Do you know what your air purifier is doing right?

While they may seem like a luxury, air purifiers serve an important role in keeping you and your loved ones safe. When purchasing a standalone air purifier, make sure it’s one you can rely on and trust for years to come. Here are some helpful tips and guidelines when buying an air purifier.

The Need

A standalone air purifier keeps the air in your home clean. Events in your area, such as wildfires or intense forms of air pollution, can affect your indoor air quality. Poor indoor air quality may lead to long-term damage to your lungs and general health. Studies have shown that “[w]hen exposed in a laboratory to pollution levels comparable to those found in the atmosphere of the Amazon region during the forest and crop burning season, human lung cells suffer severe DNA damage and stop dividing. After 72 hours of exposure, over 30% of the cultured cells are dead.”

While research indicates air pollution can be harmful, it’s unclear just how The Environmental Protection Agency has explained that “the long-term risk from short-term smoke exposures are quite low,” meaning that such conditions may not always lead to serious repercussions. It’s difficult to attribute long-term health benefits to air purifiers generally, as there are so many factors in a person’s life that contribute to an individual’s overall wellbeing. So while it’s inarguable that “particle pollution does impact health,” it isn’t clear to what extent it will affect yours.

Additionally, houses contain air far longer than any open outdoor space. In fact, the indoor spaces hold far more pollution in the air, making purifiers that much more necessary.

Cost and Maintenance

The cost of a standalone air purifier can range from $200 to $850, depending on which model you choose. If you decide on upgrading to a whole house air purifier, that can cost between $600 and $2,500. On top of this, air purifiers require a lot of electricity to operate, with some using over $300 of energy per year. When selecting your model, be sure to consider how much power it consumes so you aren’t surprised by the sudden spike in your monthly bills.

To offset the cost of your air purifier, you can upgrade your HVAC unit to include an air cleaner. While these come with some basic filtering functions for larger particles, such as pet dander, the cleaner’s filter can be upgraded to provide a stronger and more reliable service.

If you choose to go this route, keep in mind the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) associated with whatever replacement you select. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has gone on record stating that “[f]ilters with a MERV between 7 and 13 are likely to be nearly as effective as true HEPA filters at controlling most airborne indoor particles.” There is the option to upgrade your HVAC to a whole house purification system, but this is costly and often requires a complete overhaul of your current unit.

Generally, air purifiers are very low maintenance, made to run for an entire year with little to no issue. Still, many manufacturers recommend you at least inspect the inside of your unit once every six months to ensure there is no dust build-up and that nothing is going wrong with the inner workings of your device.

In regards to warranties, most companies offer limited lifetime warranties on their air purifier products. This means that the company dictates specific parts or conditions that is covered under their lifetime warranty policies. Be sure to read these agreements through thoroughly before selecting the machine to purchase.

There are many options and price points when it comes to “air machines” for the home. Some are mild filters for dust, some have HEPA filtration that help with allergies, some are helpful in removing smoke and other irritants from your indoor atmosphere, and some combine many of these traits.

Which one is right for your home? This helpful article describes some of the differences in the product categories on the market today.