Can Air Purifiers Improve Air Quality During Fire Season?
With the wildfires raging across California and other areas of the country, you might be one of the many people who are worried about the air quality inside their homes. Maybe you’ve looked into air purifiers and are wondering if they can help get rid of those dangerous smoke particles. Yes, they can, and this article will answer your questions about why keeping your indoor air clean is so important and what kind of purifier is best to improve your house’s air quality during this fire season.
Why Good Air Quality is Important
The quality of the air you breathe is incredibly important to your health and wellbeing, and right now, when so many of us are staying at home much more than usual, it’s more necessary than ever to be sure that the air inside your house is clean. You may be thinking that indoor air has to be safer than the air outside, especially when there are wildfires and lots of smoke, but according to the EPA, the air inside a building can be anywhere from 2 to 5 times more polluted than the air outdoors.
This can be because of contaminants like smoke, dust, and other particles coming in from the outside, but many things inside of the house can also lower the air quality, such as vapors from cleaning products, mold, or paint.
Which Air Purifiers to Look For
If you’re dealing with a lot of smoke due to wildfires, it’s important to make sure you’re getting the best quality air purifier possible. Look for air purifiers with HEPA filters, which are capable of removing 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles from the air, including smoke particles. These can be quite expensive, depending on the one you want, but they’re similar to what is often used in hospitals and other highly sterilized locations, so you can be sure they work well.
Be careful when shopping, though, as there are many products who will use terms such as “HEPA-like” and “HEPA-type” to trick consumers into thinking they’re the real deal. There is, unfortunately, no official certification for HEPA filters, but there are some signs you can watch for to help you be sure you’re buying a True HEPA filter. Look for specific stats and numbers, such as “99.97 percent of particles at 0.3 microns in size.” If a product’s marketing copy gives vague claims about its efficiency percentage, that’s probably not a True HEPA filter. Also look for labels that claim to be “True HEPA,” a name that many manufacturers have started to use to indicate that their product meets the official definition of a HEPA filter according to the US Department of Energy.
Finally, while HEPA filters are great for trapping particles and cleaning the air, they are not designed to take away odors. That’s why, if possible, you may want to purchase an air purifier that uses both a HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter. The HEPA layer will catch all the smoke particles in the air, while the activated carbon layer will absorb the odor and remove any contaminants the HEPA filter is unable to catch.