What Does an Air Purifier Do?

  • By: WPEagle
  • Date: February 18, 2022
  • Time to read: 7 min.
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Air purifiers have been around for a very long time, but there are still a lot of people who don’t know what they are or why they’re so important. If this includes you, you’re in the right place. Since the EPA has determined that indoor air can be up to five times worse than the air outdoors, people are buying air purifiers like never before.

What does an air purifier do? – Air purifiers attract and grab hold of the pollutants but also get rid of them using filters so you don’t have to worry about your family being exposed all day long to dirty, unhealthy air. Air purifiers are an essential part of anyone’s home.

What Do Air Purifiers Do?

In a nutshell, air purifiers clean the air. To do this, they use both filters and advanced technology to remove airborne pollutants such as bacteria, allergens, toxins, dust, and various odors, to name a few. This not only makes the air smell better; it makes it healthier to breathe as well.

As a result, people who have allergies, asthma, or other upper-respiratory issues will find that they’re now living in much healthier homes and ones that make it much easier to breathe. They won’t get sick nearly as often, and it’s likely that they’ll be able to throw out some of their over-the-counter medications as well.

This being said, each air purifier works a little differently, and this will depend on what type of filtering technology they use.

  • With some air purifiers, a fan and a set of filters are used to trap the pollutants as the air flows through the unit.
  • On the other hand, some air purifiers neutralize the particles in the air without filtering them at all.
  • Some even use technology that will destroy all of the pathogens and microbes right at the core, making them much less harmful to your health.

Once you learn exactly how all of the air purifiers work, it’s much easier to decide which one is right for you.

When you decide to start using an air purifier in your home or office, breathing problems will be eased or eliminated altogether, you’ll find that you don’t get sick as often as you used to, and your overall feeling of health will greatly improve.

You’ll also likely sleep much better every night, and this alone makes getting an air purifier worth it for most people. If you have sinus problems or any type of nasal problems, they can be eliminated as well, mostly because the pollutants in the air will be eliminated and you’ll be able to breathe much better 24/7.

More and more, businesses are also using air purifiers in their lobby, conference room, and individual offices. If you have customers or clients coming in and out all day, a good air purifier will help them feel better while they’re inside of your building.

Today’s air purifiers are also super easy to operate and can include features that can be controlled via your smartphone and the ability to adjust their power according to how many pollutants are in the air at the time.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

what an iar purifier does

We mentioned earlier that air purifiers work in many different ways. Below are the four main types of air purifiers and a little bit about them.

  • HEPA filters, which collect solid particles in an air filter
  • Ionizer, which neutralizes the particles in the air with an electrical charge
  • Activated carbon filters, which trap odor molecules in a filter
  • UV light, which breaks the pollutants apart so they are no longer there

Let’s take a closer look at each of these air filter types in more detail.

HEPA Filter Air Purifiers

If you’re going to buy an air purifier with a HEPA filter, make sure that it’s a true HEPA filter and not one that is “HEPA-like.”

True HEPA filters capture up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns in size, which is roughly 1/200 of a strand of hair. So basically, nothing will get past a true HEPA filter.

HEPA filters are dense and trap the particles inside so that they aren’t able to float back into the air. And they stay in the filter until you throw it away to replace it.

True HEPA filters are considered by most experts to be the very best filters to use when it comes to air purifiers and other devices.

Ionizer Air Purifiers

These air purifiers are very affordable because there are never any filters to replace.

Instead, the device sends negatively charged ions into the air, which attach themselves to positively charged ions, which is what airborne pollutants are. Afterward, the pollutants essentially become heavy and they fall onto the floor.

This neutralization process also involves drawing the neutralized particles into the purifier, which then falls onto a metal plate or rod. The plate or rod has to be cleaned occasionally because this is what removes the neutralized particles that were previously in the air.

Activated Carbon Filter Air Purifiers

With some air purifiers, you get both a HEPA filter and activated carbon (charcoal) filter. Carbon filters trap all of the molecules that produce odors inside of your home or office.

Activated carbon filters are also great for removing any type of gaseous pollutant and certain chemicals, such as volatile organic compounds, or VOCs. VOCs include formaldehyde, which is often found in newer homes or homes that were recently renovated.

As opposed to HEPA filters, which only capture solid particles, activated carbon filters also adsorb chemical vapors, so when they are used together, it makes for a very efficient purifier.

UV Light Air Purifiers

Air purifiers with UV lights use a small non-lethal form of radiation that is emitted through a light located inside of the device.

The light then attacks viruses and bacteria as they pass through the unit. What the UV light does is break apart the molecular structure of pathogens and microbes so that they essentially disappear, which means you don’t have to worry about them any longer.

Many people love this type of air purifier because it is simple and uses advanced technology to work. That being said, keep in mind that you’ll likely still have to replace filters because UV light doesn’t eliminate all of the pollutants in the air. This is why most UV air purifiers use both forced air and filters to work efficiently.

What Type of Pollutants Are Removed by an Air Purifier?

Now that you know what an air purifier does and how it does it, let’s take a look at some of the pollutants that can be eliminated by a good air purifier, regardless of the one you choose. While air purifiers do not eliminate contaminants from surfaces such as tables, floors, and furniture, they do eliminate pollutants in the air.

Below are some of those pollutants:

  • Allergens that include pollen and dust mite waste
  • Bacteria and viruses that cause illnesses, infections, and diseases
  • Dust, which is made up of things such as clothing fibers, skin cells, hair, pollen, and soil particles, among others
  • Mold spores that are harmful to anyone with upper-respiratory issues
  • Odors, which are usually caused by smoke, garbage, and cooking, to name a few
  • Pet dander, which is made up of tiny flecks of skin that come from animals
  • Smoke that usually contains fumes and chemicals of different kinds
  • Volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which have a high vapor pressure at room temperature

All of these contaminants are extremely harmful to people with allergies and asthma, but even people with no known upper-respiratory problems will also find themselves breathing much better with a good quality air purifier in the home. And considering what these air purifiers can do for your overall health, they are very reasonably priced.

Things to Know About Your Air Purifier

indoor air

If you’re going to have an air filter in your home, it’s best to run it 24/7. In fact, this is what most manufacturers will recommend because if you stop running it for a while, the pollutants fill the air again and have no way to get eliminated. Before you choose a purifier, look for the ACH rating, which stands for air changes per hour. This will tell you how many times the air is cleaned by the purifier in a one-hour period.

So if you find a device with an ACH rating of 4, this means that the air is filtered four times per hour or every 15 minutes. You’ll want an ACH rating that is as high as possible in order for the device to be efficient.


An air purifier’s main job is to clean the air of various contaminants and pollutants, which most of them do using a high-quality filter of some type. You can easily find a good-quality air purifier at around $100 or less, so you won’t have to worry about spending too much money just to clean the air in your home or office.

You might also like Air Purifier Benefits – 10 Reasons you need an Air Purifier in your life!

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