In a classic mixed response to the question, “Are air purifiers safe?” the answer is yes, and no.
Mechanical filtering air purifiers are always safe, but ozone generators and ionizers can produce air purifier side effects.
We’ll cover that in a bit.
So, are air purifiers dangerous?
Let’s take a look.
What is an air purifier?
An air purifier is an electronic device that people buy in order to filter or remove particles out of the air.
These particles usually are dust, mold, dander, hair, and other things that can cause allergies to flare up.
You don’t really need to have allergies to enjoy an air purifier.
It just overall makes the air in your living space cleaner, and you can tell a difference after owning one for a while.
Personally, I have allergies, so I use my air purifier because I am allergic to the things I listed above. I also have a dog and she sheds like crazy.
Types of air purifiers
- HEPA: HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air and it’s an air purifier with a type of filter that has very thin glass fibers that catch dust, hair, dander, and any other tiny particles that get pushed through it.
- PECO: This is a relatively new technology that destroys impurities and particles in the air. This technology has been tested, but yet to be confirmed as a valid way of purifying the air.
- Ionic: This type of air purifier allows particulates to pass through and attaches a positive ion to the particulate making it heavier and fall to the ground. This option is best coupled with cleaning and wiping the surfaces after it has been running because the impurities are no longer suspended but on these surfaces. There is some controversy with this technology as this type of purifier has been known to release ozone into the air which is bad to inhale.
- UV: This technology uses a UV lamp to supposedly sanitize the air.
Why an air purifier?
The purpose of an air purifier is in the name, it is a device that purifies the air in your home, office, or apartment by getting rid of potentially dangerous airborne substances. Those substances can be pollen, bacteria, dust, dander, organic compounds, or just about anything else that floats on air currents.
Air purifier safety in your home is an important consideration. Why would you incorporate a new device into your living space if it was potentially harmful?
With that in mind, what are air purifier dangers? What air purifier side effects? Are air purifiers dangerous? Is an air purifier good or bad, or maybe both?
Air purifier dangers
Air purifier safety is always a concern, as are air purifier dangers, people often wonder are air purifiers dangerous? The most obvious problem is ozone generation.
Ozone is an effective sterilant, it kills bacteria, protozoa, and even viruses on contact.
It can also kill you in sufficient quantity and concentration, that’s a concern if you worry are air purifiers safe?
There are two types of air purifiers that either use ozone or produce it as a byproduct.
Standalone ozone generators were tried for a while but deemed much too dangerous for household use.
Just how dangerous are air purifiers?
An example of the power of ozone on organic substances (such as people) is how it affects vehicle tires when they’re placed long term next to powerful electric motors.
Ozone is produced as a byproduct of some electrical motors. Left alone for a length of time, the ozone will eat away and destroy the surface of a tire.
If it rips into those steel belted radials in your garage, imagine what it would do to your lungs.
This process is one of the more dangerous air purifier side effects.
The second type of air purifier that can produce lesser amounts of ozone is the ionizer. The ionizer works by applying a negative charge to airborne particles.
These negatively charged particles are attracted to positively charged objects in your home, objects such as refrigerators, TVs, floors, cabinet tops, and every flat surface in your home.
The pollutants are bound to the positively charged surfaces, and as a result, the particles are locked in place. Sufficient particle captures create more dust than you’ll usually find in a home.
More dust indicates the ionizer is working well.
This system works well, but if the dusty surfaces aren’t cleaned often, the particles eventually lose their negative charge and become neutral, and later positive, regaining flight and moving through the air you and your family breathe.
It’s more of a respite from pollutants rather than a solution, it’s not one of the air purifier side effects, but it is a concern.
Once again, can an air purifier good or bad? You’ll need to decide.
So, in answer to the overriding question of “Are air purifiers dangerous?”
Yes, they can be, and if ozone generation occurs they are definitely dangerous.
Maybe your questions should center more on are air purifiers safe instead, when you’re wondering about air purifier safety.
The benefits of air purifiers
Setting aside the problems associated with a couple of types of air purifiers, we can look at the overall premise of whether air purifiers are good or bad.
If you suffer from allergies, have a compromised immune system, or just don’t like the smells associated with smoke, pollutants, and even cooking smells in your home, an air purifier is a great idea for you.
An air purifier won’t completely get rid of that strong smell of frying onions or remove the odor in the air from your dog when he comes in from a rainstorm and shakes water all over the place, but it will reduce it to manageable levels.
When compared to natural processes, it is clear when someone wonders are air purifiers bad for you, that they have overriding health benefits when used correctly.
Mechanical air purifiers, those that use filters are the best ones for the home.
They can be expensive and they vary in potency depending on the quality of the filter, but they do improve air quality.
A high end, high quality HEPA filter can remove 99.97 percent of all pollutants from the air.
That’s an incredibly high rate of air purification and should relieve your concerns about are air purifiers safe.
When you see the dust on countertops, or spot dust motes, or other particles floating in the air in sunlight, you’re witnessing air pollution in progress.
That dust was once floating in the air you breathe, that’s how it arrived. With or without an ionizing air purifier you’re going to have dust, and that dust will irritate, or even harm certain people if they are sensitive to allergens.
Air purifier dangers can range from annoying to serious, just how dangerous are air purifiers is a situational issue.
With the benefits of cleaner air for everyone, especially those with lung or respiratory issues, it should almost go without saying in answering the question, “Are air purifiers bad for you”?
That answer is obviously no if used correctly.
Purifying air is never bad, often it is a natural process.
A good breeze can clear the air from a stuffy house.
That stuffiness is often brought about by pollutants in the air.
Think how clean and fresh the air feels after a summer rain shower.
The physical act of the rain drops falling through the air cleans the air, forcing pollutants to the ground in the water running off from the shower and leaving the entire environment with a crisp, clean feel.
An air purifier can produce that same reaction inside your home.
The benefits of cleaner air are tremendous, and widely sought after, but are air purifiers always a good idea?
Are air purifiers bad for you in some situations?
Let’s examine how air purifiers can be harmful.
How air purifiers can be harmful
How dangerous are air purifiers when used incorrectly?
You’ve probably noticed that sign on the door of a motel room promising a stiff fine if someone is caught smoking in a non-smoking room.
The reason is that many people suffer allergic reactions to tobacco smoke, and many more just can’t stand the stale, foul odor of a room that has had cigarettes or cigars smoked in it.
To put it bluntly, it makes the room stink.
Motels spend a lot of time, and effort and must use costly equipment to get that smoking odor out of a non-smoking room.
Most of the time, since it is a commercial setting, motels and hotels use ozone purification to get rid of those smoking odors.
It works, is quick, and when used properly it gets rid of a wide variety of airborne smells.
Let’s describe how air purifiers can be harmful.
They are harmful, and even deadly if the room is rented to a new patron before the ozone has all been cleared out of the air in that room.
Ozone causes headaches, rashes, allergic reactions, and life-threatening conditions in compromised people.
That’s one of the biggest drawbacks to air purifiers.
Another drawback, one that can occur in your home can happen when filters are not changed regularly.
A plugged filter is worse than no filter at all since the air being forced against it by a blower will eventually knock off captured bits of pollutants and force even more dust, pollen, and bacteria into the air than if the room was left unfiltered.
Yes, air purifiers can be quite harmful if they’re not used properly.
How dangerous are air purifiers?
In life, we are often forced to choose between the good and bad, with the good sometimes arriving with bad side effects.
That is often true with air purifiers.
When used correctly, even ozone-based purification is a safe practice.
Use it carefully, clear the air once it is done, wait 24 or more hours, and the room, home apartment, or building will be just fine for everyone to use.
Going in too soon is when the problems occur.
Air purifiers have been around for a long time.
When used properly they are a valuable tool in your home.
When used improperly or used without proper maintenance and filter replacement the cure can be worse than the disease.
If you follow safety guidelines, change filters when required, and monitor ozone production carefully, an air purifier is one of the best purchases you can make as a renter or homeowner.