Air purifiers are designed to remove airborne pollutants. It can trap pollens, dust, spores, particulates, and more. But the question is, does an air purifier dry out the air?
To be specific, air purifiers are equipped with layers of filters. This may or may not include a HEPA filter, activated carbon filter, and a washable filter. Manufacturers are also coming up with their designs.
However, some users mentioned that they feel the air getting dry whenever they use an air purifier. Whether it’s the purifier that causes it or not, we’re going to discuss it below.
Does an air purifier dry out the air?
Unlike dehumidifiers, air purifiers aren’t equipped with evaporator coils that collect moisture. On the contrary, purifiers have filter layers that trap dirt.
With this, air purifiers can’t or won’t make the air dry inside your home. Even its filters aren’t designed to hold moisture. In fact, HEPA filters need to remain dry, otherwise, they will be inefficient in trapping pollutants.
If you plan to use an air purifier to dry the air, you’re in no luck. This device has no mechanism to draw out moisture from the air. So no matter how long you run it, your humidity will stay the same. The biggest consolation is that your indoor air will get cleaner.
In this case, you’re better off using a dehumidifier. This device is specifically made to remove moisture in the air. It has coils that will draw out the water molecules to effectively decrease humidity levels.
Ventilation like opening windows and doors will also help in drying out the moisture inside your home. However, you shouldn’t run your air purifier with an open window as it will suck in dirty outdoor air.
What air purifiers really do
It’s important to highlight that air purifiers won’t remove moisture from the air. Instead, it’s designed to do the following:
1. Remove airborne dust and dirt
The main function of air purifiers is to trap dust particles in the air. It will also remove pollen, mold spores, and even large bacteria. As this dirt accumulates, you’ll see a visible discoloration on the filter. There will also be clumps of dirt forming on the first filter layer.
2. Trap dangerous particulates
Aside from dust, air particulates are also designed to trap dangerous particulate matter (PM). Some of these are PM 10 and PM 2.5. The number refers to the size of the particle by micrometers.
PM 10 is an inhalable particle that’s 10 micrometers small. These are found in soot, smoke, acids, metals, and salts.
Meanwhile, PM 2.5 is way smaller and finer, making it easily inhalable. And since it’s extremely minuscule, this particulate can reach the lungs.
This particle is 2.5-micrometer small, which is almost unseen by the naked eye. In comparison, a single hair strand is 70 micrometers in diameter, which is about 30 times bigger than this particulate.
Air purifiers can remove this through the use of HEPA filters, especially medical-grade ones.
3. Neutralize malodors
Another thing that air purifiers do is neutralize malodors. This is possible through the use of carbon filters. This helps remove odors from cooking, smoking, cleaning agents, perfume, and more.
4. Remove VOCs
Instead of removing moisture, air purifiers are made to remove volatile organic compounds or VOCs. These are dangerous off-gassing, which can cause recurring sickness if left lingering inside an enclosed area.
The most common sources of off-gassing in a household are new carpets, paint, insulation, aerosol sprays, stored fuels, and wood preservatives. All of these must be aerated well before occupying the house.
Is the air feeling dry while using an air purifier?
The air may feel dry while using an air purifier due to the increased air circulation. The cooling effect may somehow make the surroundings less humid than it is. However, this doesn’t mean that the air purifier is sucking out the moisture.
Take note that this feeling usually happens when you use an air purifier that’s too big for your room. The sudden increase in air circulation could make you feel that the air is getting dry.
Aside from that, using high fan speeds will also circulate the air. This will make the air feel as if it’s colder and drier. But once you turn off the air purifier, the air will settle and it will feel humid again.
You should also check the season you’re in. If it’s winter, the air purifier isn’t the culprit for the dryness of the air. The very low temperatures make the air hold less moisture, thus making it dry. So whether you use an air purifier or not, you’ll feel the same dry air during winter.
Need to dry the air? Use a dehumidifier instead
As mentioned, dehumidifiers are designed to remove moisture in the air. It has a water reservoir where all the moisture will be collected for manual draining later on.
Many are equipped with a hose outlet for a continuous drain. Meanwhile, high-end models are built with a pump for more efficient draining, especially in high moisture areas.
Unlike air purifiers, dehumidifiers have coils with refrigerants inside. As warm air touches the cold coils, the moisture will condensate, thus removing the airborne water molecules.
Moreover, dehumidifiers are also equipped with a washable filter. This is a basic filter that can trap dust but is far from the efficiency of HEPA filters used in air purifiers.
Overall, dehumidifiers can be used simultaneously with an air purifier. This way, you can clean the air and reduce excessive humidity at the same time.
Need to fix dry air? Use a humidifier instead
If you feel like the air is too dry, you need a humidifier. It’s the opposite of dehumidifiers as it releases moisture into the air. This is to increase humidity until it reaches a healthy level of around 40% to 60%.
To use a humidifier, you need to fill it with water first. Depending on its design, there could be a wick filter inside that help remove impurities like minerals and dust. Just make sure that you use distilled water at all times.
The good news is that there are air purifiers equipped with a built-in humidifier. So as it cleans the air, it also restores moisture to keep you comfy.
Still, you should remember that humidifiers can make the air too moist. It’s important to use a hygrometer to prevent this from happening.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Do air purifiers dehumidify?
A: No, air purifiers can’t dehumidify the air simply because it’s not designed to do so. You won’t notice any changes in your humidity level even if you run an air purifier for hours. If you want to stabilize the moisture level in the air, you should get a dehumidifier instead. You can also run a dehumidifier and purifier at the same time for double benefits.
Q: Why is my air purifier making me sick?
A: If your air purifier seems to be making you sick, dirty filters might be to blame. Purifier filters filled with dirt will recirculate the irritants once turned on. This is why you should have your purifier filters replaced every 30 days or at a frequency the manufacturer recommends.
Q: Do HEPA filters dry out indoor air?
A: HEPA filters won’t dry the air because it’s not engineered to function as such. Still, it can trap minute particulates, including a slew of allergens and pathogens. Also, you should avoid dampness on your HEPA filter as it can impact its filtration abilities.
Q: Is an air purifier better than a dehumidifier?
A: Asking whether an air purifier is better than a dehumidifier is like comparing apples to oranges. These devices are two different things with different functions. Air purifiers, as it’s called, are made to remove airborne pollutants. Meanwhile, dehumidifiers are designed to remove moisture in the air. Although it also has a basic filter, it will only remove large particles like dust to prevent clogging the air outlet.
Q: Do I need a dehumidifier if I already have an air purifier?
A: You should use a separate dehumidifier even if you have an air purifier. It’s because the latter isn’t designed to remove moisture from the air. With a dehumidifier, you can keep your indoor humidity levels healthy. You can also run a purifier together with it to counter pollution.
Q: Does an air purifier help with mold?
A: Air purifiers can help in removing molds by trapping their spores and not by removing moisture in the air. Since the purifier traps the spores, they won’t cling to surfaces and multiply. Still, air purifiers aren’t the sole solution to molds. You should take other steps to remediate the mold problem in your home.
Does air purifier dry out the air? The short answer is no. Purifiers are only designed to remove airborne particles in the air, but it doesn’t include water molecules. If you need to dry out the air in your home, you should use a dehumidifier. And if you want to counter the dryness of the air, a humidifier is the solution.
Home Air Quality is founded by Bernard K to provide information on Indoor Air Quality in Homes and enlighten people about what they need to know about creating and maintaining a comfortable and healthy home environment.
We believe that “Quality air brings a healthy life.”