Spoiler: The answer is probably yes.
When people think of air pollution, they tend to think of big cities like Los Angeles or Beijing. But according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air, even in the largest, most industrialized cities. And because people spend approximately 90% of their time indoors, you may want to consider an air purifier — particularly if you have pets, allergies or general breathing problems. Here’s some advice for choosing one that’s right for you.
Know what HEPA means.
HEPA stands for “high-efficiency particulate air.” A HEPA filter removes up to 99.97% of allergens, pet dander, dust and other particles floating in your air, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
High-level purifiers can be a permanent installation.
These aren’t units that you plug into an outlet and turn on; they’re part of your HVAC system. Installation can be pricey, but a high-level air purifier cleans the air in your entire house, filtering out up to 95% of the particulates that pass through your HVAC system.
Smaller units can be very effective.
Smaller plug-in units can also help clean the air in your home. Usually, these air purifiers are designed for use in one room and don’t cover multiple spaces.
Some units create ozone.
Yes, ozone. Read the box before you buy. If the box says “ionic air purifier,” the device cleans your air using a chemical reaction that can create ozone, which defeats the purpose. Sure, you won’t be breathing in pollen or pet dander, but breathing in ozone can be dangerous, especially if you have asthma or a respiratory disease. And ozone filters aren’t effective at removing odors or germs.
Choose your purifier by what you want it to filter.
Some air purifiers do a better job of filtering certain types of air irritants. Do you have pets? Find one that’s highly rated for filtering dander. Allergies? Look for one that zaps mold, pollen and other allergens.