“Is it worth it?” It’s a question we all ask at some point, whether we’re deciding to get extra features on a car we’re looking to buy, or we’re eyeing a chocolate bar in the checkout aisle of the grocery store. The answer, of course, is completely subjective – what we’re really asking is, “Is it worth it to me?”.

Are air purifiers worth it? Without knowing you, the answer is “It depends.” Obviously, that would make for a pretty lousy article – so let’s talk about what air purifiers do and who they’re for. From there, you can decide for yourself if they’re worth it.


How do air purifiers work?

It’s easy to think of the air as emptiness – you can’t see the air, after all. Realistically, though, the air around you is teeming with life and other substances. Spores, dust, bacteria, mold, smoke, and other particles are all around us. 

Air purifiers work by removing these substances from the air before it reaches your lungs. Air passes through filters in the purifier – these filters remove unwanted substances, then push the newly cleaned air through your home.

There are a variety of ways that air purifiers accomplish this. For starters, you’ll want to find a purifier with a HEPA filter – these purifiers can trap extremely small particles. You may also find some air purifiers that use ionization to make particles fall to the floor. The air purifiers may contain a tray to hold those particles, or you may simply have to vacuum them up.  

There are several different types of air purifiers, from whole-house purifiers to portable purifiers. The one you’ll choose will depend heavily on whether or not you have a ducted or ductless HVAC system in your building.


What do air purifiers filter?

The substances that your purifier will filter out depend on what kind of filter your purifier is equipped with. We highly recommend using HEPA filters, which can capture particles that are 0.3-microns in diameter.

HEPA filters are extraordinarily powerful pieces of technology – they can filter out dust, smoke, pet dander, mold, bacteria, and even viruses like the coronavirus. They take time to work, of course, and they can’t remove particles that have already settled, like dust on your couch. But as long as it’s moving through the air, your air purifier will catch it. High-quality air purifiers can remove an extraordinary amount of particulate from the air within just 30 minutes of being active in a new area.


Who are air purifiers for?

Almost anyone can benefit from using air purifiers. That includes people with pets, allergy sufferers, people with asthma, and even folks who just want to improve the quality of air for their families. 

Air purifiers can also be useful for businesses. “Sick Building Syndrome” is a very real problem that can affect the health of your customers or employees. By filtering the air, you can improve the quality of life of all your building’s occupants. 


What don’t air purifiers filter?

A standard air purifier won’t filter volatile organic compounds (VOCs) – basically, odors. That doesn’t mean that you can’t filter VOCs with purifiers, however. Some purifiers come with activated carbon and zeolites, which can filter out VOCs. 

As we discussed above, air purifiers don’t filter particles that are already stuck on surfaces. Additionally, air purifiers need to be cared for. If you don’t clean or replace your filter on a regular basis, it will no longer be able to actively filter out harmful substances. Getting a whole-house air purifier maintained at least once a year is also a good idea.


With all that in mind, are air purifiers worth it?

We certainly think so! Air purifiers are affordable, and there are a number of different solutions for different budgets and different buildings. A small, one-bedroom apartment should see excellent results from a portable purifier, while a commercial-sized building could take advantage of a commercial, whole-building purifier.

You’ll find that air purifiers are less worthwhile if you have no one with any health problems in your household. Unfortunately, that’s rarely the case, and health problems can develop through exposure to the bacteria, viruses, mold, and other particles that air purifiers help filter out. 

Your home or building will have cleaner air, and its occupants will be less prone to health problems. In our books, that’s priceless.


Things to keep in mind when purchasing an air purifier

If you’ve decided to purchase an air purifier, we highly recommend getting one that doesn’t use ozone. There’s some evidence that ozone can help rid the air of contaminants, but there’s even more evidence that an excess of ozone in your building can pose a health risk to occupants.

Want an air purifier that will suit your building? You’ll want to look at the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) of the unit. Generally, you’ll want a CADR of at least 2/3rds of the square footage of the area the unit is servicing. For example, if you have a portable purifier for a 144-foot room, you’ll want a unit with a CADR of at least 96.

Looking for the best air purifier for your home? We can help! We’re Comfort Crew – you may know us because we offer air conditioning repair in San Marcos, TX. What you may not have known is that we also install and repair air purifiers – it’s all a part of the world of HVAC. We’ll cool your home and improve your air quality – get in touch with us.