Does An Air Purifier Work on Allergy Relief?
Allergies are indeed, triggered by air borne particles. So it would make sense that systems which take air in and clean it would be a great idea for those who suffer from allergies. That seems like a no brainer! However, it is important to look into this in more and think about what types of systems would accomplish this task the best?
-Mildew and mold are common issues and can pose a dangerous threat to allergy sufferers.
-Tobacco smoke can cause many allergy problems.
– Pet hair, fur and dander.
– Cockroaches, dust mites and other insect infestation.
-The Volatile Organic Compounds, or VOCs that are emitted from carpeting, paint, some glues and plastics are also quite common allergy triggers.
Dust mite and cockroach feces, along with pet hair, dander and other heavier than air particles, will settle onto many surfaces and will be out of reach of any air cleaner. This is because air purifiers can only deal with cleaning the air than can be drawn into the unit. Mold spores that are in the air and tobacco smoke can be removed in this manner. However, it would be better to remove the source of these instead. No smoking and a thorough cleaning and sanitizing of any areas subject to mold, are appropriate cautions to take.
A Balanced Approach: Strategies for Reducing Triggers Along With Use of an Air Purifier
The EPA does recommend the use of an air cleaning system. They further suggest that a more balanced process be implemented to ensure success. These steps include:
-Appropriate ventilation to keep air fresh and moving
-The removal of things that contribute to indoor pollution, such as smoking, pets (especially during shedding seasons) and mildew
-Removal of carpeting wherever possible, as they hold onto allergens and do not allow them to be cleaned out of the air
-An adequate amount and correct type of insulation to prevent allergens from entering living spaces.
Air purification systems that do not depend on Ozone production are best, as those can also restrict lung function. These can be individual room units or a central system with proper filter maintenance and frequent removal and replacement procedures.
Many allergy sufferers are affected seasonally by pollens and other environmental factors. The proper type of air purification system can prove especially beneficial, as these particular particles are large enough to be removed from the air by most units.
A Look At Air Purifier Filter Technology
Current air purifier technologies have a range of methods for air filtration that can be researched. The AAFA suggests you start by having a clear conversation with your doctor or allergist, to determine the best type of air purifier to use in your home and for your specific allergy. There might be issues taking the manufacturer’s recommendations about their efficacy in providing relief from some pollutants, so a relationship with a medical professional will be beneficial. Some of the types of air cleaners available are:
A true High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter will trap, for removal, a minimum of 99.97 percent of particles in the air down to a size of about .3 microns. This is appropriate for most allergens and these should be changed at least every six months for proper operation. Like all air cleaners, these are no good at removing particles that have already settled on other surfaces, such as the floor and counter tops and in the fabrics of furnishings.
The Electrostatic filters utilize an electrical charge to attract particles to trap them away from the airstream. The electrostatic plates will have to be cleaned on a fairly regular basis. This system often produces Ozone which makes them not a good idea in a home.
An Ozone generator will eliminate many particles that cause problems for people with allergies, but it also causes an increase of naturally occurring Ozone which can impact people’s respiratory system. A Hybrid filter (such as those using a regular and/or HEPA filter) along with activated charcoal used to filter gasses will assist in reducing many small allergens which are triggers.
No matter what types of filtration systems are being used, you will not be able to remove all air borne allergens. Once again, they cannot remove all those particles that are deposited on surfaces such as carpeting or furniture. The dirty air must pass through the system in order for it to be effective. A standard unit should take approximately 20 minutes to clean the ambient air in a standard sized room, running at the proper fan speed.
You will find that a whole house system, such as are available in central heating and air conditioning systems, complete with a HEPA filtered portable unit in each room is often recommended so a balanced treatment of the entire home is accomplished. The portable ones will assist in keeping the room clean while people with allergies can sleep peacefully.
What Features to Consider In an Air Purifier
Having decided on an air purifier (based on your needs and your doctor’s recommendations) by focusing on the one that can remove the allergens you are particularly susceptible to, you will also need to consider a few other factors before making your purchase:
The first will be coverage: Is it big enough for the room or space in which you are going to put it in?
Efficiency rating: You need it to filter the pollution that is dangerous to you. This can be checked by monitoring the cleanliness of surfaces after the unit has been operating or a while.
Noise level: there are many that are simply too loud to enjoy the room while it is running; this is probably not a good fit in a home environment.
Cost and ability to change and/or clean the filters easily may be a consideration that may actually make it to the top of this list.
Final Words: It is always best to help prevent a buildup of allergens than to remove them after they are already there. However a quality air purifier is a great idea for your home and can help to make a difference.