Do Air Purifiers reduce Allergies?

One effective way to manage allergy symptoms is to reduce the amount of allergens present. For those who suffer from allergies caused by airborne allergens, a home or car air purifier can help do just that.

There are many different types on the market, though, some more effective than others.

Many home air purifiers produce ozone. Ozone is just an oxygen molecule (two oxygen atoms bonded together) with an extra oxygen atom alongside. Since the oxygen molecule is fairly stable, the third atom tends to get knocked off easily. When that happens it becomes what is called a free radical, and it is electrically charged.

Those charged oxygen atoms can harm the lungs. They carry energy and, because it is oxygen, readily participate in lots of biochemical reactions. Those reactions aren’t always beneficial. In extreme cases, they can increase the odds of lung and skin cancer. For some, asthma symptoms can be worsened by exposure to large amounts of ozone.

But the amounts produced by the average home air purifier are much lower than these dangerous levels. At most, some truly sensitive people can smell a hint of ozone in the air. The purpose of the ozone is to combine with potentially harmful particulates in the air and then move them to the walls or back to the air purifier.

Many good home air purifiers do their good work by creating a low intensity electric charge on metal plates. The purifier then uses a fan to move air around and the dust, animal dander and other particulates in the air get attracted to the plates. The plates are then cleaned off, usually about once per week.

While they are no miracle cure, these devices do work as advertised. They do reduce the amount of dust, smoke and other small particles in the air, sometimes substantially. One key to their effectiveness is getting one the appropriate size for your room. A 10 x 15 foot room is on the outer edge of size for a moderate or small purifier. Any room larger will require a full-sized air home purifier.

One important addition to many quality home air purifiers is a HEPA filter. High Energy Particulate Air filters do more than attach particles to plates electrically where careless handling can actually put the particles back into the air. HEPA filters are specially designed to actually trap particles permanently.

Some are washable, others are not. Some are designed to last the lifetime of the device (usually 3-10 years), others will have to be replaced after 1-2 years or so. Prices vary considerably and the higher-priced models don’t necessarily have lifetime HEPA filters.

Noise is another important factor in judging a home air purifier. Some crackle and pop as a result of the electrical activity. Others have fans that can be heard easily above the computer in the home office. Good ones are so quiet you’ll barely notice them.

A good filter in a home air condition/heating unit is a must to keep dust and other particles reduced. But a home air purifier unit allows for a higher level of air cleaning, concentrated in an area like the bedroom or home office. If you spend large amounts of time there – and who doesn’t? – they can help reduce certain allergens.


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