Air purifiers are nothing to sneeze at – according to scientific research, they really do work.
Indoor air quality has a big influence on employee productivity and wellbeing. (Air quality on a whole can affect our mood and cognitive performance.) That’s why many companies invest in an air purifier, particularly when illnesses are running amok.
Have you checked the indoor air quality of your workplace recently? It might surprise you.
An air purifier with a HEPA filter can help you enjoy fresher, cleaner office air. Here’s a closer look.
What Are Air Purifiers, Anyway?
An air purifier is a filtering system that captures pollutants or other particles suspended in the air. Most models have a fan that sucks air through filters which may include carbon, UV light, ionic cleansers, or particle-trapping materials. As the fan sucks, it pushes out clean air on the other side. These convenient appliances can eliminate impurities including smoke, dust, odors, mold spores, and sometimes even germs.
There’s enough evidence on how effective they can be that some health policy researchers have suggested including them in “kits” for handling flu pandemics. In offices, air purifiers are popular during the flu season because they may help prevent the spread of viruses or other airborne germs.
However, their usefulness continues even long after people have stopped getting sick (for that year, at least). If you’re in the habit of busting out the air purifier at the first coworker’s sniffle, you may want to consider keeping it out all year long. Let’s explore.
6 Surprising Reasons You Should Use a HEPA Air Purifier
Air purifiers are a simple, effective way to improve the quality of your work environment – but they’re not all created equal. At Kensington, we use a HEPA 11 filter in our FreshView™ Air Purifier and strongly recommend their use.
Here are six reasons you should use air purifiers with HEPA filters that you might not have considered.
1. Sick Building Syndrome Is Real
Ever walk into a building and feel like something has descended on you? That’s called Sick Building Syndrome. It’s a scientifically-proven condition directly linked to the presence of airborne contaminants.
With Sick Building Syndrome, you might experience symptoms that range from low-grade allergies to feeling tired or like you’ve caught a cold. The only difference is that instead of actually getting sick, these symptoms disappear as soon as you’re out of the building.
Sick Building Syndrome is known to reduce office productivity and increase absenteeism in employees. If you feel tired and sick at work, but feel better once you leave, you may need an air purifier to eliminate the airborne contaminants causing it.
2. HEPA Is Wartime Technology That Is Effective and Safe
HEPA stands for High-Efficiency Particulate Air, and it’s the gold standard for air purification systems worldwide.
Originally developed during WWII, the HEPA filter replaced charcoal in gas masks to better filter out chemicals and dust particles created by bombs. It was so effective that the U.S. Army Chemical Corps later used HEPA filters during the Manhattan Project to prevent the spread of airborne radioactive pollutants.
According to the U.S. Department of Energy, HEPA filters are theoretically capable of removing airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns – about 1/20th the width of a red blood cell. That makes it possible to filter up to 99.97 percent of airborne contaminants including bacteria, mold, pollen, dust, and more.
HEPA filters are also completely safe. They don’t generate ozone and harbor bacteria like carbon filters can. This makes them a hygienic, safe option for improving your indoor air quality.
3. Cellulose Filters Can Aggravate Allergies
Depending on their intended purpose, the U.S. Department of Energy requires HEPA filters to be composed of fiberglass, plastic, or another synthetic material. These filters often look like paper, but they aren’t made from cellulose.
Synthetic materials improve the effectiveness of air purifiers because they don’t harbor bacteria or encourage the growth of mold like paper or cardboard filters sometimes do – especially in humid environments.
If you seem to have allergies or asthma that flares up at the office when you turn on your air purifier, you may find that switching to a machine with a HEPA filter alleviates the problem.
4. Building Materials and Office Equipment Can Be Major Sources of Indoor Air Pollution
Even if an office appears new, modern, and ultra-clean, sources of indoor air pollution still exist. For instance, carpet, synthetic fabrics, and equipment can emit chemicals in a process known as off-gassing.
The EPA also notes that some office supplies like older printers, dry erase markers, and many cleaning supplies may produce airborne contaminants that reduce indoor air quality.
Working around a lot of machinery or supplies with strong odors? Try an air purifier with a HEPA filter and keep those VOCs to a minimum.
5. Most People Spend About 90 Percent of Their Time Indoors
On any given workday, how many hours do you spend outside?
If you’re like most, you’re counting minutes instead. The EPA suggests that most people spend at least 90 percent – or 21 hours – of their day inside. People who actively track their day sometimes report as little as 5 percent – or just under one hour – of time spent outdoors.
If you work a standard 8-hour workday, you’re spending around 170 hours per month not just in a single building but also breathing mostly the same air. With that in mind, are we really surprised to learn this next fact?
6. Indoor Air Is Dirtier Than Outdoor Air According to the EPA
Trying to escape springtime allergies or that noxious traffic air by staying indoors? It might be more difficult than you think. According to the EPA, indoor air often holds more pollutants than the air outside.
As engineering has gotten better, we’ve excelled at constructing draft-free, sealed environments that keep the AC from escaping the building. That also means we’ve gotten better at trapping odors, germs, dust, and whatever tracks in with us every time we open the door.
Forced air circulation can keep those contaminants floating around. Using a device like the FreshView™ Air Purifier can remedy this.
Get Fresh Ideas for Fresh Air with Kensington
An air purifier is a simple, convenient tool for enhancing indoor air quality. Enjoy fresher, cleaner air with the FreshView™ Air Purifier. It conveniently fits under many of our ergonomic monitor stands but is small enough to come with you wherever you need to work.
A 3-in-1 air purification system with a pre-filter using activated carbon ensures the removal of 95 percent of common pollutants. Stay comfortable, breathing easy, and productive in every season or environment.
Check out our family of WellView™ products that let you fully personalize your workspace.