Why Most Purifiers Don’t Work

Most air purifiers don’t work because they don’t capture enough pollution, they don’t deliver enough clean air, or they produce harmful pollution such as ozone.

Products To AvoidOzone Generators: These units do not remove air pollution of any kind. However, they do produce Ozone, a very harmful pollutant. Unfortunately, the pleasant scent of Ozone can trick unwary consumers into believing that the Ozone Generator is cleaning their air, when it is actually poisoning them.

Electronic Air Cleaners: Electronic filtration products rapidly become less efficient.  While they may meet comparable efficiencies when first installed their performance degrades quickly as the charged surface used to collect the pollutants becomes covered. Furthermore, these units produce small to moderate amounts of ozone.  In addition, these units do nothing to address air pollution problems caused by chemicals or gasses.

Ionic Air Cleaners: These units do not remove air pollution.  They are effectively one half of an Electronic Air Cleaner, where they charge the pollution particles and rely on surfaces around the living area for pollution collection.  Like Electronic Air Cleaners, Ionic Air Cleaners produce small to moderate amounts of ozone.

Ultra-Violet Light Units: These units rely on the sanitizing power of ultra-violet light to kill airborne bacteria and viruses.  Studies show that while exposure to ultra-violet light does kill bacteria and viruses, a typical HVAC system application does not give the light enough time to kill the bacteria and viruses.  Furthermore, these unites do not remove any air pollution, and the ultra-violet light can cause blindness if not installed properly.

One Room Air Cleaners: There is a wide variety of small capacity air purifiers.  They are typically sized to handle approximately 80 square feet.  (See video comparison of the Oreck ProShield)  These air purifiers are the air pollution equivalent of a placebo.  They accomplish nothing, but help the homeowner to feel that they are making an effort.  Most do not filter anything but the largest air pollution particles.  Further, when placed into a home with a forced air HVAC system the circulation of the air in the home easily overwhelms their capacity, and it is rarely cost effective to buy enough to cover all of the space in a home.  Also, these small units do nothing to address air pollution problems caused by chemicals or gasses.

Scented Candles & Aerosols: These products are designed to treat the symptom of odors in the home without addressing its cause.  They do not remove any air pollution, instead they mask the odor with a pleasant smelling chemical.  Introducing more potentially harmful chemicals into the air clouds the body’s warning systems.  Just because you can no longer differentiate the bad odors doesn’t mean that you are no longer breathing the harmful pollution that causes the odor.