Everyone wants to breathe fresh air in their homes. Now, people are more concerned about indoor pollution than ever. In fact, they're so worried that they're wondering if they need an air purifier for each room in their house.
However, there are many factors that you should keep in mind while considering the number of air purifiers you need in one house. How polluted is your air? And how many rooms in your house are dealing with contaminants?
If you're interested in knowing whether you need more than one air purifier or not, continue reading.
The Short Answer
In most cases, you don't need an air purifier for each room. Instead, you should aim towards getting one or more single-room models for the room/s that actually need it or get a whole-house model to improve indoor air quality in large spaces more efficiently.
Why Do I Need an Air Purifier?
Not everyone needs an air purifier, and most people don't need one for each room. However, if you're dealing with the problems below, you may want to consider an air purifier for these rooms.
- Allergy, asthma, and respiratory diseases: If you suffer from allergies or respiratory conditions, the symptoms will get worse from airborne particles and chemicals in unpurified air.
- Smoking: If you or someone in your household smokes, you'll need a purifier to improve the poor air quality and clean the air from smoke particles and smell. Similarly, you'll need an air cleaner if you live in a wildfire zone.
- Pets: Pets leave behind pet dander, hair, and an odor that can be cleaned with a purifier.
- Home renovations and construction: When you renovate or build a home, there's a lot of toxic off-gassing that comes out from products, paints, and furniture. Similarly, chemical cleaning products and disinfectants leave behind a lingering smell and toxic fumes.
Types of Air Purifiers
Each purifier comes with a pre-filter that removes larger particles from the air. They also come with their own air filters that target different kinds of air pollutants. Here is each type and what it does.
HEPA air purifiers are the most common and trusted type on the market. They're so popular because they trap the pollutants then circulate clean air.
According to the United States Environmental Protection Agency, The high-efficiency particulate air filter removes at least 99.97% of dust, dust mites, mold, pollen, and other airborne particles with a size of 0.3 microns, meaning that larger and smaller particles are removed with even higher efficiency.
HEPA air purifiers are the ideal choice for anyone who wants to remove allergens or dust buildup from the air. Also, pet owners love them because they manage to remove pet dander and hair.
Unlike HEPA filters that filter airborne particles from the air, UV air purifiers employ UV-C light to kill mold, germs, bacteria, and viruses. When harmful microorganisms pass by the light rays, the light breaks molecular bonds in their DNA, rendering them inactive.
Germicidal UV light is pretty popular in healthcare institutions, kitchens, laboratories, and meat-processing plants for its disinfecting properties. The concern over the spread of bacteria and viruses in the air has sparked an interest in UV air cleaners in the average consumer.
Typically, a UV lamp exists either as a standalone product or with other filters in an air purifier.
3. Activated Carbon
Activated carbon filters in air purifiers are the most popular type to remove gaseous contaminants. These filters employ adsorption, where the porous surface of carbon attracts chemical emissions, smoke, odors, VOCs, and other gaseous pollutants and makes them stick to the surface.
Activated carbon air purifiers are a no-brainer to have near a construction site or after renovating a house because they're the only way to get rid of the toxic fumes that paintings, wood panelings, furniture, and upholstery release into the air.
Also, you need an activated carbon air purifier if there's a smoker in the household. These purifiers are the best to get rid of cooking fumes and odors as well.
Ionic air purifiers are a little bit different from the others, and we'll explain why. Ionizers employ negative ions that attach themselves to as many airborne particles as possible - typically the same pollutants that HEPA filters target - until they're too heavy to keep floating in the air.
So, the pollutants end up settling on solid surfaces for you to clean easily. As you can see, while the previous types eliminate the pollutants, ionizers just collect them to make them easier to wipe away.
Also, there's a concern around ionic purifiers releasing ozone into the air to the point that California banned them altogether. Although most of them release safe levels of ozone, they're generally not recommended for households with pets.
5. Multi-stage Filtration
Some consumers need more than one filter in an air purifier to address different needs, and that's why models with multi-stage filtration exist. Now, you can get a HEPA air purifier with activated carbon, UV, and ionizers.
They're the perfect choice for house owners who deal with different types of pollutants, such as pet dander, dust mites, and smoke but don't want multiple air purifiers where each targets only one concern.
So, if you're looking to buy only one air purifier for multiple rooms or the entire house, a multi-stage filtration model would be the most effective.
What Size Air Purifier Do I Need?
The size of the room that you want to clean heavily influences your choice. What you need to do is calculate its size in square feet and compare it with the space coverage of the models you have in mind to find the right size air purifier.
- Small: Coverage ranges from 250 to 299 sq. ft.
- Medium: Coverage ranges from 300 to 749 sq. ft.
- Large: Coverage ranges from 750 to 1499 sq. ft.
- Extra-large: Coverage ranges from 1500 to 2499 sq. ft.
- Whole-house: Coverage ranges from 2500 to 3000 sq. ft. or more.
Do Air Purifiers Work in Multiple Rooms?
You can purify multiple rooms with one device, but it depends on the kind of air purifier you have.
If you put an air purifier with a maximum space cover of 250 sq. ft. in a 250 sq. ft. room, it won't be able to clean the air outside the room even if the door is open.
However, if you get a model that can cover 1000 sq. ft. and put it in between two open 500 sq. ft. rooms, it will most likely be able to clean both rooms. So, if the rooms are open to each other and don't exceed the space coverage of your purifier, you can definitely clean the air in more than one room simultaneously.
That being said, if all rooms are closed and you still want to clean them with one single-room device, you can get a portable one and move it around.
Whole-Home vs. Single-Room
Many people buy whole-house purifiers, while most get single-room ones instead. Here are the differences.
Whole-home purifiers, as you can tell from the name, clean the entire house. They are typically installed into the existing HVAC system, helping it perform more efficiently by reducing the number of pollutants entering the system.
Plus, their integration in the HVAC system makes them invisible and quiet like a set-it-and-forget-it type of device while they improve the air quality throughout the house.
So, whole-house air cleaners make cleaning up the whole house pretty effortless.
Yet, whole-house purifiers cost so much more upfront and need professional installation.
On the other hand, single-room air cleaners are pretty convenient to install and turn on. So, if you're new to the world of air purification, you can still install one yourself.
Also, they have a wider variety of options that allow you to choose exactly what you need to eliminate according to the kind of pollution that you're dealing with.
In addition, the fact that they cost very little means that more people can buy them. Plus, they're suitable for small rooms or houses that don't need many rooms cleaned. The fact that they're portable means that you can move them from one room to another to clean the places you want.
However, they require maintenance and regular filter changes. They also tend to make noises that may be disruptive in places such as bedrooms or home offices.
All in all, you probably don't need an air purifier for each room. It's pretty excessive for the average household and even for homes with a significant amount of indoor air pollution.
What you need is an accurate assessment of the pollutants you're dealing with because then you'll understand which rooms need air purification.
In addition, an accurate measurement of the square feet area that you want to be cleaned will help you make the right decision, especially when open rooms can be cleaned with one device if the area coverage is on point.
You can always consider a whole-house system to work its magic quietly or an affordable, portable one that you can freely move around the house, as well.