy” may also be present.
- HVAC components that are dirty, dusty, or have mold growth on them.
- Books, shoes, and other items may also become moldy.
If you can identify these issues, but take no action on them, then poor indoor air quality levels have the potential to reduce a person’s life expectancy by up to 5 years. The stakes are high. That’s why improving your indoor air quality is one of the most important things you can do this year.
How to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Improving indoor air quality is not a perfect science. Technologies are continuing to evolve in this category. Our knowledge about what contributes to poor indoor air quality is still increasing. The advice given here is based on the current scientific, engineering, and technical understanding we have right now.
Following this advice may improve indoor air quality levels. It may also not provide you with any additional protection against the health issues that can become present when there is high indoor air pollution levels.
- Control the source. There are some pollutants that can be sealed or enclosed to prevent indoor air quality reductions. Asbestos is one example of these. When you seal up the issue tightly, then the contaminants cannot come into the air that you breathe.
- Ventilation improvement. Sometimes the reason why a home has poor indoor air quality levels is because not enough outside air is able to circulate out the polluted air. Most HVAC systems aren’t designed to pull in outside air. They just circulate the existing air in the home. If you open a window, run a window air conditioner, or run an exhaust fan regularly, you can help to limit some of the bothersome symptoms you may be experiencing.
- Use an air purifier to clean your air. There are several different sizes of air purifiers that are on the market today. Many of them have unique features that focus on specific particulates or specific pollution items. Look for high circulation rates for best results.
You may wish to inspect your home at least once per month to determine if there are any hidden issues that could be causing poor indoor air quality levels. Look for signs of mold growth on the walls, in the tracks of your window sills, or mildew development in your clothing, books, and other surfaces.
If you see a problem, clean it immediately. Then find an air purifier that can help you begin to improve your indoor environment right away.
What Are the Advantages of Owning an Air Purifier?
- Air purifiers with HEPA filters can remove at least 90% of particulate contaminants that are 0.3 microns in size or smaller, creating environments that are virtually free of dust.
- By reducing the indoor pollution levels of a home, people suffering from allergies, asthma, or other air passageway health issues can see a reduction in their symptoms.
- Certain air purifiers can limit cigarette smoke in the air, limiting second-hand smoke issues that some family members might experience.
- Air purifiers equipped with carbon filters or pre-filters can help to eliminate bothersome odors in a home.
- Ozone air purifiers can reduce odors effectively. Some claim that they help allergies as well. Look for purifiers that keep ozone production to safe exposure levels for best results.
- Most air purifiers can be purchased for less than $100 and give you 24/7 support in return so that you receive cleaner air almost immediately.
What Are the Disadvantages of Owning an Air Purifier?
- Many air purifiers require ongoing maintenance. This is especially true for many HEPA air purifiers. You’ll need to change the filter every 6-18 months. Carbon filters need to be changed every 3-6 months. Foam filters may need to be cleaned every 3-4 weeks.
- Some air purifiers create too much ozone, substituting one lung irritant for another so that no relief can be experienced.
- Odors can be very difficult to remove from an indoor environment. Gas compounds may be impossible to filter out. You may be able to remove a contaminant, but not necessarily the odor of that contaminant, with an air purifier.
- Certain air purifiers only have an effectiveness range of a few feet. This is particularly true for ionic air purifiers that silently pull particulates out of the air.
- Air purifiers that have clinical research backing their results can be incredibly expensive. Some models are priced above $500. Not every household can afford such an investment.
- Every home is different. This means every need is different. There really are no general rules to follow. This means every purchase requires due diligence on the part of the consumer to make sure the best possible air purifier is purchased.
Matching Your Air Purifier to Your Current Need
Most air purifiers you’ll find that are available today will work in just one room. Many choose to place an air purifier in their bedroom since that’s where they spend the most time. Some homes need more support for an improvement in air quality than just one air purifier in one room. A whole-home solution would be a better option.
The benefit of installing a whole-home solution is that you’re getting an air purifier that can work with your existing HVAC system. Some install on the furnace, while others are designed to be low profile purifiers that look like a register vent and feed purified air into your HVAC system while staying independent of it.
According to HGTV: “These types of cleaners are easy to maintain, requiring only a simple cleaning and replacement of the filter every 30 to 60 days.”
You’ll also want to differentiate between true HEPA filters, HEPA-type filters, and proprietary filters. Companies like Austin Air have created a proprietary filter that offers medical-grade air filtration, but they don’t call it a HEPA filter even though it operates as efficiently as one. True HEPA filtration takes out a minimum of 90% of the 0.3 micron or greater particulates in your air. Ultra-HEPA filtration does an even better job of that.
HEPA-type filters, however, do not need to abide by the same standards. They’re often cheaper than the other options, but may not filter out the allergens or asthma attack triggers. If you don’t have allergy or asthma symptoms, then this could be a cost-effective option for you.
What Brand of Air Purifier Is the Best One to Choose?
You’ll find that there are several different air purifier manufacturers offering unique products for your home today. We’ve found that certain brands offer specific benefits that can help certain needs you may have. Here is a brief review of some of today’s top brands and the specific strengths their air purifiers are able to bring into your home.
- Alen. This manufacturer is often regarded as the best in the industry today. That’s saying something since they’ve only been around since 2006. It’s a premium product that produces premium results, but for a premium price.
- Austin Air. This brand produces air purifiers that have medical-grade HEPA filters included within their design. They take care of the toughest jobs so you have results that are similar to a clean room.
- Envion. This manufacturer actually has two popular brands of air purifiers: Therapure and Ionic Pro. If you want silence from your air purifiers and you don’t want to face the ongoing costs of filter replacement, then there are several models from this brand that could help you out today.
- Holmes. This is a value brand that offers HEPA-type and true HEPA options. If you have small rooms or need portability with an air purifier and you’re on a budget, this is a reliable manufacturer to choose for your air purifier.
- Honeywell. This brand offers consistency. Most of their products are true HEPA air purifiers, but there are some HEPA-type options available as well. Priced in the mid-range, this is a good compromise between short-term need and long-term value.
- Hunter. These air purifiers are difficult to find online, but they do offer a high level of reliability.
- Winix. This manufacturer features PlasmaWave technologies that help provide good ionization effects within a home without high levels of ozone production. These air purifiers are particularly beneficial for homes that need long-term odor control.
Every manufacturer offers what could be considered the best air purifier for a specific need. Some models are designed to meet almost every indoor air quality need you may have. Others are designed to meet a specific need so that you can save money on your purchase today. This is where the best air purifier reviews are going to be so beneficial to you. By discovering what an air purifier can do now, you’ll know what results can be expected later.
When it comes to air quality, it is important to remember that opening windows or doors isn’t always enough to improve your indoor air. You might be trading one problem for another. This is why an air purifier can be such a great investment for your home. It creates consistently clean air for a bedroom, a child’s room, or even your entire home depending on the level of investment you’re willing to make.
There is something available for every budget today. If you’ve been suffering from bad allergies this year, more frequent asthma attacks, or you’re just struggling to get asleep or stay asleep and it’s a new problem for you, then your indoor air quality could be to blame. Don’t let the particulate contaminants make you feel miserable. You can do something about it.
Find the best air purifier that meets your needs, make the investment today, and as soon as tomorrow you could be breathing cleaner air.