Purifiers and humidifiers can freshen the air at home but may not benefit everyone who goes with the flow.
Mar 16, 2020 3:45 am
Air purifiers can lower levels of airborne allergens, gases, odours and household fumes such as VOCs, while humidifiers can improve cold and cough symptoms by combating dry winter air – but do they keep you in better health?
“They work by drawing air in through one or more filters to capture airborne particles and then blowing clean air back out.” The most effective purifiers have HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters and are labelled E12, H13 or H14, says Taylor.
For an air purifier that reduces both airborne allergens and gases such as VOCs (potentially harmful volatile organic compounds released by paints, adhesives, air fresheners and new furnishing materials), Sensitive Choice recommends air purifiers with both an HEPA filter and an activated carbon filter, she adds.
If you do want an air purifier (about $200-$1800), consider where to put it and whether one is enough. “An air purifier should be wherever you spend most of your time. In a unit, one large purifier will be enough, but in a two-storey house you might need one upstairs and one downstairs,” says Taylor.
Dyson’s recently released Dyson Pure Cool Me personal purifying fan is perfect for targeted use. This compact machine is a perfect fit for your personal space – whether beside your bed, on your desk, or in a nursery.
Sometimes indoor air is too dry, a problem for people with respiratory problems. Humidifiers ($200-$1000) produce water vapour or steam to help combat dry air, but can also increase the risk of picking up airborne viruses such as those causing flu, according to the National Asthma Council Australia (NAC).
Too much humidity can encourage mould and dust mites – bad for those with asthma or allergies – so your humidifier should also have a mechanism that sterilises the mist.
How humid should indoor air be?
Ideally, between 30 and 60 per cent, says Adele Taylor. “Signs that it’s too humid can include condensation on windows and walls, while cracks in the paintwork and static electricity could mean it’s too dry. You can measure indoor humidity levels with a machine called a hygrometer, which is often incorporated in thermometers and clocks,” says Taylor.