If you or any member of your family has allergies or asthma, you may have thought of buying a dehumidifier or air purifier. While both are beneficial for getting rid of allergens and pollutants in the house, they go about their work in completely different ways. Before deciding which one to buy, you have should know what makes them different and similar. Then, determine which will best meet your needs.
Air purifiers remove allergens and air pollutants by circulating the air through internal filters, which trap the contaminants and pollutants. These contaminants include dust, smoke particles, mold spores, pollen, pet dander and bacteria.
The filters in the air purifiers allow air to pass through but trap all the particles suspended in it. There are different types of air purifiers, and the kind you buy determines how many contaminants it will trap in its filter and the size of the particles it will stop.
One downside of air purifiers is that they do not control the humidity of your home. They only circulate and clean the air.
On the other hand, dehumidifiers eliminate excess moisture in the house and collect it inside an internal container. They help maintain the humidity levels of the house at an ideal level of below 50%, which makes it impossible for contaminants like mold spores to thrive in your home.
A dehumidifier also helps eliminate the damp and stuffy smells found around the house. The absence of excess moisture in the residence makes it feel fresher and cooler. Low moisture levels in the house also inhibit the production of dust mites and reduce the spread of viruses and bacteria.
One downside of using dehumidifiers is that they do not capture contaminants like smoke particles, dust or pet dander. These could still provoke allergies and increase asthma symptoms.
Types of Air Purifiers
Air purifiers come in various types and sizes, each operating differently and with different benefits. The type of filter each air purifier uses is what makes the biggest difference in how effective it will be in trapping air contaminants.
This is the most common type of air purifier and the best for people who have severe allergies or asthma. The HEPA filter is made using many tiny fibers entwined together. This allows air to pass through, but the filter traps around 99.7% of all the contaminants and pollutants as small as 0.3 microns. Air purifiers with HEPA filters trap particulate matter like smoke, dust, allergens, pet dander and mold spores.
Manufacturers make the filters in these air purifiers using highly absorbent activated carbon materials treated with oxygen. They trap odors, gases, volatile organic compounds and chemicals. This type of air purifier is a good option if you want to eliminate toxic particles in the air and make the room feel and smell fresher. For the best filtration air purifier, choose one with a thick carbon filter.
These air purifiers have air cleaning technology that releases negatively charged ions into the air. The ions then attract airborne particles like dust, allergens and bacteria, weighing them down and making them easier to capture for the air filter. Since the contaminants are weighed down, they also stick to surrounding surfaces and fall on the floor, making the air cleaner. These types of air purifiers remove ultra-fine particles as small as 0.01 micros. One of the main disadvantages of using these air purifiers is that they generate ozone, which could affect people with severe asthma.
These air purifiers produce light that destroys the molecular DNA structure of airborne bacteria, mold and viruses, eventually killing them. As the air passes through the purifier, the ultraviolet light breaks down microorganisms, fungi and pathogens, cleaning the air. This is perfect if you are dealing with mildew and mold.
When thinking about a purchase, you can either have a whole-house air purification system or buy a portable air purifier. The portable ones are more popular because they are cheaper, and you can use them anywhere in the house. However, if you want to clean the air throughout all the rooms in your home at once, getting a home air purification is the best option.
Types of Dehumidifiers
As with air purifiers, dehumidifiers come in various types. Let’s take a look at the differences.
Also known as compressor dehumidifiers, they use a refrigeration system to cool a melt plate where the hot excess moisture condenses. They have a fan that draws in the air and a water collection tank where the condensation accumulates.
These dehumidifiers absorb moisture through use of special materials that resemble the silica gel in packages. Inside the structure, they have a wheel containing the desiccant. The wheel slowly turns through the incoming air and then absorbs the moisture. They have a more compact design and are quieter than other dehumidifiers.
Electronic dehumidifiers have a Peltier heat pump cooling a surface that condenses the warm and moist air coming in. Unlike refrigerant dehumidifiers, they do not have a reservoir tank, so they drain the condensation outside.
Air Purifier Pros and Cons
One of the main advantages of air purifiers is that they eliminate all types of contaminants. Depending on the type, they can eliminate contaminants as small as 0.3 microns. This is a good choice for people dealing with allergies.
They also help eliminate odors and smoke, which could make the air in the house uncomfortable. When shopping for an air purifier, there are many different shapes, sizes and types, and you choose the option that best suits your needs depending on the level of contaminants in the air.
However, they do not eliminate excess moisture and stuffiness in the house. They also require a lot of maintenance because you have to remove and replace the filters.
Dehumidifier Pros and Cons
Since dehumidifiers help remove excess moisture in the house, they help eliminate stuffiness and inhibit the growth of mold, mildew and dust mites. That helps keep the air cooler and fresher. One major disadvantage of dehumidifiers is that they do not eliminate other contaminants like dust and pollen.
Which One Is the Best Option?
An air purifier might be the best option if you have severe allergies or asthma, live in a dusty area or have many pets and you want to eliminate unpleasant odors from the house.
A dehumidifier may be the best option if you want to prevent the growth of mold, dust mites and mildew, have a respiratory condition or allergies triggered by excess humidity, live along the coast or in a humid area and you wish to lower the temperature around your house. A dehumidifier is also a good choice if you do not have severe allergies or asthma triggered by dust, pollen or pet dander.
Before you go shopping for these devices, you ought to determine precisely what you need. Remember that you can choose either or decide to use both in the same room for maximum benefits.
If you would like recommendations or more information on this subject, our team at McGowan's Heating & Air Conditioning would be happy to discuss it with you. Indoor air quality is one of our specialties, and we carry a complete line of products. We also install, repair and maintain them as well as heating and cooling systems. You can count on us for duct cleaning and attic insulation besides. We serve customers throughout Jacksonville, Bunnell and the surrounding areas, and we’ve been doing so for almost 50 years. To schedule an appointment for any of these services, give us a call at McGowan's Heating & Air Conditioning today.