Whether you want to get rid of bad odors, reduce pollutants in the air or simply enjoy fresh, clean air in your home, there are many reasons you might be considering purchasing an air purifier. One of the most common reasons is to get an air purifier for the health of you and your family. But does an air purifier really provide noticeable benefits? Studies have found that a quality air purifier can provide benefits of different types, depending on the situation in your home and the type of air purifier used.
Benefits of an air purifier during sleep
If you get seven to eight hours of sleep each night, you spend about a third of your life in your bedroom. One main advantage of using an air purifier for sleeping is that its overall health benefits can be amplified simply because you spend such a high proportion of your time in your bedroom. Here are some examples of benefits that air purifiers may offer, depending on the technology:
- Cleans the air in the “sleep breathing zone” for better sleep: An air purifier goes beyond simply providing cleaner air while you sleep—it can also help you get better, more refreshing sleep as a result. Indoor air quality researchers have recognized this and even have a particular term for the airspace closest to you where you sleep: the “sleep breathing zone,” which has shown to be an optimal placement for an air purifier (Sublett, 2011).
- Reduces levels of allergens in the bedroom: If you suffer from allergies, asthma or other respiratory problems, you know that difficulty breathing leads to a disturbed and unrestful night of sleep [Leger et. al, 2017]. Allergies and asthma are triggered by irritants in the air, pollutants and allergens like dust, dust mites, pollen, pet dander or other particles [Koinis-Mitchell et. al, 2012].
- Tackles airborne chemicals: Airborne chemicals called volatile organic compounds (VOCs) can off-gas from bedroom furniture and other materials. The right kind of air purifier can help remove those irritants from the air, which may result in fewer sleep disruptions due to congestion, sneezing or sore throat.
Benefits of an air purifier for your home
Because newer homes are built to conserve energy, reduced indoor air quality is to some extent a modern problem. This means there is less air exchange between the inside and outside of a modern home than one built 100 years ago.
Reduces buildup of indoor air pollutants
Because of less air exchange, pollutants in the air in your home gradually build up, since they are not being ventilated to the outside. According to the EPA, “inadequate ventilation can increase indoor pollutant levels by not bringing in enough outdoor air to dilute emissions from indoor sources and by not carrying indoor air pollutants out of the area.” Of course, one simple solution to this problem is to open the windows—after all, improving the ventilation in your home can be an effective way to improve the indoor air quality. But there are many times when this is not practical. If the outside temperature is too hot or cold, you need to keep windows closed so your HVAC system can do its job.
Furthermore, our homes are full of pollution sources, including tobacco smoke, cooking fumes and odors, dust and pet dander as well as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), toxic chemicals given off by everything from carpets and upholstery to treated wood and plastic furniture. All of this adds up to indoor air quality that can be two to five times worse than the air quality outdoors. Opening windows may not always be the best way to ventilate indoor air, and so an air purifier can help reduce these concentrations of pollutants.
Offers relief during severe air quality events
Moreover, if outdoor conditions are causing increased pollution due to circumstances like highway pollution, high pollen count or a wildfire, then opening windows is not a solution at all. In these situations, an air purifier can help offer relief for your indoor air quality. Sensitive groups, such as children and older adults, would need to plan their outdoor activities around times such as bad air quality days or the presence of wildfire smoke in the air.
The effects of an air purifier can be especially noticeable on those days when you have to keep the windows closed because of wildfires or high pollen counts. These types of events can introduce elevated levels of particulate pollutants into your home, and an air purifier is a useful tool for removing those pollutants from the air.
Benefits of an air purifier for sensitive groups
Some populations are more sensitive to changes in indoor air quality than others. Using an air purifier can help offer relief from poor indoor air quality:
- Children and infants: Children, especially infants, can have respiratory irritation due to allergens and particulate pollutants as well as VOCs. Exposure to pollutants can affect lung development and even lead to asthma, according to the American Lung Association. Studies have found that the use of an air purifier reduces the effects of allergens on children, including pet allergies [Sulser et. al, 2008]. Infants can also be affected by VOCs, which are often emitted by new furniture or drying paint. Therefore an air purifier that can deal with VOCs is a good idea in your new nursery.
- People who suffer from cardiovascular issues: People with cardiovascular problems such as heart disease or high blood pressure may be impacted by levels of particulate matter in the air. For example, one study found that “systemic inflammation and impaired endothelial function, both predictors of cardiovascular morbidity, can be favorably influenced by reducing indoor particle concentrations” with the use of an air purifier [Allen et. al, 2010].
- Allergy sufferers: An air purifier can help remove allergens in the air, which can help with allergy symptom triggers. Dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold spores and other allergens are particles that can be removed by air purifiers, which can help with allergy symptoms.
Other benefits of using an air purifier
In addition to the aforementioned health benefits, there are a few other ways in which an air purifier can improve your living or work environment:
- Increased productivity: Using an air purifier might have the added benefit of allowing you to become a more effective worker. One study found that improving indoor air quality in an office building resulted in a measurable increase in worker productivity [MacNaughton et. al, 2015]. This could also apply to those who often work from home, be it for profit or as a pastime.
- Healthier skin: Using an air purifier may help improve the health of your skin. Some allergens can exacerbate effects other than the typical congestion or itchy eyes—you might also experience hives, a rash or eczema, for instance. Certain VOCs, particularly formaldehyde, can also cause skin irritation in addition to respiratory effects, according to the EPA. An air purifier that can handle these types of pollutants might prevent harmful reactions on your skin.
It is clear that regularly using an air purifier will not just reduce odors or provide fresher air. Peer-reviewed studies have found measurable benefits from using an air purifier, whether you have an illness that makes you sensitive to pollutants or simply want a better night’s sleep. If you are interested in what type of air purifier works best for every room in your house, you can find more information here.
Our solution: The Molekule air purifier
There are many air purifiers that claim a myriad of benefits for your health and indoor air quality. What makes Molekule different is that pollutants are destroyed, rather than simply trapped on filters. Learn more about the PECO technology here.