Air purifiers are a common occurrence in indoor spaces nowadays. They are crucial to improved indoor air quality.
However, do air purifiers dry out the air you breathe? No, your air purifier will not make the air dry. Its function isn’t to remove moisture from the air like a dehumidifier would. In fact, it improves the air by removing the things that would make the air dry like dust, pollen, and dander.
So let’s talk about what an air purifier actually does to the air in a room.
How Does an Air Purifier Work?
When you get an air purifier for your home, you are optimistic about improving your indoor air quality. However, you only get to remove pollutants like allergens, dust spores, and pollen with it. It won’t add or remove moisture from the air.
An air purifier passes air through a filter. It then captures the particulates and chemical gases in the air. Clean and pure air comes out at the other end. If you want to get as many pollutants filtered through the air, an air purifier with a carbon filter and HEPA filter is a must.
These devices, however, have no mechanisms to draw or add moisture to the air. Therefore, if you need to add humidity to your room, you will need a humidifier. On the other side of the spectrum, you might need a dehumidifier to remove the excess moisture.
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- Can You Use a Humidifier and Air Purifier Together?
- Dehumidifier Buyer’s Guide: What’s Best For Your Home?
Why Does the Air Feel Dry When You Run an Air Purifier?
“Yeah, but…” you might say. The air still feels dry for some reason when you run an air purifier.
It might feel that way just like anything else that blows air around would – a ceiling fan, an AC unit, even a strong wind that hits your face when you go outside. But in technical terms, an air purifier does not remove moisture from the room. It just circulates the same volume of air over and over, filtering through the minor pollutants in each cycle.
But what you can do is look at other factors that may make you feel like the air is dry and address them.
After all, dry air is not good for your respiratory system. It causes wheezing, coughing, skin problems, and shortness of breath. Cold and flu symptoms worsen, while there is an increased risk of contracting respiratory diseases in dry air.
You may notice your air drying up when your turn your air purifier on for one of two reasons:
- The air purifier is circulating air too fast
Science dictates that warm air has a larger capacity to hold moisture than cold air. That is why hot air seems to be a lot more humid. While an air purifier doesn’t cool down air (it doesn’t have any refrigerant like an air conditioner would), it can concentrate the cool air in a particular area in your room and make the air feel cooler on your skin as it moves faster in the room.
So, to improve your comfort, reduce the air purifier’s setting to a lower level, or position it further away so that its air isn’t blowing directly on your skin.
- You could be circulating cold air
In the winter, when the weather is chilly, the air is colder and drier. Assuming you place your air purifier in an area with a draft, it will be pulling in the cold air and circulating it around the house. This dry air isn’t the result of the air purifier being on, but of the dry air being introduced from the outside.
How to Add Humidity to Your Home
According to ASHRAE (American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers), quality indoor air should have humidity levels between 30 and 60%.
However, these are not always the humidity levels in your home and can sometimes be difficult to achieve.
You can find alternative methods to make the air moist to improve the condition. Some techniques include:
- Run a humidifier concurrently
If the dry air in your house bothers you, you could turn on a humidifier. Fill it up with water and then switch it on after your air purifier. This way, it releases moisture into the air to combat the dry air feeling.
A humidifier can help if your mouth, nose, and skin are feeling dry and itchy. However, you must keep these humidity levels in check (30-50%) to avoid fungi like mold and mildew.
This method is commonly used in the winter months. However, be careful not to overdo it as the weather warms up. Mold is a difficult thing to get rid of, so only run a humidifier when absolutely necessary.
- Seal your home
During the winter, cold air from outside makes your home feel drier. It’s possible that some of it is seeping into your home. Check for gaps and cracks around doors, windows, and frames to find air leaks.
- Stay Hydrated
If you feel your mouth and skin are dry, start consuming more water and lay off salty foods. Applying moisturizer on your skin is another way to avoid the effects of dry air in your home.
- Slow down your fan
An air purifier pulls air into it at very high speeds. However, the air leaves the device at a slower rate due to the filter action. This means that air is circulating in your house at a fast pace, causing it to feel drier.
Slowing your air purifier fan means you circulate air at a slower rate. Therefore, the air cools less and eradicates the feeling of dry air.
It is almost impossible for your air purifier to remove moisture from the air. Unlike a humidifier or a dehumidifier, it has no tank to collect water during circulation. However, it could cause your indoor air to feel dry.
The good news is that you can combat this effect by using a humidifier, slowing down the fan’s speed, and checking for any possible air leaks in your home during the winter months.