Let’s consider pet allergies and asthma long term problems that need long term solutions. One of the best long term solutions is an air purifier to reduce allergens in your home.
Quick summary of this article
Your air purifier should have a washable HEPA filter and be sized appropriately for the room you plan to use it in. If the air purifier does have an ionizer make sure you can turn it off. The air purifiers recommended in this article fit all of these criteria.
A few important things
Make sure the filter is a HEPA filter – There are newer ultra-super-mega-filters on the market today. A basic HEPA filter captures allergens from the air and does so in a cost effective way. Other filter types capture the same allergens but are more expensive. HEPA filters will remove pet dander, pet hair and other things like pollen and dust mites from the air in your home.
Look for a washable filter – Some HEPA filters are washable in a literal soap and water sense. Others are only able to be vacuumed. Either option is fine. Since we already defined pet allergies and asthma as long term problems, we need to think about filters on an extended timeframe too. Being able to clean your air filter instead of needing to buy replacements will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Check the CADR – This is an easy way to compare air filters across brands. The CADR, or ‘clean air delivery rate’ is an objective measure of how much air the air purifier can process in an hour. You can always use a smaller air purifier, just understand that it will take longer for it to show the results you are expecting.
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Air Purifier Red Flags
A big thing to avoid when shopping for an air purifier is any mention of ionizers. Some air purifiers have ionizers that are supposed to help clean the air even more. What they actually do is produce ozone particles, which are harmful to human lungs. An ionizer has the potential to increase allergy and asthma symptoms.
Ozone is normally found in the upper layers of Earth’s atmosphere. We should keep it up there and not in the living room. If you do find an air purifier that you absolutely love that has an ionizer in it, check to see if it is possible to turn it off. The option to turn off the ionizer is becoming increasingly popular in the air purifier market these days.
It is important to note that while products may have an EPA number on them, the EPA does not endorse or recommend the use of ionizers. For an in depth article, check out their statement here.
The last thing to avoid when shopping for a new air purifier is the marketing hype surrounding dust mites. HEPA filters do capture dust mites and remove them from the air in your home. However, air purifiers have not been shown to reduce dust mite levels low enough to prevent dust mite allergy symptoms in all people. Many times dust mite allergies can be triggered by very low levels of dust mite exposure. Check out this article here for more info on dust mites.
Other air filters for pet allergies and asthma
It may also be worth your time to invest in a furnace filter specifically designed to reduce allergens in your home. Most of the time a HEPA filter does exactly what you need at the right price. Just like with air purifiers, there are washable furnace filters on the market today. Feel free to check out this in depth article on allergen reducing furnace filters here.