How Effective Are Air Purifiers?

There is no doubt that the technologies used in high-quality air purification equipment today are effective:

In addition, many well-known organizations use Austin Air, IQAir, AllerAir, Epurair and Blueair air purifiers to address their mission-critical air quality issues:

ORGANIZATIONS THAT RELY ON AUSTIN AIR, IQAIR, ALLERAIR, BLUEAIR OR EPURAIR AIR PURIFIERS

Hospitals, Labs and Universities Government Businesses
Mayo Clinic US Army IBM
UCLA Medical Center US Navy Boeing
Duke University Medical Center US Homeland Security Bombardier
Hong Kong Hospital Authority National Aeronautics and Space Administration Lockheed Martin
Los Alamos National Laboratory The Pentagon Verizon
John Hopkins University The Smithsonian Institution Fairmont Hotels
Cal Tech Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) Four Seasons Hotels
The American Red Cross Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) Westin Hotels
Dalhousie University Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety Waste Management of Canada
Halifax Regional School Board Bank of Canada The Salvation Army

But perhaps the best indication that air purifiers can be effective in helping to remove allergens, toxins and odours from the air are testimonials from people who have purchased them:

Product Testimonials

“I am extremely pleased with my IQAir HealthPro Plus air purifier as I've a noticed a huge improvement in my allergies (sneezing and sinus congestion) and have gone months without having to take any medication for them. When I enter my apartment, the freshness of the air is immediately obvious.”   B. Mullins, Montreal, QC


“We bought a Blueair 603 air purifier from you last summer because my wife has asthma and is also allergic to numerous airborne substances. She really noticed a difference after the first day we had the air purifier in our home. The Blueair 603 isn’t cheap, but it is built very well and it is the first air cleaning unit that really works for my wife, so it has been an excellent investment.”   G Friedel, Edmonton, AB


“I purchased an Austin Air HealthMate HM-400 when my asthma, exacerbated by an ozone-emitting electrostatic air purifier in my bedroom, became difficult to control. I experienced instantaneous improvement in my asthma symptoms, and as an unsuspected bonus, am no longer waking up with a stuffy nose! As gifts for our loved ones, we purchased 3 more Austin Air HealthMate units. My mother, who has Pulmonary Fibrosis, now sleeps more comfortably in her home, and the stale smell in our adult son's bedroom is a thing of the past. My only regret is that I didn't research proper air purifier technology sooner.”   D. Brown, Ste-Anne-de-Bellevue, QC


“I just wanted to let you know that the AllerAir AirMedic+ MCS D air purifier that I purchased from you a few weeks ago was a success! I've not slept this well at night in a long time. I've had the AllerAir running non-stop since I bought it, and it has really made all the difference. Thank you so much for recommending this unit to me, it’s incredible how much it has helped.”   M. Savoy, Montreal, QC


“We had some staining done while we were away and when we returned, the fellow who did the staining – an individual with 30+ years of experience – wanted to know about our IQAir MultiGas GC. He was shocked from one day to the next how much the smell had diminished.”   T. Daw, Peterborough, ON


“So far my Blueair 403 HEPASilent air purifier is working really well. I am almost off all allergy medication for my 2 kittens, and hopefully with some diligent cleaning, I can soon be completely medication free! It’s made a huge difference, and as promised, it is very quiet.”   K. Pettit, London, ON


“The Austin Air Pet Machine is the best air purifier I have used in my bird room, which contains 60 birds. Both my wife and I are allergic to bird dander, but we don’t want to give up the hobby we love so much. Thanks to the Austin Air Pet Machine, we don’t have to! There is no longer any dust in the room. Also, when our birds are breeding there are usually more odours from the nest boxes, but with the Austin Air Pet Machine running, you smell nothing but clean air.”   Steve Elich Aviaries (breeder of Cockatiels, Love Birds and Parrotlets), Brampton, ON


“The three AllerAir Pro 5 Ultra Vocarb UV air purifiers that we purchased from you are working beyond expectations, so we would like to order two more of the same. Our folks here are happy with how effective this unit is, as it really cuts down on the offensive chlorine smell from the wipes they are using.”   Major Ontario Hospital


“There’s no doubt that the IQAir HealthPro Plus is working hard in this open [office] space, as we all notice a huge difference in air quality whenever we have to go to another floor. We have the cleanest air in the entire building!”   M. Brunet, Ottawa, ON


“I absolutely love my two Blueair 203 HEPASilent air purifiers. I have had so many different kinds of air cleaners over the years, and in the end, they were all garbage. The Blueair machines are so quiet, I don't even know they're running. I have a new puppy and my allergies need to be kept in control; I know my allergist would be impressed. Thank you from one happy customer.”   H. Stepien, Toronto, ON


“The two AllerAir AirMedic+ Vocarb units that I purchased from you are working wonderfully. I’ve found that they have made a huge difference in my home and to my general well-being, especially the one in the basement where I work. What a difference. It has been the first winter in years that I haven't been sick from working there all day!”   J. Bauer, Montreal, QC


“This summer, when I moved into a recently-renovated house with my roommate and her two cats, I had no idea how badly I would react to the cats, the renovation, and the dust from all the boxes. I started wheezing like I hadn’t done in nearly a decade. I was miserable, and I finally took to wearing a dust mask at all times while in the house. We invested in two air purifiers (the Austin Air HealthMate and the Austin Air HealthMate Plus Jr. It’s now two months later, and I have been dust-mask free the whole time, and I don’t even feel stuffy-nosed most of the time. I feel a great deal healthier and much happier, and I would recommend Modern Alchemy and their line of purifiers to anyone who’s in a similar situation.”   E. Dowden, Ottawa, ON


See more air purifier testimonials

Over 70% of customers who purchase an air purifier from us later buy a second unit because they discover “It actually works.”


Whole-House Systems vs. Room Air Purifiers

Whole-house air purifiers are great choices for general air cleaning, and are perfect for homes with many smaller rooms, large open spaces or cathedral ceilings. Whole-house systems are also ideal for people who do not have the space for portable air purifiers in their individual rooms, for those who are sensitive to the noise generated by some room air purifiers, and for those who prefer their air cleaning system to be out-of-sight.

Whole-House air purifiers

While excellent for general air cleaning purposes, Modern Alchemy Air Purifiers does not recommend the use of whole-house air purifiers on a stand-alone basis for people with allergies, asthma, chemical sensitivities or other health concerns. This is because whole-house air purification units rely on your HVAC system to draw the contaminated air from the house and deliver it to the air purifier, and these systems do not set up a strong enough current to pull large volumes of air from every corner of the house. As a result, the air purifier is unable to clean the air in the entire house to the degree required by those with medical conditions. Portable air purifiers are much more effective in these cases because they are capable of performing up to eight complete air exchanges per hour within a room (as opposed to the ½ or one air exchange per hour provided by even the best whole-house system).

The effectiveness of room air purifiers is confirmed by two highly respected sources. In a review of residential air cleaning devices, the American Lung Association concludes that a highly efficient room unit is more effective at removing pollutants in the room where it is located than a central filtration system. Consumer Reports also recommends a portable air purifier for cleaning the air in a room or several rooms, over a central system.

Modern Alchemy Air Purifiers has found that operating a whole-house air purification system in conjunction with room air purifiers is the ideal solution for many of our customers. By addressing specific air quality issues first with appropriate portable air purifiers in heavily-used rooms (e.g., bedrooms, living room), the rest of your home can then be easily maintained by the whole-house system. It’s also important to remember to clean your air ducts regularly to maintain the healthiest indoor air environment possible.

See our Whole-House Air Purifiers      See our Portable Room Air Purifiers




Despite their proven effectiveness, air purifiers are sometimes dismissed as novelty items or “gadgets” that are not very good at cleaning the air. Although this can be true of cheaper units, this is a misperception that can unfortunately dissuade people from purchasing an air purifier and experiencing the benefits.

This misperception is perpetuated through several sources:

Consumer Magazines: The good, the bad, and sometimes… the inaccurate!

There have been many reviews and tests conducted on air purifiers by consumer magazines and websites over the last few years, resulting in a torrent of conflicting evidence as to the effectiveness of indoor air purification products in general. As a result, the average consumer has become confused as to whether or not to invest in an air purifier.

While reviews are a good place to start your research, they may only test one aspect of air cleaning (e.g., particle filtration), while totally ignoring other important factors that might pertain to an individual’s specific needs (e.g., chemical and odour control). One review we looked at was so concerned about the performance, cost and aesthetics of the unit, that they totally missed the fact that the unit they “highly recommended” was one of the biggest producers of harmful ozone on the market!

More importantly perhaps, consumer buying guides often test substandard units in the $100-$200 price range, or poor quality electrostatic and negative ion air cleaners (rather than more effective HEPA / activated carbon units), thereby generating less than impressive test results and further contributing to the misperception that air purifiers are not effective.

More about substandard products and the Modern Alchemy Difference

The Manufacturers: The truth, the whole truth and…nothing but the truth?

Sometimes individual manufacturers are to blame by exaggerating performance claims, providing incomplete or misleading technical information, or by producing a poor quality product. Some manufacturers will over-state the maximum room size the air purifier can clean, leading consumers to purchase an under-powered unit or one that will never be operated on the necessary fan speed setting because it is too noisy. In some cases, manufacturers will state the air flow rates for their units with no filters installed!

Worse yet, some manufacturers make air purifiers that can actually do more harm to your health than good by producing ozone or emitting other toxic gases.

The Retailer: “Yes, I think that this thing should be able to do something like that!”

Many problems associated with the effectiveness of air purifiers are generated by the retail businesses that sell the units because store personnel know little, or in some cases, nothing about the products they are selling. How could they possibly recommend a suitable unit with no knowledge of what the air purifier is designed to do in the first place? Or more importantly, the things that the unit is not capable of doing!

This lack of knowledge, coupled with the fact that many stores carry only one brand or type of air purifier, can result in a mismatch between a customer’s needs and the air purifier that is sold to them, fostering perceptions that air purifiers don’t work all that well.

The Customer: “I need to change the filters? This thing has filters?”

Sometimes it’s the actual customer who is responsible for the poor performance and bad word of mouth associated with air purifiers. If a consumer purchases a small table-top unit and expects it to clean the entire room efficiently, they will most certainly be disappointed. Also, by not following the manufacturer’s suggested filter replacement schedule, the performance of the air purifier will be severely impaired.

Most importantly though, by running an air purifier only occasionally (e.g., when they remember to turn it on), they are not receiving the full benefits that the air purifier can provide. If the unit is turned off at night, you can’t expect to wake up feeling refreshed and less congested in the morning!

Air cleaning is not an ‘event’ like dusting or vacuuming. You cannot simply run the unit for a couple of hours and say “the room is clean.” An air purifier should be left on continuously to achieve the optimum benefits.

Air purifiers are as individual as the people who use them, with each unit having distinct advantages and disadvantages. In addition, units can use a multitude of technologies (e.g., HEPA filtration, activated carbon, ultraviolet light, electrostatic, negative ion), sometimes in combination with each other. With such a wide range of choices, it’s no wonder that consumers are confused about what type/model/brand of air purifier is most effective for their needs. This is where Modern Alchemy Air Purifiers can help.

Matching practical solutions to your concerns are what we
do best here at Modern Alchemy Air Purifiers.

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