Air Quality

How to Use an Air Purifier: A Clear and Confident Guide

If you want to improve the air quality in your home or office, an air purifier is a great investment. Use an air purifier to remove pollutants and allergens like dust, pet dander, pollen, and smoke. However, owning an air purifier isn’t enough to reap the benefits. You need to know how to use it properly to get the most out of it.

It is best to run an air purifier continuously for maximum benefit. Clean the filters as needed or monthly by washing the pre-filter and vacuuming the carbon and HEPA filters. Replace the carbon filter every 6 months and the HEPA filter every 12 months.

Choosing the right size air purifier for your space is important. A purifier that is too small won’t be effective, while one that is too large will waste energy and money. Look for a purifier with a CADR (clean air delivery rate) that matches the size of your room. For example, a room that is 300 square feet would require a purifier with a CADR of at least 200.

Knowing where to place it is important once you have the right size purifier. For maximum effectiveness, place the purifier in the room where you spend the most time. Avoid placing it near walls, curtains, or furniture that could block the airflow. Additionally, keep doors and windows closed while the purifier runs to prevent outside pollutants from entering the room.

How To Use An Air Purifier

Understanding Air Purifiers

Scientists wanted to see if air purifiers could help kids with asthma or allergies. They put air purifiers in the homes of some kids but not others and checked their health over 12 weeks. The kids with air purifiers had less asthma and allergy symptoms, and the air in their homes had fewer tiny dust particles. 1

Air purifiers can help improve the air quality inside your home or office. These machines remove pollutants, allergens, and other harmful particles, making breathing cleaner and safer.

Different types of air purifiers are available in the market, but most work on the same basic principle. They suck in the air from the room, pass it through a filter, and then release it back into the room. The filter captures the pollutants and allergens, leaving behind clean air.

Portable air purifiers are a popular choice for many people, as they are easy to move around and can be used in different rooms. They are also relatively affordable, making them accessible to a wide range of people.

When choosing an air purifier, it is important to consider the size of the room where you will be using it. The machine should be powerful enough to clean the air effectively in the room. It is also important to consider the type of filter used in the machine. HEPA filters are the most effective at removing small particles from the air, while activated carbon filters can remove odors and chemicals.

Air purifiers are not a cure-all for air pollution, and they cannot eliminate all pollutants from the air. However, they can help improve the air quality in your home or office. By understanding how these devices work and what to look for when choosing one, you can decide whether an air purifier is right for you.

Importance of Air Quality

Breathing clean air is essential for your health and well-being. Poor air quality can cause various health problems, including respiratory issues, allergies, and cancer. Therefore, it is important to monitor and improve air quality, both indoors and outdoors.

Indoor air quality is essential because most people spend most of their time inside. According to a study published in the Journal of Exposure Science & Environmental Epidemiology, indoor air pollution can be up to five times worse than outdoor air pollution. This is because indoor air is often trapped and circulated, allowing pollutants to build up over time.

Common indoor pollutants include dust, pet dander, mold, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). VOCs are chemicals found in cleaning products, furniture, and building materials. They can cause eye, nose, and throat irritation, headaches, and nausea.

Air purifiers can help improve indoor air quality by removing these pollutants from the air. They use filters to trap particles and chemicals, preventing them from circulating in the air. Some air purifiers use UV-C light or ionizers to kill bacteria and viruses.

In addition to improving indoor air quality, air purifiers can also help reduce the impact of outdoor air pollution. According to a study published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology, using an air purifier in your home can reduce exposure to outdoor pollutants by up to 50%.

In conclusion, air quality is important to your health and well-being. Indoor air pollution can be as harmful as outdoor air pollution, so monitoring and improving air quality in your home is important. Air purifiers can be an effective tool in achieving this goal, helping to remove pollutants from the air and improve your overall health.

Types of Pollutants and Allergens

When it comes to air pollution, many different types of pollutants and allergens can be present in the air. The most common contaminants include smoke, dust, mold, pet dander, and VOCs. These pollutants can cause various symptoms, including allergies, asthma, and other lung conditions.

Pollen is another common allergen that can cause sneezing, runny nose, and itchy eyes. Wildfires can also release fine particles and soot into the air, harming your health. Mold spores are another common allergen that can cause coughing, wheezing, and shortness of breath.

In addition to allergens, many viruses and bacteria can be present in the air. COVID-19 is one of the most well-known examples of a virus that can be transmitted through the air. Other airborne pathogens can cause illnesses like the flu, common cold, and pneumonia.

Toxins such as lead, formaldehyde, and pesticides can also be in the air. These toxins can cause a variety of health problems, including cancer and other serious illnesses. Carbon monoxide is another dangerous pollutant that can be present in the air, and it can be particularly harmful to people with asthma or other lung conditions.

Many different types of pollutants and allergens can be present in the air. Using an air purifier can help to remove these harmful particles and improve the air quality in your home or office.

How Air Purifiers Work

Air purifiers are devices that remove pollutants and contaminants from the air. They work by drawing in air from the surrounding environment and passing it through filters that trap harmful particles. 2

The HEPA filter is the most common filter used in air purifiers. HEPA stands for “High-Efficiency Particulate Air,” these filters are designed to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. This includes common allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander and larger particles like mold spores and bacteria.

In addition to HEPA filters, many air purifiers use activated carbon filters. These filters are designed to adsorb gases and odors, including cigarette smoke, cooking smells, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Air purifiers pull air into the unit through a fan, passing it through the filters. The clean air is then released back into the room. Some air purifiers also feature UV-C lights designed to kill bacteria and viruses.

It’s important to note that air purifiers are not a substitute for proper ventilation. While they can help remove harmful particles from the air, they do not replace the need for fresh air circulation. If you use an air purifier in a room with poor ventilation, it’s important to open a window or use a ventilation fan to ensure fresh air is circulating.

Choosing the Right Air Purifier

When selecting an air purifier, there are a few key factors to consider. Here are some things to keep in mind:

Room Size

The room size where you plan to use the air purifier is important. You want to choose a purifier that is powerful enough to handle the square footage of your space. Look for information on the packaging or product specifications about the recommended room size for the purifier.


Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) measures how quickly an air purifier can filter the air in a room. The higher the CADR rating, the more effectively the purifier removes air pollutants. Look for a purifier with a CADR rating that matches the size of your room.


Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) is a rating system that measures the effectiveness of air filters. Higher MERV ratings indicate that a filter can capture smaller particles and more pollutants. Look for a purifier with a high MERV rating to ensure that it effectively removes contaminants from the air.


There are many brands of air purifiers on the market, but not all of them are created equal. The most popular brands include AirDoctor, Blueair, and Alen Breathsmart. Do your research to determine which brands are known for producing high-quality air purifiers.

By considering these factors, you can choose an air purifier that is right for your needs and will effectively remove pollutants from the air in your home.

Proper Use and Maintenance

You must use and maintain it properly to ensure your air purifier works at its best. Here are some tips to help you:


Place your air purifier in a central location in the room, away from walls or furniture, to allow air to circulate freely. Avoid placing it in a corner or behind large objects, as this can impede airflow.

Windows Closed

Keep windows and doors closed while using your air purifier to prevent outdoor pollutants from entering the room. This will also help the air purifier to work more efficiently.


Place your air purifier on a flat surface to prevent it from tipping over. Also, ensure the surface is clean and free of dust and debris.

Filter Replacement

Check the filter in your air purifier regularly and replace it as needed. Depending on usage, most filters must be replaced every 6-12 months. Some air purifiers have a filter replacement indicator that will alert you when it’s time to change the filter.


If your air purifier has a polypropylene filter, clean it regularly. You can clean it by gently vacuuming or washing it with soap and water. Allow the filter to dry completely before returning it to the air purifier.

Fresh Air

It’s important to let fresh air into the room occasionally, even using an air purifier. This will help prevent indoor pollutants buildup and keep the air fresh and healthy.

By following these tips, you can ensure that your air purifier works at its best and provides clean, healthy air.

Potential Health Benefits and Risks

Air purifiers have gained popularity recently due to their potential health benefits. By removing pollutants and allergens from the air, air purifiers can help reduce symptoms associated with asthma and allergies. Air purifiers can also help reduce the risk of respiratory infections by removing bacteria and viruses from the air.

One of the potential health risks associated with air purifiers is ozone production. Ozone is a lung irritant and can worsen asthma symptoms. It is important to choose an air purifier that does not produce ozone. Look for air purifiers certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB) or the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

Air purifiers can also help reduce the risk of transmission of COVID-19. While air purifiers cannot eliminate the risk of transmission, they can help reduce the number of virus particles in the air. It is important to note that air purifiers should not be used as a substitute for other preventative measures, such as wearing masks and social distancing.

If you live in a humid climate, you may also want to consider using a dehumidifier with your air purifier. High humidity levels can promote the growth of mold and bacteria, which can worsen asthma symptoms and cause respiratory infections.

If you live in a dry climate, you may want to consider using a humidifier in conjunction with your air purifier. Low humidity levels can cause dry skin, nosebleeds, and respiratory irritation.

It is also important to note that while air purifiers can help reduce the risk of specific health issues, they cannot eliminate the risk of developing cancer. Air purifiers can help reduce exposure to specific carcinogens, such as tobacco smoke.

Air purifiers are ineffective at mitigating dangerous radon gas levels in your home.

Investing in an Air Purifier

If you are considering investing in an air purifier, it is important to understand the benefits and limitations of these devices. An air purifier can help remove pollutants and allergens from the air in your home, improving the overall air quality and reducing the risk of respiratory problems.

However, it is important to note that an air purifier is not a substitute for good household air hygiene practices, such as regular cleaning, proper ventilation, and using natural air cleaners like plants.

When shopping for an air purifier, consider the size of the room it will be used in, the type of filter it uses, and the noise level it produces. Look for models certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), ensuring that the device meets certain standards for performance and safety.

Investing in an air purifier can be a significant expense, so it is important to consider the long-term benefits and potential savings.

For example, an air purifier can help reduce the need for expensive medications and treatments for respiratory problems and prolong the lifespan of furniture and household appliances by reducing the buildup of dust and other pollutants.

To ensure the optimum performance of your air purifier, it is essential to follow the manufacturer’s instructions for maintenance and filter replacement. Regular cleaning and filter replacement can help ensure the device functions effectively and efficiently.

Investing in an air purifier can be a beneficial addition to your household. Still, it is important to do your research and consider all factors before making a purchase. By choosing a high-quality device, following proper maintenance and filter replacement procedures, and practicing good household air hygiene, you can enjoy improved air quality and better respiratory health for years to come.


What is the proper way to use an air purifier?

To properly use an air purifier, place it in a room where you spend the most time or where air quality is a concern. Ensure it’s away from obstructions like furniture or curtains for optimal airflow, and regularly clean or replace filters according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Is it good to use an air purifier?

An air purifier can be beneficial, especially for individuals with allergies, asthma, or respiratory issues. It helps remove pollutants, allergens, and irritants from the air, improving overall air quality in your indoor environment.

Are you supposed to leave your air purifier on all the time?

Leaving your air purifier on continuously is generally safe and more effective, as air purification is continuous. Running it continuously ensures consistent air quality, especially in areas with high pollution or allergen levels.

Is it OK to sleep with an air purifier on?

Yes, it’s okay to sleep with an air purifier on. It can enhance sleep quality by reducing allergens and noise levels, as many air purifiers generate a white noise effect conducive to sleep.

  1. Park HK, Cheng KC, Tetteh AO, Hildemann LM, Nadeau KC. Effectiveness of air purifier on health outcomes and indoor particles in homes of children with allergic diseases in Fresno, California: a pilot study. Journal of Asthma. 2017 Apr 21;54(4):341-6.
  2. Environmental Protection Agency: Air Cleaners and Air Filters in the Home.

Hubert Miles | Licensed Home Inspector, CMI, CPI

Hubert Miles is a licensed home inspector (RBI# 2556) with more than two decades of experience in inspection and construction. Since 2008, he has been serving South Carolina through his company, Patriot Home Inspections LLC. As a Certified Master Inspector, Hubert is dedicated to providing his expertise in home inspections, repairs, maintenance, and DIY projects.