Are Air Purifiers Good for Allergies?

If you’ve been struggling with an allergy, an allergy relief specific air purifier might be the one you need to reduce your symptoms.

The air that we breathe, especially the indoor air, is nothing to be proud about. The EPA asserts that indoor air is actually more toxic than the outdoor air and therefore encourage us to pay more attention to it.

For a normal healthy person, regular home ventilation, cleaning, wiping and vacuuming might be enough to keep the indoor air from being toxic to its inhabitants. But, for an allergic person, these practices might not be enough to keep him comfortable. In other words, allergic people need the air to be cleaner than normal. That’s where allergy air purifier comes in.

But, with the plethora of air purifiers available nowadays, which one is allergy-approved ? And how do one determine that a particular air purifier is good to control allergy ?

Before discussing which home air purifier is best for allergy relief, let’s have a look at what makes a good allergy relief air purifier.

Allergy Air Purifier Criteria

1. Safe.

Allergy relief air purifier should be safe and do no harm. This means, it should not be ozone producing because ozone is an irritant and can irritate soft tissues like eyes as well as respiratory tracts. Therefore, ozone air purifier or generators should be avoided at all cost.

Another kind of air purifiers, ionic air purifier, can be used as long as it does not produce ozone. Ionic air purifier, although not designed to produce ozone, often produces it as a by product. This is because ionic air purifiers, by definition, work by releasing charged ions and those charged ions are produced by high voltage. The high voltage makes the machine emitting ozone as a by product. Although the amount of ozone emitted is not a lot, in most machines, they are not negligible either.

The EPA has set the limit of indoor ozone concentration to be 50 ppb and many air purifiers adhere to this guideline. However, at this concentration, you will be able to smell ozone odors and sensitive people, like asthma, allergy and multiple chemical sensitivity sufferers, may not be able to stand it. Therefore, it’s best to avoid ozone-producing ionic air purifiers. You can, however, buy ionic air purifiers which do not emit ozone. Online vendors usually mention if a particular ionic air purifier is ozone free as this feature can rocket up the sales.

The safest of all is therefore HEPA and carbon air purifiers. Any allergy relief air purifiers which have HEPA filters or a combination of HEPA and carbon filters are safe because these air purifiers work through mechanical filtration. Therefore, there is no need to produce ions, ozone, hydroxyl radicals, and other kind of agents to clean up air electronically.

We therefore recommend HEPA air purifiers, air purifiers with HEPA and carbon filters, or non-ozone producing ionic air purifiers for people with allergy since they are safe.

2. Effective.

An effective allergy relief air purifier should be able to get rid of allergens such as mold, pollen, dust, and dustmite droppings from the air. Gas control can be a bonus, but not essential for allergy sufferers.

Therefore, any good air purifier with a true HEPA filter and some carbon filter for some gas or odor control is good enough. Note the word true HEPA here. When we say true HEPA, it means that the filter in the machine should be a true HEPA, not HEPA-grade and HEPA-like, since those two terms mean that they are not a true HEPA filter and are not as effective as HEPA filters. A true HEPA filter should be able to trap particles sized 0.3 microns or above at 99.97% efficiency, and can also trap smaller particles at a reduced efficiency.

In contrast, HEPA grade filter (non-true HEPA filter) can’t usually trap submicron particles efficient enough, and can only trap particles which are approximately 3 micron or bigger. There is a big difference between 3 and 0.3 micron. If you buy an air purifier which is not equipped with a true HEPA filter, that machine will sure miss a lot of small allergens, hence is not good enough to make a difference in air quality for allergy sufferers.

When you buy a HEPA air purifier, make sure you look at the machine efficiency. Some machines have HEPA filters, but the housing are not tight enough, hence the dirty air can bypass the filter. This leakage will compromise the overall machine efficiency.

Premium air purifiers such as IQAir, Allerair, Alen and so forth are built well and have good quality filters that they the machine efficiency percentage is at the 90-s. Second tier machines like Hunter Quietflo and Honeywell Enviracaire are good enough, but have lower efficiency percentage and have a lot more less gas control or carbon filter than the premium air purifier. If your allergy is severe or moderate, aim to get a premium air purifier as listed here. If your allergy is minor, a second tier air purifier will do the job.

How about an ionic air purifier ? Can it be used as an allergy relief air purifier ?

Yes, an efficient and ozone-free ionic air purifier can be used as an allergy relief air purifier. Unfortunately, a lot of ionic air purifiers are only good for all around cleaning and do not have good efficiency to be able to provide therapeutic effect for people with health problems. However, some good ones such as BlueAir and Alen air purifier which combine ionizer with mechanical filtration can definitely be used as for allergy relief.

Other Consideration When Choosing an Air Purifier to Control Allergy.

Here are other things you might want to consider when choosing for your ideal allergy relief air purifier:

  • Room consideration. Make sure the air purifier you choose has enough power to clean up the room with a particular size. It’s better to overinstall than underinstall. If it has an air flow rate number, be it in cfm (cubic feet per minute) or CADR (clean air delivery rate), use those number to work out the room size. Basically, to get the ideal 6 air changes per hour, you need to have an air purifier with CADR or cfm number slightly above your intended room size. You can get away with less 6 air change per hour if you buy a premium air purifier because they are so efficient they clean up 95% or above air particles coming into the machine. But if you buy a second tier one, stick with 6 air change per hour to get the maximum result.
  • Noise. Think about where you’re going to put the air purifier in. If you’re going to use it in the bedroom, think about the noise at the lowest setting.
  • Convenience. Different models of good home allergy air purifiers have different features. Buy the one you are most comfortable with. As a rule of thumb, Asian-made air purifiers are usually efficient enough and contain a lot of bells and whistles.

Allergy Air Purifiers – Do They Work ?

As explained above, the job of an allergy air purifier is to remove allergen in the air, such as mold spores, pollen, dust and dustmites. The best allergy air purifier removes much more than that though since it also has gas filter which controls very fine dust and gases.

Provided you choose an appropriate air purifier for your allergy needs, you can expect it to improve your life. The key here is to choose the appropriate air purifier. If your allergy is moderate to severe, don’t hesitate to spend more money to get the premium kind since this kind of air purifiers have both HEPA and carbon filter to control both allergen particulates and gases. Only when you get the top-of-the line air purifier, such as IQAir, Austin Air, Blueair, Alleraire, Airgle and Alen, you can get a significant relief. If your allergy is minor or mild, then a second tier allergy air purifier such as Hunter Quietflo and Honeywell Enviracaire might do the job.

Many people with allergy order cheap air purifiers which do not have any carbon filter and only have HEPA-like (non-true HEPA) filter, and then complain when those air purifiers don’t help. If an air purifier is not equipped with the filter needed to sufficiently curb a variety of allergen with a variety of sizes, how can it be expected to get rid of all allergens in the air ?

To top it off, most cheap air purifiers do not have a good efficiency, which means that on top of being only effective in trapping micron-sized particles, there is also air bypassing the filter. It makes sense then that this kind of air purifiers misses a lot allergen. If an air purifier misses a lot of allergens, then surely it can’t be expected to help the allergic customers.

Therefore, be careful when choosing a home allergy relief air purifier. Air purifiers work to control allergies. But you have to choose one wisely.

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