The Air Purifier Side Effects Revealed: Stay Aware!

There are so many benefits of air purifiers. Likewise, there are also some negative side effects of air purifiers.

This is no surprise really because many home appliances have their side effects. For instance, ultrasonic humidifiers produce white dust.

Humidifiers can also increase mold development. This indoor allergen has many side effects.

Dehumidifiers also have their side effects. For instance, they can make the air too dry, and this can cause the proliferation of many indoor allergens such as dust mites, dust, dander, and others.

Negative Side Effects of Air Purifiers

If you live in a place with contaminated air, you will need to invest in an air purifier. You can read our article to see what is an air purifier and how it works.

Generally, an air purifier draws the air inside, passes it through the filters where impurities such as smoke, dust, pet dander, fur, pollen, and dust mites are removed.

Air purifiers that use activated charcoal also remove nasty odors from your air. Once purified, the fans in the air purifier whip the clean air back into the room.

While they do a perfect job, there are some side effects of air purifiers. They are as follows:

HEPA air purifier side effects

HEPA (high-efficiency particulate absorbing) filters are the best for capturing particles. They have a success rate of more than 99%.

These filters are also able to capture some viruses. While their efficiency rate is not 100 percent, they might be the closest you will get.

But as good as they are, these filters have some downsides. So, the side effects of HEPA filters are also the downsides of the air purifier.

1. Need to be changed frequently

First, they require regular maintenance and even changing at times. If you live in a place that has very polluted air, such as the city of Bakersfield in California (Year Round Particle Pollution), you might have to change the HEPA filters even once a week.

Usually, it is recommended to change these filters every three weeks. The saving grace is that the small HEPA filters are not too costly.

If you live in a place that is not too polluted, you can clean the filters instead of replacing them. In fact, in light use conditions, HEPA filters might need replacing just once or twice a year.

Find out whether your air purifier comes with filters that you can clean.

2. HEPA filters are delicate

HEPA filters are very delicate. Thus, if you mishandle them, they can break easily or fail to do their job well.

Considering that these filters are already costly and you have to change them more often, it would help if they could be stronger.

You have to be careful when installing these filters in your air purifier.

3. HEPA air purifiers do not filter Viruses or VOCs

HEPA air purifiers may be very effective, but they still do not remove volatile organic compounds (VOC) and viruses from your indoor air. Thus, your air can never be 100 percent pure.

Image of HEPA filter
Medical-grade HEPA filter

So, what are volatile organic compounds? These compounds do not dissolve in water easily. They come from artificial chemicals such as cleaning compounds, paints, and other chemicals.

Since such chemicals surround us at home, if they are released into the air, the air purifier is not going to remove them.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, most people were asking: Do HEPA filters remove COVID? Well, some sources say that these filters can remove viruses and bacteria from your air. However, they cannot kill them.

Let’s just say that you should not rely on your air purifier to remove all the viruses from the air.

4. HEPA filters do not remove odors

These filters are not going to remove nasty odors from the air. If smell is one of the air pollutants that you have to deal with in your neighborhood, you might want to buy an air purifier that uses activated carbon for odor removal.

5. HEPA air purifiers make noise

Because the air purifier has to force the air to go through the filters, most people find HEPA air purifiers a bit loud.

Thus, if you get a big air purifier, it will make more noise. Some can even make a loud noise such that it would be hard for a baby to sleep in a room with an air purifier running.

6. Air purifiers need frequent care and maintenance

As we have aforementioned, even if the air purifier might capture some viruses and bacteria, it does not kill them. Thus, there is a chance that the same could find their way back into your indoor air.

To prevent this, you need to give your air purifier proper and frequent maintenance. You might find that these units need more care than humidifiers and dehumidifiers.

Of course, the more polluted your air is, the more frequently you will have to maintain it. This requires time, taking the unit apart and putting it back together.

You need to follow the maintenance manual for the purifier to clean it without damaging any part.

Not to worry though because when you consider the pros and cons of air purifiers, the pros outweigh the cons by far. Thus, these are good gadgets to buy.

The issue of ozone air purifiers

You have to think of ionizer air purifier side effects if you have such a unit at home. The truth about air purifiers is that the ionizer ones produce small quantities of ozone.

Image of ionizer air purifier side effects

Please note that the negative ionizer air purifiers release ozone into your air. The positive ionizer air purifiers do not release ozone.

In the lowest levels, ozone is not too bad. However, once it accumulates, it can cause serious negative effects such as throat irritation, chest pains, asthmatic attacks, respiratory complications, and many more.

What is the difference between a HEPA air purifier and an ionizer? Well, first, HEPA air purifiers suck in the air into themselves and force it through filters. The filters remove the pollutants and the air purifier fans whip the cleaner air back into the room.

On the other hand, ionizer air purifiers release ions into the air. They “bond” with pollutants and fall to the ground or other surfaces. Thus, you are supposed to complete the job by wiping all surfaces clean after using the ionizer air purifier.

One of the ionizer air purifier side effects is that after the pollutants fall to the ground and on different surfaces, they can relaunch into the air again if you don’t clean them out.

Activated carbon filter side effects

So far, we have looked at the traditional HEPA filter air purifiers. We have also seen the ionizer air purifier side effects. Now, we look at the third popular type of filter in air purifier – carbon-activated!

It is very effective for capturing smoke and smells. But alone in an air purifier, it might not achieve much. However, you could always get an air purifier with HEPA and carbon-activated filters.

Image of can air purifiers be harmful

The main side effect of carbon-activated filters is that cleaning them is so hard. You must wear gloves and a mask.

The activated carbon is bad for your health. Thus, you have to be very careful not to inhale it. That is why you must wear a mask and gloves.

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There are quite many negative side effects of air purifiers. But the pros are far more than the downsides. Thus, do not hesitate to buy one if you live in a place with polluted air.

Remember, an air purifier with carbon-activated filters can remove chemical smells, VOC, odors, and smoke from your air.

Even using the more traditional HEPA filter air purifiers is very good for cleansing your air. Overall, the air purifier side effects are minimal, and so you should buy one without hesitation.