Indoor air pollution wasn’t something I gave much thought to until we were living in an apartment while house hunting after moving out-of-state. The apartment had gotten a new coat paint on all the walls and brand new carpet before we moved in and the chemical smell was intense–and in the months we lived there, it never went away. On days when we couldn’t leave the windows open, I’d get headaches, and I constantly stressed about what we were breathing in by living there.
But indoor air pollutants aren’t always so obvious. And sometimes they might not be obvious to us, because we live with them, but visitors notice them (hello pet odor and cooking smells!). We spend winter with the windows closed, keeping all those pollutants locked in, and then summer comes and we close the windows again and crank up the AC. Having an air purifier helps keep the air clean in your home year-round, no matter what the weather.
Dust + Allergens
“Open your windows!” is good advice for cleaning indoor air–unless you have allergies, in which case you end up letting in all the pollen you want to avoid.
And then there’s dust, which is one of the more insidious indoor air pollutants. Because: what is dust? Dust is, like, everything! Insect parts, skin cells we’ve shed, endocrine-disrupting chemicals, pesticides, particles left from when we sanded the window trim or replaced our kitchen cabinets. Dust is gross, y’all.
Even if you’re not particularly sensitive to breathing in dust and allergens, getting them out of the air means they’re not settling on your tables and lamps and baseboards. As someone who loathes dusting, this is totally a good thing.
Mold + Bacteria
Bathrooms and basements seem to be magnets for mold. And mold spores are bad news for anyone with allergies, asthma, or migraines. Even bacteria can be found in the air in our homes–ever wonder how illnesses can spread so fast between family members even when we’re super careful not to share glasses and silverware?
The good news is that both of these can be filtered out of the air with a HEPA-Silver filter–unlike other filters, they have a layer designed to kill collected mold and bacteria, preventing it from growing on filters and being released back into the air.
Chemical Odor + VOCs
That new carpet and paint smell I mentioned above? Definitely VOCs. By now, we all know what VOCs are and why they’re so bad for our health–they can cause everything from headaches, nausea, fatigue, airway irritation, skin reactions, and more.
And just because your air smells pleasant doesn’t mean it’s not full of VOCs–in fact, one of the biggest offenders when it comes to VOCs is chemical air fresheners. Even our cleaning products can have VOCs. Every time you use a permanent marker or bring home dry cleaned clothing, you’re releasing VOCs into the air.
Pet Dander + Odor
We love our pets, but they can smell–and unfortunately this is one odor that we often don’t notice in our own homes because we’ve acclimated to it, but other people do notice. And no one wants that! Additionally, pet dander is an allergy trigger for many people. A good HEPA filter with carbon that filters hair, dander, and destroys odor is a must if you have a pet in the home.
Why a High Quality Air Purifier Matters
Now that you know the worst offenders, take heart: there’s a lot you can do to keep the air in your home healthy. First: open the windows when you can! And when you can’t do that, invest in a quality air purifier so you can be assured that the air you’re breathing in your home is the cleanest it can be.
I have an Alen BreatheSmart FLEX and I love it. Our previous air purifier was loud (so loud!) and ugly–a big black box that sat in the corner of the room, constantly humming and whirring and making other noises that it shouldn’t. My Alen air purifier is whisper quiet and I love that you can choose from a variety of panels so it coordinates with any room of the house.
I chose a maple panel, which works well with the decor in all of our rooms. Which is a good thing because I move the purifier around a lot! And that’s another reason why I love it: unlike my other air purifier, this one is easy to move from room to room when needed. It even has a handle!
Each HEPA filter insert lasts 6-9 months and removes 99% (yes, that’s almost all!) of particles greater than 0.3 microns. You can purchase different filters, customized to your specific needs: HEPA-Pure, HEPA-Fresh, HEPA-Silver, and HEPA-OdorCell. Find out which is right for you at alencorp.com.
We’ve partnered with Alen to create this post; the links in this post are affiliate links. Photos by Sharon Vanorny.0