Dust is omnipresent. This may be an exaggeration but not too far from reality.
Yes, it is everywhere- outdoors, in your home, inside your cabinets, over your table-tops… literally everywhere!
But what is the problem with the dust?
What Are Some Negative Effects Of Dust?
Dust is a pollutant. It can have many harmful effects on our health.
Dust is in the form of tiny particles of different sizes. The bigger particles are visible and can be seen on your floor and table-tops, etc. These particles do not cause many problems as they get stuck in our nose or mouth and either come out during the breathing process or enter into our digestive system and are subsequently excreted from our body without causing any harm.
However, the invisible dust particles are so small that they don’t get trapped in the nose or mouth and enter our lungs. Moreover, the ultrafine particles directly get into our blood system.
The short-term effects of breathing such impure air are visible as different types of allergies including; irritation in eyes & respiratory tract, cough & cold, excessive sneezing, and asthma attacks.
Long term exposure may lead to serious illness, including more frequent attacks of sneezing and asthma, bronchitis, and even cancer in some extreme cases.
More Exposure, More Risk?
Your level of exposure to the dust determines the seriousness of its effects. The more you breathe in the environment containing dust, the higher the chances of you getting affected by it. There are other conditions where the negative effects of breathing impure air are more adverse:
- If you already have a medical condition related to allergies or respiratory systems, exposure to dust could further aggravate the condition.
- Smokers are also more at risk as they are already inhaling the pollutant while smoking. The dust present in the environment would add to the quantity of harmful substances in their lungs.
- Kids breathe at a higher pace; moreover, their lungs are still developing. Exposure to the dust may affect their proper growth and can cause chronic lung-related ailments.
- Elderly people are also at more risk owing to the age-related deterioration of different organs and the weakening of the immunity system.
- Those who are allergic to dust are also at a higher risk of getting ailments related to dust.
Where Does Dust Come From?
Dust mainly has two sources:
Natural sources of dust include soil or rock erosion, dead skin, pollens, plants, and micro-organisms, etc.
Man-made dust is generated through several activities like vehicles, industrial, or construction activities.
Inside the home, apart from the above sources, it finds its source through clothing material fibers, wooden furniture, beddings, etc.
What Are The Different Ways To Improve The Quality Of Air?
The old English saying, “Prevention is better than cure”, holds true here.
Yes, the first and foremost way is to prevent the generation of dust.
The second line of control is to prevent dust from staying in your room by,
- Keeping the room well ventilated.
- Keeping clean filters on your central air system to capture dust in the home.
- Using exhaust fans in the kitchen and bath stations.
- Avoiding burning fire inside the room.
- Strictly prohibiting smoking as passive smoking is more dangerous than active smoking.
- Using vacuum cleaners for dusting & cleaning. It sucks the dust and thus prevents dust from remaining floated in the atmosphere.
Finally, if you can’t take any of the above preventive measures or the dust pollution in your surroundings is so high that all the above measures prove ineffective, then opt for a good quality air purifier.
What Is An Air-Purifier And How Does It Clean The Air?
An air purifier is a device that removes impurities present in the indoor air.
But how do they do they actually work? Well, the workings of an air purifier is one of the simplest that you’ll see.
- Firstly, the device sucks in the air through a motor-driven fan.
- This air then passes through one or more filters. Each filter is placed to trap different kinds and sizes of dirt, dust, and germs. (The filter is usually made of paper, fiber, mesh, etc. for efficient and optimum cleaning).
- This treated air is then simply released back and replaces the unclean air.
- This cyclic process continues until the surroundings get ideally clean.
You have to remember to clean or replace you filters on a regular basis or the efficacy of your purifier will decrease.
What Can A Normal Air Purifier Remove?
A normal air purifier can remove many types of impurities present in the air, but it cannot remove all types of impurities. For that, you would require special types of air purifiers.
Removable through normal Air Purifiers
- Airborne Dust
- Cigarette Smoke
- Asbestos particles, etc.
Requires special Air Purifiers
- Dust particles settled on surfaces
- Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Not Removable through Air Purifiers
- The dust settled on surfaces
How Do I Know That I Need An Air Purifier?
It is a valid question. Many times we invest in certain items following the trend or getting influenced by others. Most of the time it proves to be a sheer waste of our hard-earned money and also the space the appliance occupies.
So, how to objectively know whether you really need an air purifier or not?
- If during dusting & cleaning, you observe a significant amount of visible dust, there are good chances that you would have the invisible dust particles as well in good quantity.
- If you are suffering from any allergies and not getting permanent relief through the medication, impure air may very well be the cause of your allergies.
- Similarly, for asthmatic attacks, if you do not find any obvious reason and do not find the treatment curing your disease, an air purifier can be a good option for you.
- If anyone in your family falls sick quite frequently or catches infection easily, the impure ambient air can be a probable cause for such uncertain health conditions.
So, if you have any of the above conditions, there is a definite need to improve the quality of air in your home or office area.
However, before installing an air purifier, ensure that you have already taken all the preventive measures discussed above.
What Are The Different Types Of Filters In Air Purifiers?
The main criterion that classifies different air purifiers is the type of filters that they use. And different filters, with their respective pros and cons, can be categorized on a wide variety of factors. Their pore sizes, material, removability, etc. are some of them. Generally, an air purifier takes into use one among the following air filters:
Exactly as the name suggests, reusable and washable filters are maintenance demanding filters that require periodic cleaning to remove the dust and dirt clogged onto it over the duration. They are, though, a bit less user-friendly, but they have unmatched efficiency. These filters can very effectively restrict the smallest of dust mites, germs, and pollens from entering your ambiance.
UV Light Filters
UV Light Filters are used by some of the most advanced and luxurious air purifiers. These filters use UV radiation to kill biological impurities, including fungi, mites, bacteria, and other microbes. However, the power consumption of purifiers with such filters is somewhat higher than the others.
Ionize filters are one of the most popular air filters. These types of filters use static negative bonds to draw unwanted impurities and prevent them from settling in your air. But before going with these filters, always remember to ensure that the filters do not release ozone gas (O3) as a byproduct. Ozone is a toxic gas and can trigger symptoms of asthma, allergies, lung diseases, and some more serious issues.
Abbreviated for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, HEPA filters are multi-layered filters made out of the thinnest of fiberglass strands. These ultra-effective filters can have a variety of gap sizes on the basis of their suitability with the ambiance. These metal-framed dense nets can trap tiny impurities quite efficiently before draining the clean air back to the surroundings.
What To Look For While Buying An Air Purifier?
The size of the air purifier unit depends directly on the size of the room it operates over. On this basis, air purifiers can be basically, divided into four main categories:
- Small: Can cover room sizes up to 300 sq ft in area
- Medium: Can cover areas ranging from 300-700 sq ft.
- Large: Can work on area ranges as large as 700-1900 sq ft.
- Whole-House: Used for operation in your complete house.
The overall operational cost of an air purifier includes filter replacement as the only major factor. For this reason, it can limit at a reasonable amount as low as $40 (per annum) or can reach up to $120 p.a. in the case of the high-end models.
Clean Air Delivery Rating (CADR)
In the case of air purifiers, CADR,is one of the most crucial factors determining the efficiency of the product.
It indicates the speed and efficiency of an air purifier in removing impurities such as smoke, dirt, dust, mites, pollen, microbes, etc. For good quality purifiers, CADR of 300 is considered as the lower limit, whereas CADR exceeding 350 is very impressive.
Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) Verification
An air purifier with the AHAM verification mark fulfills all standard requirements of safety, efficiency as well as design to provide you an ideal breathing ambiance. Always prefer an air purifier verified by AHAM to stay on the safer side.
Filter Quality (True HEPA)
If you opt for a purifier which comprises the HEPA filters, it is better to ensure that the filters fall in the True HEPA category. True HEPA filters are made to fish out more than 99.7% of unwanted impurities from your ambiance. This way, you get to breathe fresh & clean air, free from any dirt and dust particles greater than 0.3 microns in diameter.
While going with ionizer filters, ensure that they do not release ozone, as mentioned earlier.
So, we learned that impure air can lead to a lot of health-related issues for us.
It is, therefore, necessary to ensure that our home or office has breathable air, which is free from all the disease-causing impurities.
We also learned that taking some preventive measures can, in many cases, improve the quality of air inside our rooms.
However, if, despite taking all measures, the quality of air does not improve, we should opt for the right type of air purifier for our homes or office.
And to select the right air purifiers, we should properly asses our needs and select the purifier which best suits our requirements.