Air Purifiers for Asthma Sufferers

There is no guarantee that air purifiers for asthma will provide major relief from the symptoms of the disease. Doctors are not unanimous in their recommendation for air treatment for asthma sufferers.

This is mainly due to a reluctance to recommend a product where the results obtained can vary widely due to the quality and type of the air cleaner used.

A room air cleaner only cleans air in the room where the unit is located. If you suffer from allergies or asthma you may reduce your symptoms and provide a better night's sleep by installing a high quality air purifier for asthma in your bedroom.

That will not protect you when you leave your bedroom in the morning and go to the kitchen for breakfast. Though the bedroom is a logical place to start (because you spend eight hours in that room each day), most manufacturers of air purifiers for asthma recommend installing an air cleaning unit in each room of your home.

Air Filters

The high efficiency HEPA air filter was developed originally during World War II and was designed to prevent radioactive particles from escaping from test laboratories. This filter is a true HEPA filter only if it captures no less than 90% of particulates 0.3 microns or larger.

One problem with HEPA filters is the need for a powerful fan to move the room air through the filtration system. This was a problem for air purifiers for years and many homeowners would turn off their air purifier when the sound interfered with television, music or conversation in a room. An air purifier only works when it is plugged in and turned on so this was a problem with original air treatment units.

Newer models have address the problem by providing multiple fan speeds and adding sound insulation to air purification units. Manufacturers also now provide better instructions on placement of air cleaning units to provide maximum air cleaning effectiveness.

An air purifier for asthma that blows air directly on carpeting, drapes or upholstered furniture can raise the dust level in the air of a room by disturbing particles that have attached themselves to the fabrics.

Ultra Hepa

The latest advertised filter is the "ultra HEPA" but that term is more marketing ploy than health benefit. The ultra HEPA filters advertised by some air cleaner manufacturers are comparable in CADR (clean air delivery rate) to standard true HEPA filters that are less costly and easier to locate when replacement is needed.

An electronic air filter uses electrical charged plates to attract and hold allergens. When these plates are used they capture the particles within the system. When an electronic air filter is used without plates it can release negative ions in the air that cause particulates to adhere to walls and other hard surfaces in the room.

A side effect of an electronic air filter can be the production of ozone in the room. This is not a good method for air purifiers for asthma as ozone can be an irritant. Ozone can lead to nasal congestion for allergy sufferers and cause bronchial spasms for those with asthma.

Activated carbon in gas phase air filters will remove odors and VOCs (volatile organic compounds) from the air in your room. VOCs can be released by paint, building materials, carpeting and upholstery fabric treatments and even by personal products such as hair sprays and perfumes.

A carbon filter in air purifiers for asthma is placed in front of the HEPA filter. It is a thin black filter that must be frequently replaced. Monthly replacement of an activated carbon filter is recommended due to lost efficiency as they absorb fumes and gases. This can be a bothersome task but is not expensive as the filters are readily available and can be obtained at low cost.

One advantage of an added carbon filter is that it can help extend the life of the more expensive HEPA filter on the air purifier. The larger particles that are captured by the carbon filter or pre-filter allow the HEPA filter to remove smaller particles which it was designed to do.

UV Lights

Ultraviolet lights are used to provide germicidal air cleaning capacity. The UV lights can kill bacteria, viruses and mold that pass through the light and are often included in air purifiers for asthma sufferers.

UV light has been recommended for many years as a way to reduce tuberculoses infection in hospital environments. There is no data to show the addition of germicidal air cleaning of home air provides health benefits to those with asthma but use of the UV lights as a standard in hospitals would seem to indicate health benefits from this type of filter.

One major advertising focus for standard room air purifiers is the addition of ozone generators. An ozone generating air purifier adds ozone to the room's air. High levels of ozone are often used by professionals to eliminate the odors left by a fire in a home.

Ozone at high levels of concentration can be dangerous to health and in the professional air cleaning industry workers are protected by hazard suits and breathing masks when high levels of ozone are present.

In the home air purifier industry, the level of ozone produced by air cleaners is much lower and has been presumed to be safe. Some health experts question the presumption as there is currently no testing of air cleaners to determine the exact levels of ozone produced. Ozone generators should be strictly avoided by those with asthma.

Air Purifier vs Air Purification System

However, there are whole house systems available that can be built into a home during construction or can be added to an existing property. The most common model, however, is a single room unit.

If you find room air purifiers for asthma do provide improved health, the next step might be to install a whole house system. These systems include filters that are installed in various air intake and release vents throughout the home and provide a whole house clean air environment.

There are some disadvantages as the air purifying systems needs to be running 24/7 to maintain clean air throughout the home and the cost of purchase and installation can be quite high.

Summary

Air cleaners for asthma have been improved and refined with recent developments in filters and technology. Improved filters required less frequent replacement, are widely available and are competitively priced.

Understanding the types of filters that best remove allergens from the air is critical to buying air purifiers for asthma sufferers who need the cleanest possible air in their homes.

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