Best Air Purifiers to Combat Allergies and Asthma
5 Air Purifiers to Keep Allergy and Asthma at Bay
Life is hard when you have allergic rhinitis, asthma, and other respiratory health conditions. You feel restricted because you cannot enjoy the outdoors as much as you want. Even if you stay inside the house, indoor pollution can still trigger them and make you suffer for hours or more. This is because the level of pollution inside the building is 3-100 times higher than the outside.
Although your doctor’s prescriptions can help relieve allergy and asthma attacks, it’s always better to do all preventive measures to manage these conditions well. One effective way to keep them in control is to lessen, if not eliminate indoor air pollution by using an air purifier.
Air Purifier: Is It Effective?
When an air purifier manufacturer says: “Our product can eliminate 99% of airborne pollution”, should you believe it? Is it just a plain marketing hype, or there is a basis for that claim?
Firstly, the 99% effectivity rate may or may not be accurate. Remember that companies tested their products in a controlled environment. The setting there is not the same as the indoor spaces in your house. The pollution level is different from your home or in any other places. While it can trap 99% of airborne impurities during product testing, the result can differ when you use it.
Upon knowing this, your next question might be: is air purifier effective?
The short answer is “yes.” If you’re new to air purifiers, you have to understand that these devices are more of electronic gadgets, and not medical apparatus. Hence, they are not regulated by the Food and Drug Administration and they occupy the same category as nutritional supplements. They can help make you live a healthier life but cannot treat any medical condition, including allergies and asthma.
The benefit of using an air purifier varies from one user to another. While most users experience positive results, some don’t feel any difference at all. However, this scenario does not mean that the device is not doing its job well.
In various studies, using an air purifier at home reduces the symptoms of the conditions above. It takes some time for you to see and feel the result. The manufacturers focus on what it does to the air, not the body. The device may be efficient in removing microscopic dust, pollen, mold spores, and other pollutants, but it doesn’t mean that it can make you feel better. Your body’s reaction to it depends on many factors that only your doctor has an explanation.
When you suffer from allergies or asthma, it’s always better to do everything connected to environmental allergy control. This includes closing windows and doors when the air quality outside is terrible, encasing your bedding, or using an air purifier to filter the air you breathe.
What to Look for In an Air Purifier?
Different air purifiers are designed to meet specific needs. Air purifiers intended for allergy relief typically use multiple filters (mostly HEPA filters) plus any one or two other methods mentioned in the next sections. On the other hand, brands intended to lessen asthma attacks’ triggers commonly have HEPA filters to remove allergen particles, plus odor and VOC removal technology.
The size of your house or the room where you will use the device directly impacts its performance. As a general rule, use an excellent purifier for a big space. Read the product description and the manual to determine what type of air purifier you need.
Also, consider the air purifier’s change per hour (ACH) rate. This standard refers to the number of times a cleaner can filter the air inside the room. The recommended ACH for allergy and asthmas sufferers is at least four times per hour. With this rate, it gives filters the chance to clean the air and trap microscopic particles thoroughly.
Meanwhile, also consider the device’s Air Delivery Rate (CADR). This rating tells you how much pollution can make the machine clean within a specific area. For instance, a CADR of 600 cfm will clean a room of 600 sq ft quicker than an air purifier with a CADR of only 400 cfm. You can purchase high CADR air purifiers with thousands of positive reviews on various online and physical stores.
Examine the device for its features. An air purifier with Energy Star – rated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is cost-effective and good for the environment. Do you need a machine that you can program using an app? If yes, you have to pick a brand with intelligent technology to connect the device to Wi-Fi. This way, you can command the cleaner to perform a task remotely. You can also set a schedule to enable it to turn on and off all by itself.
Other helpful features to watch out for include: air quality indicators, caster wheels, fan speed, and how often the filters need to be changed.
How Does an Air Purifier Work?
An air purifier works using the principle: suck in dirty air, trap the dust through its filtration system, and push clean air back into the room. This process surmises that a good air purifier must have excellent suction and filtration power.
The fan pulls in the air towards the device. The air then passes through several filtration stages. As the air moves through the filter, microscopic particles are captured, and the clean air is being pushed back into the room. The most common filtration systems are the following:
High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)
HEPA filters can remove as much as 99% of 0.3-micrometre pollutants. They are commonly used in many advanced air purifiers in the market today. This filtration system is proven effective at removing larger particles. HEPA filters must be properly arranged inside the device to ensure that the cleaner only releases clean air back into the room.
Aside from being effective, the HEPA filter does not produce ozone or other harmful byproducts. However, remember to replace the filter as per the product manual. This is to ensure that the filter is working efficiently in the course of operation.
Note: Look for a brand with a True HEPA filter, not “HEPA-like” or “HEPA type”. The last two types don’t work the same as the True HEPA, no matter what the salesmen tell you.
Filter HVAC at MERV 14
MERV 14 or above are proven effective to trap air particles of 0.3 micrometers or larger. The capture rate of MERV 14 is at least 75%, compared to 99% of HEPA. Even if the capture rate is lower than HEPA, it can filter more air in the same period. Because of this, high-grade MERV filter systems are more practical to use in big houses.
Aside from filters, there are other ways an air purifier cleans the air.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI)
In this method, the air passes through the UV lamp for sterilization. An air purifier with UVGI uses a fan to force the air to pass through the UV lights. Aside from using a fan, there are other ways to push the raw air past the lamps. A combination of filtration system plus UV light is an excellent method to remove dead microorganisms.
Activated carbon is a procedure of changing the contaminants from gas to concrete so that they can be filtered while inside the air purifier and avoid being released back into the air. Activated carbon works better at room temperature. When combined with a HEPA filter, the result can be amazing.
Polarized-media electronic air cleaners
Most airborne elements have a charge, either positive or negative, while some are bi-polar. These particles pass through a polarizing electric field. At this point, the particles that are electronically charged adhere to a disposable fiber media pad. Smaller particles that are not recognized in the initial pass will go back to the first stage. This time, they will be polarized and combined with other particles so that the media pad can recognize them this time. Odor and VOC molecules are collected in the next stages. No ozone is produced in all stages using this method.
Other Ways to Improve Indoor Air Quality
Again, the use of an air purifier is not the only solution to your allergy or asthma problem. There are many ways to improve indoor air quality, including the following;
Keep your windows open
Open the doors and windows whenever the outdoor air quality is in good condition. This will allow the irritants inside your house to escape. It will also invite fresh, cleaner air to come inside the home resulting in safer, healthier indoor air.
Get rid of dust, pet hairs, and other small particles that make you sick. Vacuuming can trap dust and send it to its bin, which you can throw into the garbage later on. This method prevents the dirt from going back into the air. How often should you vacuum? It depends – if you have pets and many carpets, you have to do it at least every other day. For easier and faster cleaning, consider buying robot vacuums.
Change filters not just for the purifier but also for your air conditioning unit, vacuum cleaners, and other gadgets that use them. New filters maximize the effectiveness of these devices.
Use an exhaust fan in the kitchen and bathroom
Turn on the exhaust even before cooking anything in the kitchen. An exhaust fan removes extra moisture, humidity, smoke, and odor from the kitchen. It works the same way for your bathroom. Having an exhaust fan helps lessen allergy triggers.
Don’s smoke inside
Avoid lighting up candles or a fireplace when not necessary. Ban smoking inside the house. Reducing pollutants will undoubtedly result in improved air quality.
5 Air Purifiers for Allergy and Asthma
After a thorough discussion of an air purifier’s benefits and features, it’s time to name our top five picks.
Coway Airmega 400
Conway Airmega 400 Graphite works perfectly for large rooms. It can clean the air two times in a room that measures 1,560 sq. ft. This model uses the powerful combination of True HEPA filter and combined active carbon to capture and reduce up to 99% of particles 0.3 microns and above. It can also trap as much as 99% of the volatile organic compounds and harmful fumes such as H3 and CH3CHO. Conway has a washable and permanent pre-filter to catch larger dust particles.
Conway’s other exciting features include:
- Air quality indicator. The brightly colored LED ring lets you know how clean or dirty your indoor air is every minute of the day.
- Works silently. A noise level of 22-52 dB is commendable considering its high-performance.
- Five fan modes: Smart, Sleep, Low, Medium, and High. Expect that the noise level increases as the fan mode is set to High.
- Smart sensors: Fan speed automatically changes based on the house’s air quality and lighting conditions.
RabbitAir MinusA2 provides a silent, stylish, and efficient performance. It uses an advanced True HEPA filtration system with six stages of purification and deodorization. It effectively traps common allergens and particles 0.3 microns in size at 99.97% efficiency and over 99% efficiency for particles less than 0.1 microns. Because of this, common allergens such as dust mites, mold, and pollen are reduced significantly. It is a good fit for medium to large rooms measuring 815 sq. ft.
This model can clean an 1100 sq. ft. room every 30 minutes. This ACH rate means that it cleans the air 3x more than its competitors. It has True HEPA filters that capture dust, allergens, pollen, fur, pet dander, and household odors. It leaves your indoor air clean and fresh to prevent allergies and asthma.
Alen BreatheSmart’s design comes from NASA airflow engineers to ensure high-precision quality. It has four fan speeds to choose from to optimize air purification and adjust noise levels.
Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier
Bissell air320 Smart Air Purifier uses HEPA and activated carbon filters to capture airborne particles in large rooms. With its 3-stage filter, 99% of 0.3-micron particles are trapped inside the machine, leaving you clean indoor air. The activated carbon filter captures gases and VOCs, including odors from pets, cooking, smoke, and other common household odors. It automatically adjusts its purification and noise level based on air quality and lighting conditions.
Blueair 211 has an advanced Swedish design that captures 99% of airborne pollutants like pollen, dust, pet dander, and mold. It also uses activated carbon to reduce gases, VOCs, and annoying odors from pets, smoking, cooking, wildfires, and more.
If you are looking for a functional and colorful model, this brand is the right choice. It has a mesh filter housing for that Scandinavian look. Adding to the aesthetic touch is the washable pre-filters in diva blue and dark shadow colors. For style and functionality, Blueair 211 gives you the best of both worlds.