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Will an Air Purifier Reduce Dust in My Home?

Dust is an unfortunate fact of life. No matter what type of home you live in, or where you are located geographically, dust will settle and accumulate on all of the surfaces of your home. While outside of a highly regulated clean-room we will never be completely free of dust, there are still many ways to help reduce the amount of dust in your indoor environment. One particularly effective way to reduce household dust is to use an air purifier.

What is Dust Made of?

In order to understand how an air purifier can help to reduce dust in the home, first we must understand what dust actually is. Although it will often look like uniform grey dirt when it settles on surfaces, dust is actually a hodge-podge collection of many different kinds of tiny particles that come from a surprising number of sources.

It is a common myth that household dust is mostly comprised of our own skin cells that have shed. In fact, the exact composition of indoor dust will vary between each and every household, and is based upon a number of factors, including how many people and pets live in the home, the outdoor environment, and even how foods are typically cooked and consumed. For most of us, however, dust is mostly made of particles that originate outside.

Outside particles may include pollens, mold spores, and other organic debris. These are harmless to most people, except for those who have health conditions that can be triggered by contact or inhalation of environmental contaminants, such as allergies and asthma. A smaller amount of particles from outdoors may come from scarier sources, such as lead, arsenic, and trace amounts of pesticides. Cigarette smoke, whether it originates from outside or inside the home, can contribute to dust as well.

Indoor dust particles are also generated by a number of sources. While it does not comprise as high a percentage of dust as myth would lead you to believe, our skin cells and hair, as well as our pets’ dander and fur, are components of household dust. Messy cooks can contribute to dust as food particles spatter in the kitchen. Insect by-products also contribute to household dust, both from the dust mites that favor our mattresses as well as from cockroaches and flies that love our trash and leftover food.

In addition to the vast range of sources that contribute to dust, these different particles all range significantly in size. Dust mites, for example, while incredibly tiny to our eyes, are actually quite large in terms of dust, ranging from 100-300 microns each. Pollens can range from the relatively large 1000 micron range down to the much smaller 10 microns in size. Other particles that make up dust can be even smaller than that. Face powders and pigments from paint can get down to as small as 0.1 microns inside, and toxic chemical residue like cigarette smoke can range from 4 to 0.01 microns.

How an Air Purifier Can Help Reduce Dust

All of these tiny particles move around indoors by floating through the air until they finally settle on a convenient surface in our home. By adding an air purifier to a room, many of these particles will be trapped before they have time to settle, not only making the air more pleasant to breathe but reducing the accumulation of dust on our tabletops, books, and shelves.

The most important tool for filtering out dust is a true HEPA filter. HEPA filters were designed in the 1940s to protect scientists working on the Manhattan Project from tiny radioactive particles, and due to their efficiency at removing particles from the air they gradually became used commercially in filters and vacuums. A true HEPA filter is rated to capture particles at 0.3 microns in size with 99.97% efficiency, although it can capture both much larger and smaller particles as well. The 0.3 micron size was chosen because it is both the hardest size to trap and the size most easily drawn into lungs.

An air purifier will circulate the air in a room, and as it pulls in the air it also pulls in all of the tiny particulate matter floating in it, including dust. The air passes through the filter with ease, but the particles become trapped in the fibers. These particles that become trapped are the particles that would have turned into dust on home surfaces, or caused allergy or asthma symptoms when they are inhaled. Although an air purifier cannot remove particles completely, with regular use it can provide a significant reduction in household dust.

Rabbit Air’s air purifiers go a step further to help protect against dust with our advanced BioGS HEPA filters. Rather than use standard paper or glass fiber materials for our HEPA filters, we use a special bioengineered fiber material that prevents mold growth and secondary contamination on our filters, allowing them to capture particles for a longer time without losing efficiency. That means less dust floating around, less need to clean, and better, cleaner air throughout your home.

Sources:
http://www.forteantimes.com/strangedays/mythbusters/1044/dust.html
http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1966870,00.html
http://www.engineeringtoolbox.com/particle-sizes-d_934.html
http://www.wisegeek.org/what-is-a-hepa-filter.htm