Having unpleasant odors around your house isn’t just uncomfortable and unhealthy, but also embarrassing. You won’t be able to receive any guests if your home is smelling bad.
Such odors and pollutants can come from various origins, and the key to eliminating them is knowing their origin and dealing with it.
Fortunately, there are some devices that can help with that issue. Are air purifiers among those devices, though? Does an air purifier help with smell? Let's find out.
The short answer here is yes! An air purifier does have the capability to deal with smells all around your house. Plus, their capabilities aren't just exclusive to bad smells, but all odors, including scented candles and essential oils.
Nonetheless, this capability and its extent are totally dependent on the type of air purifier you have, its coverage, the kind of odors present in your house and their sources, and most importantly, the type of filter your air purifier uses.
What Does an Air Purifier Do?
Before we discuss the different types of air purifiers and the various filters they make use of, let’s take a quick look at the mechanisms that air purifiers work with, and how they achieve their goals of sanitizing the air and improving the overall indoor air quality.
In general, air purifiers are split into two categories. The first one includes the air purifiers that have the air pass through them and their filters in order to trap the molecules and particles of allergens and VOCs. Consequently, they allow only clean air out of the other side.
With this type, you’ll have to frequently clean your filters and replace them as they fill up with these molecules. Otherwise, your appliance will be rendered rather useless, as it isn’t capable of trapping any more particles.
On the other hand, we’ve got air purifiers that neutralize the particles while they’re still in the atmosphere. When they do that, the particles in the air become way too heavy to remain suspended, so they fall to the ground.
What’s great about the latter versions of air purifiers is that you don’t have to do much to keep them going. The filters won’t fill up, and you don’t have to replace them every now and then.
Still, don’t forget that they don’t get rid of the particles; they’re still present in your vicinity. So, you have to help the air purifier and put in some effort by vacuuming and cleaning your floors and surfaces to completely dispose of all of these allergens that have fallen down.
Different Types Of Filters
We’ve mentioned in the beginning that the most important factor that will affect the process of dealing with smells and odors is the type of filter installed in your air purifier. Each has its own merits and deficits, and we’ll speak about each filter type in detail.
Remember that with the incredible advancements in technology nowadays, most air purifiers don’t come with a single filter; they support more than one filter with different technologies. So, the air purifier can deal with more than one type of particle and do more than one job at a time.
Hence, always do your research and try to get as many filters as you can, as it’ll definitely make your life a lot easier.
The PECO, Photo-Electrochemical Oxidation technology is also known as Molekule technology, and it was developed around two decades ago.
To be honest, this filter technology is fantastic all around. It doesn’t only filter the air entirely but also destroys the particles in the atmosphere that can be harmful or create unwanted smells.
It does that by destroying the molecular bonds of these particles, so there’s no coming back from that. Moreover, Molekule technology doesn’t deal with a single type of molecule; rather, it destroys allergens, mold spores, VOCs, and all airborne chemicals by nipping at their molecular bonds.
Activated carbon or charcoal is primarily known in the medical field to treat cases of a drug overdose. Why is that? Because charcoal adheres to the foreign particles and prevents them from causing damage to the body. The same concept is applied when it comes to activated carbon filters in air purifiers.
They’re also a great option to go with if you wish to get rid of certain smells and odors in your home. What activated carbon does is a process known as adsorption.
To carry out the adsorption process, these filters have been treated to be highly porous so that they can catch on as many VOCs as possible, and when they trap those VOCs and contaminants, they prevent them from spreading foul odors all over your house.
What's the difference between adsorption and absorption, you might be wondering? With adsorption, the carbon particles in the filters trap the foreign particles only at their parameter and not inside.
That is unlike absorption, where the foreign particles will connect at the molecular level with the carbon particles causing unwanted chemical changes.
Hence, adsorption is better as it adheres to the VOC molecules without any chemical changes happening, so you don’t have to deal with any new chemical compounds.
Still, one essential point to keep in mind is that these filters have a maximum capacity, and when they reach that capacity, you’ve got to replace them. Otherwise, they’ll be rendered useless as they can’t trap any more molecules at their borders.
The HEPA filter is also known as High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and it’s one of the very first technologies that were used with air purifiers. This filter is constructed out of fine fiber-like material that is shaped like an accordion through bending it back and forth.
This is one of the factors that genuinely give strength to the HEPA filters. You see, even if a particle passes through one layer of the filter, it’ll be trapped in the next or the next, and so on.
Speaking of trapping, HEPA filters are known to be the best choice to go for when you’re dealing with bacteria, viruses, and recurrent illnesses, as their filtration process can trap all particles bigger than 0.3 microns.
HEPA filters are quite efficient at trapping around 99% of foreign particles floating in the atmosphere. This surely makes them a great option to go with when looking for an air purifier.
Nevertheless, if you specifically want an air purifier to deal with the smells around your house, they won’t do much in that area, as they don’t catch VOCs.
Yet again, we’ve mentioned before that air purifiers don’t come with a single filter type. So, if your air purifier already has PECO filters or activated carbon filters, and HEPA is also included, we’d advise you to go for it.
It’ll improve the quality of the air inside your home. Also, HEPA filters last 2-4 years, so they’re pretty economical.
HEPA with UV-C Light
Adding UV-C light to HEPA filters improves its capabilities of killing microorganisms in the atmosphere as this type of light makes it impossible for the microorganisms to reproduce. Hence, stunting and stopping their expansion.
Plus, since their life spans are normally extremely short, this is a simple and economical way to exterminate these microorganisms completely while eliminating the chance of their spreading inside of your home.
So, again, this type of filter will be a great addition to either activated charcoal or PECO filters which are targeted towards eliminating odors.
If you remember, we’ve spoken about another type of air purifier that doesn’t kill or destroy the particles in the atmosphere. What they do is adversely charge them so that they’re neutralized and much heavier in weight.
Subsequently, they can’t stay suspended in the air, and they fall to the ground and other surfaces. Some of these air purifiers even have a charged plate that attracts these charged particles. Note that you'll have to clean that plate regularly in order to completely get rid of all of these particles.
The massive disadvantage that this type of filter brings is that they produce Ozone gas (O3), which is highly toxic. As a result, a lot of health specialists advise against these air purifiers completely.
If you are planning on using them, the room has to be emptied, you can’t sit in the same room as the air purifier as it’s working. Then, you’ll have to open the windows and completely air out the room to get rid of all of the Ozone gas.
Still, you’ll be spreading Ozone gas which isn’t at all environmentally friendly. So, a lot of damage is being done for a benefit that can be achieved through other less harmful methods.
Tips to Aid Your Purifier Deal with Odors
Logically, there are some things that you can include in your everyday routine that will help your air purifier work more efficiently. Plus, all of these things won’t take much time or effort from you, quite the opposite actually.
Purchase the Right Air Purifier
If you plan on purchasing an air purifier, you need to know the exact dimensions of your space, as each air purifier will have very specific coverage that it can work with. You can’t have a 100 sq. ft. air purifier and expect it to deal with a 300 sq. ft. space.
You’ll only end up overworking the air purifier, which can be a fire hazard, and you won’t get the goal that you want. Also, don’t forget to check what kind of filter is being used here.
If you want to get rid of the odors around your house, the simplest thing to do is open your windows and let the fresh air in.
Encourage better airflow and circulation in your home, especially in places that tend to have higher humidity levels, such as kitchens and basements, as that will encourage smells.
Smells and odors can originate from anywhere, in your kitchen from certain foods, or if you have had anything in your fridge for a very long time and it starts to rot. On the other hand, the source could be due to pet odors; if they brought anything from outside, and the list goes on and on.
Hence, cleanliness is always a priority. You know all of the nooks and crannies around your house, so make sure to clean those pretty well. Plus, keep your pets clean, and always check around your kitchen for things that might’ve gone bad and get rid of them. They won’t only create foul smells, but they’ll also attract bugs and flies.
Maintain Your Air Purifier
Last but certainly not least, regular maintenance for your air purifier is essential. Clean out your filters, replace them whenever needed, and if it’s making any funny noises or giving out alarms, make sure to take it back to your manufacturer so that they can solve the problem before it becomes an even bigger problem.
So, the general answer to the question “does an air purifier help with the smell?” is yes. The key here is to get the right air purifier with the right type of filter(s) to deal with your specific problem.
Also, don’t forget to do your own part in order to eliminate that smell, as no air purifier is going to vacuum around your house or keep your pets neat and clean. That is something that you have to do yourself and consistently.