Air purifiers can lower levels of airborne allergens, gases, odors and household fumes such as VOCs, while humidifiers can improve cold and cough symptoms by combating dry winter air — but do they keep you in better health?
Air Purifiers and Asthma
“For someone with asthma or allergies, air purifiers may help to improve the indoor air quality. They can reduce triggers for asthma and allergy by removing dander, dust mites, pet hair, mold spores, indoor allergens and bacteria from the air,” says Adele Taylor of the National Asthma Council Australia’s Sensitive Choice program (sensitivechoice.com), which helps consumers to identify asthma- and allergy-friendly products.
“They work by drawing air in through one or more filters to capture airborne particles and then blowing clean air back out.” The most effective purifiers have HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filters and are labeled E12, H13 or H14, says Taylor.
For an air purifier that reduces both airborne allergens and gases such as VOCs (potentially harmful volatile organic compounds released by paints, adhesives, air fresheners, and new furnishing materials), Sensitive Choice recommends air purifiers with both a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, she adds.
If you do want an air purifier (about $200-$1800), consider where to put it and whether one is enough. “An air purifier should be wherever you spend most of your time. In a unit, one large purifier will be enough, but in a two-story house you might need one upstairs and one downstairs,” says Taylor.
Dyson’s recently released Dyson Pure Cool Me personal purifying fan is perfect for targeted use. This compact machine is a perfect fit for your personal space – whether beside your bed, on your desk, or in a nursery.
What About Humidifiers
Sometimes indoor air is too dry, a problem for people with respiratory problems. Humidifiers ($200-$1000) produce water vapor or steam to help combat dry air, but can also increase the risk of picking up airborne viruses such as those causing flu, according to the National Asthma Council Australia (NAC).
Too much humidity can encourage mold and dust mites – bad for those with asthma or allergies – so your humidifier should also have a mechanism that sterilizes the mist.
How Humid Should Indoor Air be?
Ideally, between 30 and 60 percent, says Adele Taylor. “Signs that it’s too humid can include condensation on windows and walls, while cracks in the paintwork and static electricity could mean it’s too dry. You can measure indoor humidity levels with a machine called a hygrometer, which is often incorporated in thermometers and clocks,” says Taylor.
This article originally appeared on our sister site, Homes to Love.