General Health

Breathe Better: How an Air Purifier Can Help You Reclaim Your Health

Indoor air can contain 2-5x more contaminants than outdoor air — and in some cases up to as much as 100x!

We live in a world where walking down the street exposes our bodies to pollutants in the air, such as car exhaust emissions, factory emissions, pollen, and dust. But that doesn’t mean we are safe from bad air quality when we close the door to the outside world.

Research from the EPA shows that indoor air can contain two to five times more contaminants than outdoor air — and in some cases up to as much as 100 times more.

When you consider that most people spend 90% of their time indoors, this has big implications for our health.

Health Problems Caused by Bad Air Quality

The odds of having an immediate reaction to poor indoor air pollutants indoors will vary greatly from person to person. What aggravates one person may not even be noticed by the next.

Regardless, exposure to low quality air while indoors can cause many adverse effects on our health, both short- and long-term.

Short-Term Effects

These symptoms can easily be mistaken for symptoms of colds, viruses, or allergies, so it’s important to note when symptoms occur and if they disappear when the sufferer leaves the room.

Some of the most common short-term effects include:

  • Sneezing
  • Coughing
  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue
  • Watery Eyes

Long-term Effects

Continuous exposure to contaminated air is also capable of causing more life-threatening conditions and diseases. Long-term health effects of breathing in contaminated air include:

  • Respiratory Diseases
  • Heart Disease
  • Cancer

According to the World Health Organization, 3.8 million premature deaths per year can be attributed to diseases caused by exposure to household air pollution.

Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality

Cross section of house

On the EPA.gov website, you can take the Indoor Air Quality House Tour online. Image Credit: EPA.gov

There are several ways to improve indoor air quality, and combining them will greatly increase your indoor air quality and your health.

Good Ventilation

It is important to regularly let air from the outside come into your home, especially when cooking, painting, sanding, or doing anything else that creates pollutants. Opening a window or door (when weather permits) is usually the best method of letting air into your home, but there are also some ventilation systems that bring outdoor air into the house.

Air Purifiers

An air purifier is a device which is designed to remove pollutants and contaminants from the air. It does this by sending the indoor air through a series of very fine filters and then releasing the clean air back into the room.

Running an air purifier is the single best thing you can do to improve your indoor air quality, but you must ensure you use the correct one for your needs. Some air purifiers are made for a single room, while others are made to clean the air in the whole house. Generally speaking, the more filters an air purifier has, the better it will be when it comes to removing pollutants from the air.

Types of air filters can include:

  • Pre-Filter – This is usually the first filter the air passes through. It is designed to catch bigger particles such as pet dander, pollen and dust. It also prolongs the life of the more expensive HEPA filter.
  • HEPA Filter – The HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air) filter is a fine mesh filter that captures 99.97% of all particles down to 0.3 microns in size. These are the particles that you can’t visibly see but can cause the most damage, such as mold, smoke particles, soot, viruses, and bacteria. This is the main filter in an air purifier and the main reason that they are so effective.
  • Activated Carbon Filter – This charcoal based filter captures smoke particles and removes any odors in the air. If you do a lot of cooking in a confined space it is recommended to look for an air purifier with an activated carbon filter.
  • Specific Filters – While the three filters listed above are the main ones you will find in most air cleaners, there are also other filters depending on the purpose of the device. Odor removers and toxin removers are two of the common filter you will see.

Another important aspect of an air purifier is the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate). This number indicates how fast the air circulates through the air purifier and tells you how effective the air purifier is at removing certain pollutants. There is a CADR for pollen, smoke, and dust, and the higher the number the more effective the device will be.

When it comes to indoor air quality, one would do well to heed this wise advice, courtesy of a famous polymath (and founding father):

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

– Benjamin Franklin

Sammy Dolan
Sammy is a keen writer who loves nothing more than spending time with his family and teaching them the ways of the world. He loves writing about any topic related to home life. He currently runs the blog at Home Clean Expert.
Sammy Dolan

Latest posts by Sammy Dolan (see all)

Sammy Dolan

Sammy Dolan

Sammy is a keen writer who loves nothing more than spending time with his family and teaching them the ways of the world. He loves writing about any topic related to home life. He currently runs the blog at Home Clean Expert.

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2 Comments

  1. April 25, 2018 at 11:46 pm

    Hi,

    I would love the opportunity to write a guest post for your website.

    I am a native English speaker with an ability to write compelling articles on all manner of subjects surrounding home and health issues.

    All I ask in return is a link back to my own website.

    My site (www.freshairguide.com) focuses on issues surrounding indoor air pollution. We provide independent reviews on air purification devices and provide useful guides that help people understand the major causes for poor air quality in their home, such as mold and allergens. We don’t just stop at recommending air purifiers, but attempt to track down the typical root cause of the issues and offer advice on how to remedy each problem.

    I’m happy to write about any particular topic of your choosing in my broad niche, or happy to offer specific topic ideas for your approval.

    I hope to hear back from you, if not, no worries.

    Keep up the good work with your excellent site.

    Best regards,

    Fin

    • July 12, 2018 at 3:18 pm

      Hi Fin – please email on-call@md.com for more information. Thanks!