Finding The Best Air Purifiers For Allergies

By:    Published: June 1, 2012

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If you suffer from allergies, odds are you'll try just about anything to relieve some of the annoying symptoms that you experience on a daily basis. Whether you have coughing, sniffling, sneezing, rashes or head congestion, your allergies can affect your life in a major way when these symptoms become a part of your daily life. You may have tried medications and herbal remedies, but many people haven't thought to try air purifiers. When you're at home, having an air purifier can make a major difference as far as how your allergies affect you - if you buy the right one, that is. Here's a rundown on how air purifiers can help with allergies and what you should look for when buying one.

How Air Purifiers Work

Because air inside your home is trapped there, the levels of contaminants in that air is often higher than it is outside, where the air is less contained. In addition to that, chemicals, pet dander, dust and mold are all at higher levels indoors than outdoors, so the air in any home is likely to be dirty with several types of contaminants. That's where the air purifier comes in. When placed in a home, an air purifier works to lower the levels of air pollutants in that space. As the air purifier draws air into its chamber and circulates it through, a series of very fine sieves filter out particles from the air. Depending on the type of air purifier you have, that air may be circulated through the filter several times per hour, creating air that is less and less contaminated by dust, bacteria and other particles as time goes on. Occasionally, the filters in the air purifier may need to be cleaned or replaced, but other than that, the machine works entirely on its own.

Why Air Purifiers Help With Allergies

Air purifiers can be extremely efficient when it comes to removing particles from the air, and those particles include many different types of airborne allergens. For instance, pet dander and dust are two of the leading causes of allergies found mainly within the home. By filtering out these particles, the air purifier is capable of reducing the source of allergy symptoms for many people.

While air purifiers are capable of alleviating allergy symptoms as they clear the air, they may not be sufficient for all types of allergies. For example, food allergies would not be affected by air purifiers since this type of allergy isn't affected by particles found in the air. If you are unsure about whether an air purifier is right for your type of allergies, ask your doctor.

What to Look For

There are several air purifier features that you'll come across while shopping for different models. These are a few of the most important ones to look for if you want an air purifier that will help with your allergies:

  • HEPA Filter: A high-efficiency particle arrester (HEPA) filter is essential for keeping allergens out of the air. Air purifiers with this type of filter are able to catch extremely small particles. In fact, a HEPA filter is guaranteed to trap 99.97 percent of airborne particles that are larger than 0.3 microns, says AchooAllergy.com. Many of the main allergens found in the home, such as dust, pollen and pet dander, fall into this category, so a HEPA filter is a must if you want to alleviate your allergy symptoms.
  • Ionic Purifier: This type of air purifier uses high voltage to ionize (electrically charge) the particles found in the air. This makes the allergens in the air cling to the filters in the purifier, allowing the clean air to continue circulating in the room. This is an extremely efficient method in air purifying, so it comes highly recommended for allergy sufferers.
  • Fan: While some air purifiers are made without fans, thereby running more quietly, Consumer Reports found that these models were not as efficient as those that have fans.
  • Servicing Indicator: It's important to find an air purifier model which comes with an indicator light that tells you when it's time to clean or replace the filters. If your filter becomes clogged with all the particles it is collecting, it will no longer work efficiently when it comes to relieving your allergy symptoms.
  • Scope: You'll need to pay attention to the size of the space in which your air purifier will work. If you have forced-air heating or cooling in your home, you can purchase an air purifier which will clean the air in your entire home. For those without forced-air, a room air purifier will need to be used. Pay attention to how many square feet the air purifier is intended to affect; depending on the size of your home, it may be necessary to purchase more than one.

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