If you have allergies, asthma, or other respiratory health concerns, you probably know all about air quality and the need for air filtration and purification. Clean air makes a huge difference to physical and mental well-being, but most homes and offices are plagued by dust, smoke, mold and mildew, paint fumes, chemical cleaners, and other allergens that can wreak havok on health. Fortunately, there are several options in powerful air purifier and humidifier than can clean air and provide relief for allergy and asthma sufferers.
Indoor Air Quality and Allergy Problems
Indoor air inside homes and office buildings may be more dangerous to allergy and asthma sufferers than outdoor allergens. Unlike outdoor air, particles like dust, cigarette smoke, mold, dust mite leavings, and pet dander are trapped inside an enclosed space with no chance to be swept away by the elements.
The problem is compounded with VOCs (volatile organic chemicals) from paint, chemical cleaning agents, hairspray and other personal care products that likewise have no chance to wash away. The only way to preserve clean air inside the home is with a powerful vacuum and a good air purifier.
Considerations in Buying a Home Air Purifier and Humidifier
If you’re thinking about purchasing an air purifier and humidifier for your home, the following features may be factors in your decision:
air purifying ability
any byproducts of the air purification process
whether and how often parts might need to be replaced
Electronic Whole House Air Purifier and Humidifier
A whole house air purifier and humidifier can be hooked up to your furnace or air conditioner’s return air stream, cleaning air at one point in its circuit of the house. Most whole house air purification systems will combine several of the following air cleaner types, to enhance their effectiveness. Consumer reports tend to universally show that several portable purifiers are more effective than one stationary system, though, so this may not be the best way to go.
Ultraviolet Air Purifiers
Ultraviolet air purifiers kill germs by irradiating them using UV lamps. These air purifiers kill bacteria, viruses, mold and other fungi but have no impact on particles like dust and smoke.
Ionic Air Purifiers
Ionic humidifier air purifier is newly popular. Air ionizers create negative ions, such as those found near moving water or in nature. Negative ions attract dust and other tiny particles, neutralizing smoke, dust, viruses, bacteria, but not odors.
There is some concern about the ozone produced by these humidifier air purifier, which can present a serious risk to asthmatics.
Filter Air Purification Traps
Air filters depend on molecular size to trap particles like dust, mold spores, and dander. There is a range of effectiveness with this kind of humidifier air purifier. All require filters to be changed on a regular basis.
Carbon Air Purifiers
Activated carbon air purifiers work by absorbing tiny particles. These filters are ineffective on larger particles (so may be combined with another filter) and may not completely remove particles although carbon air purifiers are reasonably effective on smoke, paint and chemical fumes, and other odors.
The Original, Living Air Purifier
Plants are nature’s way to purify the air and remove toxic VOCs and other chemicals. Spider plants, in particular, are known for their ability to clean the air and improve air quality.
Ionic Air Purifiers
Homeowners searching for quiet, filterless air purifiers may be interested ionizing air purification systems, which use negative ions to force dust, dirt, pollen, mold and bacteria out of your household air. Negative ions have been shown to have therapeutic and health benefits, but air cleaners and purifiers that rely on air ionizers have been both praised and criticized.
Negative Ions in Nature
Negative ions are charged particles that have an extra electron – the opposite of positive ions, which are missing electrons. Negative ions are a normal part of outdoor air, though they are most common at high altitudes and near the sea, where cosmic rays and moving salt water create more of these charged particles.
Indoor air inside homes, offices, and schools typically has about half the concentration of negative ions that might be present deep in the forest or on a beach – and much higher concentrations of positive ions, thanks to computers and other forms of technology.
Benefits of Ionizing Air Purifiers
Air ionizers and negative ion generators work by using high voltage to produce charged particles in the air which attract dust, pollen, and bacteria together by an effect similar to static electricity. Clumps of dirt, germs, and other particles are either pulled into the air purifier’s collector plate, or weighed down to the floor, where they can easily be swept or vacuumed up.
Where negative ion generators or air ionizers are used, people report higher energy, clearer thinking and more productivity, along with less headaches, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue. Higher negative ion concentrations have also been shown to inhibit bacterial growth and help plants to grow faster.
Ionizing air purifiers have been widely used in European hospitals and treatment centers, and are often recommended by doctors for patients suffering from allergies, asthma and stress. Other experts warn against them. Despite research showing that people derive real benefits from negative ions, the mechanism to explain those health benefits remains unknown.
Controversy: Ionic Breeze and Dangerous Ozone Levels
Ionic humidifier air purifier has become widely popular in the last few years, so it’s not surprising that controversy has crept up over their efficacy in removing particles and cleaning air of germs. Air ionizer brands like Ionic Breeze have been the target of intense negative media attention that questions the potential health hazards as well as their ability to function at all in providing better air quality.
Publicity has focused especially on certain air ionizers that produce toxic ozone as well as health-enhancing negative ions. Asthmatics and people with severe respiratory difficulty should be cautious in their use of negative ion generators and should always consult a doctor or health professional before using one of these devices.