Air pollution is a huge problem.
It’s one of the leading causes of global warming and the rapidly growing temperatures worldwide.
I vividly remember just a decade ago how the winter was always cold and snowy, and the summer was always sunny.
Today, things are very different.
Where I live, it snowed like December in May, just last year.
As I was sitting one day, thinking about air pollution and its impact on our environment, I thought…do air purifiers remove pollution from the atmosphere?
While it might sound like a far-fetched idea, I’m not the only one with this thought.
I know this because you’re reading this blog post right now.
When I went to research whether or not air purifiers could help remove pollution from the atmosphere, I found a lot of people asking the same question.
So, if you’re wondering the same, I have all the answers for you, which I’ll share in this blog.
Not only that, but I’ll also go into more detail about the different types of air purifiers.
From there, I’ll explain what air purifiers can do and if there are air purifiers that can clean the atmosphere.
And by the end of this read, your question will not only be answered, but you’ll also know the reason behind the answer.
Do Air Purifiers Remove Pollution from the Atmosphere?
However, remember that these devices are designed to work indoors and won’t do much good if you place them outdoors.
One of the things you need to consider when buying an air purifier is whether or not it can handle the air volume of your room or home.
Most of the time, air purifiers will have the size of the room they can handle on the packaging.
And as you might know, you’ll be lucky to find an air purifier that can handle rooms larger than 1000 square feet.
There is much less air indoors than there is outdoors.
So, you can only imagine the size of the air purifier you will need to remove air pollution from our atmosphere.
That being said, China did develop the largest air purifier in the world, which is made to purify the air outdoors.
However, there is only one such air purifier, which is nowhere good enough to make a difference on a global scale.
Every town or city in the world will need at least one of these units to make a real difference in removing pollution from the atmosphere.
That’s precisely why people buy a small unit that can at least care for their indoor air quality.
Why Can’t Air Purifiers Remove Pollution From the Atmosphere?
Even if we did build a million large air purifiers as China did, that still wouldn’t be enough to purify the air.
Not to mention the sheer volume of power required to run these large units.
It will cost the global economy trillions and dollars to plan, execute, and even sustain the global air purification plan.
This isn’t something most global leaders would be keen to do, mainly because we have nature to purify the air at scale – entirely for free with zero emissions.
To help you better understand why air purifiers can’t help with air pollution at scale, I’ll talk about the different types of air purifiers next.
Understanding the Types of Air Purifiers
There are two main types of air purifiers available today.
Portable units for everyday use and in-duct air purification systems are used to supplement your HVAC system.
Neither device is large enough (even if every home worldwide would use them to make a real difference in reducing pollution in the atmosphere.
Portable Air Purifiers
Portable air purifiers are the units that you are likely most familiar with.
They are often small and light enough to carry from one room to the next.
Some brands of portable air purifiers include Levoit, Blueair, and Dyson, to name a few.
These are simple machines with a motor, a fan, and a filtration system enclosed in a well-designed case.
They work by having the fan suck in air from the room, push it through the filtration system, and let it out into the room from the exit vent.
They are not suitable for outdoor use and therefore are not ideal for removing pollution from the atmosphere.
In-Duct Air Purification
These air purifiers require an HVAC system.
These types of air purifiers are professionally installed in the HVAC unit and either consist of a series of filters or UV lights.
The filters work similarly to the way a portable air purifier works.
The UV lights, on the other hand, are designed to kill and neutralize any germs that make their way into the HVAC system.
With these systems, all the air from an HVAC unit has been purified, and pollutants have been eliminated.
But since this requires a controlled airflow through the vents, this won’t be practical to remove pollution from our atmosphere.
What Does an Air Purifier Do?
So, if an air purifier can’t “purify” the pollutants from our atmosphere, what are they useful for?
I got one to help keep my allergies at bay when there’s excessive dust and pollen in the air.
But that’s not the only reason people buy these devices.
There are many reasons and benefits to using an air purifier at home.
In this section, I’ll explain what air purifiers are designed to do and why you may want one in your home.
Remove Indoor Pollutants
You can’t control how polluted our atmosphere is.
And as much as you’d want to do something about it so you can live and breathe healthier air, there is very little you can do to make a difference.
Many people have come to that realization, which is why the next thing they’ve done is at least make sure that they breathe in the cleanest possible air in the comfort of their homes.
They’ve done this by investing in an air purifier with a washable HEPA filter and an active carbon filter.
A quality air purifier can remove up to 99.97% of indoor solid pollutants as small as 0.3 microns, allowing you to breathe clean air constantly.
When you turn your air purifier on, it captures dust and pollen floating around the air.
This is why getting an air purifier with a HEPA filter is crucial.
And the reason you want to remove dust and pollen from the air is that these are things that can trigger an allergic reaction or asthma.
I develop allergies during spring because dust and pollen constantly enter my room from outside.
But with my air purifier, I get to eliminate this dust and pollen before it gets a chance to enter my lungs, which dramatically reduces my allergies.
This is also true if you have a pet allergy or have friends with pet allergies.
People start sneezing and feeling stuffy when a dog or cat is around because their fur can float around the air, which can end up in their lungs and respiratory system.
So, if you or anyone in the house has allergies, whether that’s to pets or dust, an air purifier could be what you need.
I can’t stress the importance of my air purifier in keeping my allergies at bay, and I highly recommend one for anyone struggling with allergies.
Remove Foul Odors
If you plan on getting an air purifier, I recommend getting one with a carbon filter.
This is because activated carbon filters can absorb gases and harmful odors from the air.
That way, your house always smells fresh and clean.
This could come in handy if someone decided to smoke a cigarette in the room.
With an activated carbon filter, the air purifier can absorb all that smoke and the smells that come with it.
That way, you don’t have to worry about a strong cigarette smell lingering around for the next few days.
This can also come in handy if you enjoy cooking.
Whenever I cook dinner, the scent from the spices and ingredients I use sticks to the kitchen for what seems like days.
But when you turn on the air purifier, this smell disappears in just a few minutes.
This could also be great for pet owners.
As much as we love our pets, there’s no denying that they come with a scent.
Whether that’s a litterbox scent or just that classic “dog smell,” air purifiers can remove the scent from the air.
Are There Air Purifiers that Clean the Atmosphere?
The regular air purifier you have at home won’t do much for the atmosphere.
It won’t be able to clean the air and remove the pollution outdoors as they are designed to cleanse the indoor air and nothing else.
However, that doesn’t mean that scientists aren’t trying.
One of the most significant contributors to climate change and pollution is CO2 which we release into the atmosphere every second of every day.
Usually, plants and forests can handle that level of CO2 and keep the planet a suitable place for us to live.
Still, we’re producing CO2 at such a rate that our forests can’t keep up.
On top of that, we remove forests and animal habitats to make way for other things.
So, scientists have been working on a way to capture the CO2 in our atmosphere. The technology is called Direct Air Capture or DAC.
This works by capturing large amounts of air and using advanced filtration techniques to remove carbon dioxide.
From there, the carbon dioxide is then stored and sequestered underground.
This isn’t exactly the same as your air purifier at home, but it’s built on a similar concept.
DAC isn’t a practical solution to pollution as it’s expensive and requires a lot of power.
But for now, this is the closest thing we have to an air purifier that can work to remove pollution from the atmosphere.
Do Air Purifiers Remove Pollution from the Atmosphere: Final Thoughts
Though air purifiers with HEPA filters are fantastic for indoor use, they can’t do much to help remove pollution in our atmosphere.
They’re just too small to be able to handle the unimaginable volume of air on our planet.
That said, China has made an effort to plan, design, and build the largest air purifier in the world.
Building millions of these models and placing them worldwide will cost a tremendous amount of money – not to mention the electricity and maintenance costs that need to be included.
The closest technology the human race has to be able to remove pollution from the atmosphere is Direct Air Capture or DAC technology.
But even that is very expensive to roll out.