Buying a professional-grade air purifier
Most mainstream air purifiers are simply designed to combat allergens: pollen, pet dander, dust, etc. This is certainly beneficial in combatting airborne allergens and can help many people who are experiencing allergy symptoms, but they likely do not help with combatting other types of air pollution particles, especially the most dangerous ones. But what if you could harness the benefits of a professional-grade air purifier in your space, regardless of whether you are a professional or not? Read on to learn more.
What is a professional-grade air purifier?
‘Professional’ air purifiers are those that are built to filter a wide variety of air pollutants found in your breathing air. In addition to allergens like dust, pollen, pet dander, and mould and its spores, a professional-grade air purifier can also remove fine particle pollution (particulate matter or PM), smoke, chemical pollution including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), and biological pollution (like bacteria and viruses) from your air.
How does an air purifier work? An air purification device is fairly simple: it pulls in air from your space that is contaminated with pollutants, treats and purifies that air, then recirculates the air back into the room. Air purifiers can offer many different technologies including:
- Pre-filters for coarser particles
- Bamboo fibre filters containing an antibacterial agent
- Activated carbon filters for bad odours and chemical pollution
- HEPA-certified filters for fine particle pollution and all airborne pollutant particles down to a size of 0.01 μm
- Photocatalysis for chemical pollution like volatile organic compounds (VOCs)
- Ultraviolet (UV) sterilisation for viruses and bacteria
- Ionisation (negative ions) for fine particles, nanoparticles, and dust
Typically, air purifiers will offer one or two of these technologies and will focus on a certain type of pollutant. Some high-end air purifiers, like Eoleaf’s, eliminate all forms of pollution and, therefore, use all of the above, even serving as a two-in-one air purifier/ioniser! This type of device is useful for both individuals looking for a device offering a wider range of action in their homes than the standard air purifier and professionals looking to protect employees and clients from all types of air pollutants.
The types of air pollution targeted by a professional-grade air purifier
A professional-grade air purifier eliminates the three main types of indoor air pollution: fine particle pollution, chemical pollution, and biological pollution.
Fine particle pollution
Known for the danger it poses on human health, fine particle pollution (also called particulate matter or PM) can have a multitude of sources. It is a major component of outdoor and indoor pollution, notoriously emitted by the burning of fossil fuels. Combustion automobiles and lorries, industrial emissions, cigarette smoke (and other types of smoke as well), and the burning of natural gas and wood are all common sources of particulate matter. Pollen, soot, and ashes all fall into this category as well.
PM2.5 is known as one of the most dangerous types of particulate matter for human health. Exposure to fine particle pollution, especially PM2.5, in your indoor space can lead to multiple types of cancer, especially lung cancer; respiratory diseases like asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); heart disease; birth defects and pregnancy complications; mental health conditions like depression, stress, and anxiety; and more. However, preliminary studies are beginning to find that PM0.1, which is ultrafine or nano particulate matter, may be even more dangerous than PM2.5.
An air purifier with a medical-grade HEPA filter, like those offered by Eoleaf, can eliminate both fine and ultrafine particles down to a size of 0.01 μm. Furthermore, negative ions released into your space through ionisation technologies can bind to fine particle pollutants suspended in the air, providing you with an extra layer of protection against particulate matter. As mentioned above, Eoleaf air purifiers are dual air purifier/ionisers!
This type of pollution occurs when chemicals and gases not naturally present are released into the environment. They may either be classified as organic pollutants (petroleum refined products, solvents) or inorganic pollutants (metals and their salts, inorganic fertilisers).
The most dangerous types of chemical pollution found in our indoor air are VOCs which are 2 to 5 times higher indoors than outdoors. Short-term exposure can lead to eye, nose, and throat irritation; headaches; and nausea. Long-term exposure can cause kidney and liver damage, and some are even classified as carcinogens – notably formaldehyde (which, interestingly enough, can also be found in cigarette smoke) and benzene. Xylene, toluene, styrene, and nitrogen oxide and dioxide can also have deleterious effects on human health.
VOCs are found in many everyday products used in both individual and professional spaces. These products release toxic particles into our breathing air. Some of those products may include detergents, cleaning and products used for disinfection (such as bleach), solvents, glues and adhesives, construction materials and DIY products, and paints. They are also released for up to several years in new home furnishings like rugs and carpets, couches, and wooden furniture.
A professional-level air purifier with a HEPA-certified filter can help combat all of these pollutants but can be even more effective against VOCs with the aid of photocatalysis and activated carbon filtration.
Biological pollution is pollution that comes from living organisms. Pollutants that fall into this category may include dust mites, fungi (mould and mildew), germs (viruses and bacteria), and animal excreta (urine, faeces, skin cells, saliva).
This type of particle pollution is common in our indoor spaces. When exposed to biological pollution like allergens, a large percentage of the population may fall victim to allergy symptoms like a runny and/or stuffy nose, itchy eyes and throat, and coughing. For some individuals who are particularly sensitive, such as those with asthma, this form of pollution may trigger asthma attacks or exacerbation of symptoms from a pre-existing condition like COPD or other lung disease. Exposure to biological pollution like viruses and bacteria leads to diseases such as the flu or COVID-19.
The advantages of an air purifier for professionals
Purchasing a professional-grade air purifier, especially one with a HEPA-certified filter, can protect both individuals at home and in professional settings.
An air purifier can help reduce employees’ exposure to all types of indoor air pollutants including the three types mentioned above (fine particle, chemical, and biological). With indoor air that is free of particulate matter, allergens, cigarette smoke (first-hand, second-hand, and third-hand), and VOCs (to name a few), staff can focus on their everyday tasks without concern.
Furthermore, in a post-COVID-19 world, we are all looking for ways to reduce contamination levels of bacteria and viruses in our indoor spaces. Whether it is during flu season or a stomach bug epidemic, or a pandemic like COVID-19, an air purifier can help keep members of the population safe from contamination.
This is particularly useful in places that welcome members of the general public. Some of those places may include medical and paramedical facilities, hotels, restaurants, nail and beauty salons (places which have particularly high exposure to chemical pollution and VOCs), offices, co-working spaces, and schools, to name a few. By investing in an air purifier, an office building can protect their staff from viruses and bacteria, reducing the occurrence of sick leave and widespread working from home. This can help to encourage healthy workplace exchanges, improving productivity, and keeping employees from feeling isolated as many did during the COVID-19 pandemic.
How to choose an air purifier for professionals?
Before making your purchase, there are a few things to keep in mind about your professional-grade air purifier.
Whether you are a professional or individual, it is important to be aware of the type of pollutants that are found in your space. Are you looking to combat chemical pollution and VOCs? Maybe fine particle pollution or warding off viruses is more of your concern? Perhaps you are simply looking for a way to purify your indoor air of all airborne pollutants? Make sure you choose an air purifier that is designed to fulfil your needs. Remember: “HEPA-type” filters do not offer the same filtration capabilities as HEPA-certified filters!
The size of your space is another consideration. Air purifiers are made to treat the air of spaces of a certain size, meaning that you must ensure that you buy a properly-sized device. Refer to our Buying Guide below to learn more about an air purifier’s clean air delivery rate (CADR) and its capacity to renew the air based on your given room size.
Additionally, you must also consider your budget. Regarding your budget, there are three aspects to keep in mind: 1) the initial cost of your device, 2) maintenance costs like filter replacements, and 3) energy consumption. Prices vary greatly depending upon the filtration technologies they offer. Also, low-quality filters often need replacing several times a year, which can add significantly to your budget, compared to high-quality filters (like Eoleaf’s) that need replacing only once a year. To avoid racking up your monthly energy consumption and resulting energy bill, be sure to choose a device that is energy-efficient.
Finally, noise levels should play a part in your purchase. If your space is small or if disturbing others is of high concern (like in an office), you will need a device that is quiet yet powerful.