Does air purifier make air fresh?

January 28, 2023

Like many parents today, I care about my child’s health and my own. I drink purified water, read the composition of the products I buy. And I am seriously concerned about the environmental situation where I live. In the last decades the air in the modern city has changed so much that it has become a threat to human health. Industrial and domestic sewage, solid waste, transportation, air emissions. All this changes the environment for the worse and affects our health. WHO statistics are frightening: the main causes of death for the past 15 years have been ischemic heart disease and stroke, lower respiratory tract infections, chronic lung diseases and cancer. That kind of data makes you wonder what you’re breathing in.

There is no hiding from polluted outdoor air behind double-glazed windows and tightly closed doors. It penetrates into our apartments and remains one of the most significant risks to our health. There is a reason why it is so popular today to live in ecologically clean areas and in the countryside. First we create comfort in the conditions of civilization, then we escape from this civilization closer to nature.

And what about outside the city? As a villager, I always thought that all was well with ecology here: the forest, the fields and the lake near the house. But once my friend, who lives in the countryside, started talking about the need to clean the air in her own house. Why and from what? Is it really dust? We have been taught since childhood that dust is where all kinds of bacteria and viruses live. Wet mopping and modern vacuum cleaners with fine filtration – can they not save you? As it turned out, all this was not enough. According to the words of an acquaintance, the doctors found out that her child was allergic to house dust and plant pollen. She needed a special device, an air purifier. Its main purpose is to clean the air in the house not only from dust but also from allergens. I decided to figure out how it works and how effective it is. But first we need to find out what constitutes house dust and why you can’t put up with it.

Myths and Reality: What is there to clean the air in the house from?

If you enter the query “house dust” on the Internet, you will be bombarded with such a stream of contradictory information that you will involuntarily want to turn to medical sources. Based on them, let’s try to make the main conclusions.

Myth 1: Dust contains paper and fabric fibers, scales of skin, hair, and sweat, as well as pollen, soot, and smoke. And there are also particles of unspecified origin, so-called cosmic dust.

Which of these is true? How can you get pollen if there are no flowers in your apartment and it’s winter outside. Space dust is quite frightening. In medicine, dust refers to solid and liquid substances in the form of particles. They are so tiny that they are capable of rising into the air at the slightest movement, float there for a while or sink to the surface. These particles are classified according to many criteria, such as origin, composition, size and shape.

Myth 2: Children inhale much more dust than adults because most dust particles are concentrated at one meter above the floor.

This is not entirely true. Aitken’s study found 1,800,000 dust particles in a room 1.2 meters high and 5,220,000 dust particles under the ceiling. This fine particulate matter is easily lifted from surfaces by any movement and floats in the air in completely different concentrations.

Myth 3: Dust mites live in dust and cause allergies.

It’s true. You can’t see it with the naked eye, but there are dust mites in every home. It doesn’t spread infections, it doesn’t bite people or animals. But with the dust in the air fly waste of its life, they can cause allergic reactions.

Myth 4: Dust contains viruses, microbes, pathogens, such as scabies mites and tubercle bacilli.

This is partly true. Some bacteria are carried even by weak air currents over long distances. Tubercle bacilli, for example, travel upward and remain in the air for a long time. So the infection spreads in a dusty way and causes tuberculosis, fungal diseases of the skin, lungs, and other organs.

Myth 5. Dust itself is allergenic.

This is unfortunately true. Dust contains particles and substances that can provoke allergic reactions. The former include, for example, pet dander. The latter include phenol and formaldehyde, which is decomposed into phenol-formaldehyde resin. It is found in plywood, chipboard, fiberboard, i.e. most of the modern materials that fill our homes. We shouldn’t forget about household chemicals, which we also actively use.

When you breathe in your nose, up to 50% of dust is trapped, the same amount goes to the lungs. High concentrations of the smallest particulate matter are harmful to human health. They are involved in heart disease, respiratory and cancer. With dirty hands and food we bring a large amount of dust into the mouth. Dust in the atmosphere has a harmful effect on the eyes, especially when we stay for long periods of time. Finally, dust can cause skin diseases.

Now it is clear that neither wet mopping nor vacuuming can cope with the dust particles in the air that are so harmful to our health. First of all, not all of us clean daily and with unwavering care, even if we have animals in the house. Secondly, there are always tiny dust particles floating in the air, they do not disappear, but merely move with the slightest movement. And this is where modern air conditioning equipment comes to the rescue.

Who needs an air purifier?

  • To someone who lives in a big city or an area with high levels of pollution. Up to 90% of all harmful emissions in the city’s atmosphere come from automobile transport. The main reasons for this environmental crisis are the wear and tear of automobiles and the quality of gasoline produced in Russia. In areas near the highway, the level of air pollution exceeds the norm by 10 to 15 times. The same polluted air will also be in apartments and houses.
  • Someone who has a family history of allergies or people with hypersensitivity to factors that cause allergies. This risk factor includes elements of the air, a variety of substances of animal and plant origin, including products of bacteria, various manifestations of chemical energy and other factors of the world around us.
  • To someone who is a passive smoker in their own home. Chronic lung disease occurs not only from tobacco consumption, but also from inhaling secondhand smoke. Even if there is no smoking in the home, the smoke can come from the entryway or through the ventilation.
  • To someone whose home has pets living in it. The amount of dust increases the hair of pets, it rather quickly fills the entire apartment, including the most secluded corners. No less harmful is their dander, particles of which can cause allergic reactions.
  • Those who live in their own home with a fireplace, love upholstered furniture, carpets and heavy curtains. These furnishings decorate our homes and make them cozier. But they produce and collect on themselves an amount of dust that is often comparable to the polluted air in the city streets.
  • To someone who actively uses chemicals. Alas, the more effective the household remedy, the more harmful it is. This group includes hairspray and perfume, but also glues, paints, air fresheners – all of them pollute and weigh down the air in the apartment. If you like to use them often and a lot, an air purifier turned on from time to time will definitely not be superfluous.

Look at how easy the device works.

What do the manufacturers of this appliance claim?  The device is designed to clean the air in domestic rooms from dust particles, dirt and bacteria, fungal spores, unpleasant odor and tobacco smoke. How does it do it? Each appliance has several filters, thanks to which the air is purified.

The pre-filter traps large particles of dust, pet hair, and poplar down. As a rule, it does not need to be changed, just washed or vacuumed periodically.

HEPA filter is considered the most effective in the fight against allergens. An air purifier with this filter is recommended by allergologists for those who react to household dust or plant blooms. The fiberglass plate has pores that trap the smallest particles. Easy to care for: just vacuum it once a month and change it every six months to a year depending on the degree of contamination.

Carbon filter is a powerful barrier for molecules of all kinds of odors. They are trapped in the micro pores of coal granules. And the air in the room is cleaned from tobacco smoke, carbon monoxide, chemical compounds. It should be replaced once every six months, as the carbon pores clog quite quickly and the device itself becomes a source of pollution.

The UV lamp activates the catalytic filter. It in turn destroys toxins, fungi, bacteria and viruses to harmless components. The result is a reduction of unwanted odors, volatile organic compounds and chemical vapors from glue, solvents and synthetic materials that fill our homes. The filter does not need to be changed because it does not trap dust particles, but creates a UV barrier and decomposes them. But the lamp has to be replaced every 1 to 2 years.

An electrostatic filter is a metal plate. The air passes through them and is cleaned from tobacco tar, soot from the road, and unpleasant odors. By receiving the opposite charge, foreign particles simply settle on the plates. Such a filter does not need to be replaced with a new one, just rinsed or wiped once a week.

Functions are important

Ionization is needed to freshen the air in the house. The ionizer generates negatively charged ions – anions. They not only clean the air of dust and smoke, but also kill bacteria and viruses, so they serve as protection against respiratory diseases.

Ozonation will be especially appropriate when viral infections are raging. Ozone breaks down toxic substances and kills pathogenic germs. Except that you can’t use an ozone machine in the presence of people.

Humidification is not so much for cleaning as it is for humidifying the air. Air purifiers for home with humidification are popular in apartments with central heating.

Manage your own clean air!

So how do you regulate the cleanliness of the air in your home? How often and for how long should the device work? Won’t an air purifier be dangerous in a house with a small child? Let’s find out.

All devices have a clear control panel with keys to enable functions and select the mode of operation. There can be several modes. For example, intensive air purification is recommended when cleaning the room or when someone smokes. Comfort mode is when the air in the apartment is relatively fresh. When you sleep, the air purifier will work in night mode.

There are keys to select the air purification speed. Many models have air quality sensors, such as dust and odor sensors. With their help, the unit automatically selects the fan speed depending on the degree of air pollution. As a rule, there are several speeds: low, medium and high. There can also be a very high speed at which the air quality improves in a very short time. Sometimes there is a mode where the cleaning speed cannot be changed.

To set the operating time, most models have a timer. If the unit is on, you can set a time to turn it off, for example after 1, 4 or 8 hours.

In order for the air purifier to work efficiently, you need to change the filters in time. Their service life can be from a few months to a year. It depends on the type of filter and the air quality. Most models have an internal sensor that takes into account the total running time of the unit and an indicator that will notify the user when the filter needs to be changed.

For air purifiers that are purchased for children’s rooms, an important function will be child protection. The control panel is locked, and no matter what buttons a child presses, it will not affect the operation of the device in any way.

Buy clean air in bottles or…?

This is no joke. This is exactly how the problem of the worst smog is handled in Beijing. A bottle of clean air from Canada is costing Beijing residents 200 times as much as a bottle of clean water. What a good thing that we are still only buying an air purifier for the house. And it’s a very real step towards improving the quality of the air we breathe, and therefore the health of our own and our loved ones.

Each of us decides for himself what clean air means to him. Modern air purifiers can solve many problems: to clean the air from dust and allergens, remove unpleasant odors, remove toxic substances, humidify, deodorize and make it look like the air after a thunderstorm. What’s important to you? Choose an option that can meet your requirements. I, too, have been thinking about buying an air purifier for my home. Especially since manufacturers offer a huge selection.

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