Q:

How effective are air purifiers?

A:

Quick Answer

The effectiveness of air purifiers depends on the quality of the purifier, the pollutants present in the room, the size of the room and other factors. Overall, good air purifiers are effective only to some extent. Even the best air purifiers can't remove all the pollutants from the air.

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Full Answer

There are two types of pollutants that exist indoors. Particulate matter includes dust, pollen, animal dander, dust mites and molds. Gaseous pollutants are items such as paint fumes, cleaning products that have evaporated, and particles produced by gas and wood stoves. To be considered effective, a device needs to clean the air from gaseous pollutants and some particle matter.

It is impossible for the air purifier to get rid of most particulate matter because it is too heavy, so it collects on the floor and furniture almost immediately. Air purifiers with activated charcoal filters work best for removing gaseous pollutants, but they cost quite a lot and owners need to frequently purchase expensive filters. Some air purifiers use ultraviolet light to get rid or germs, but most of them are not very effective, because the ultraviolet exposure they provide is too weak and many bacteria are resistant to it.

Some people claim that air purifiers are effective at preventing allergies and asthma attacks, but research results have shown mixed data about this. Good air purifiers may have a small positive effect, but they are less likely to help the most sensitive individuals.

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