Dehumidifier and Home Air Purifier: How Do I Choose

Choosing Between a Dehumidifier and Home Air Purifier?

The broad umbrella subject in question is about providing healthy, high-quality indoor air. People with allergies to pollens and seasonal changes will benefit from a dehumidifier and home air purifier. Children, especially, are often more susceptible to illnesses related to poor indoor air quality in schools and homes.

Certain climates in South Africa lend themselves are heavily affected by mould and dampness. Here, a dehumidifier is not just a nice-to-have but an essential for better health.

Investing in products that protect you and your family from respiratory illnesses and allergies makes sense. Additionally, they greatly reduce exposure to second-hand smoke and combat a whole lot of stuff from sneezing to snoring. What’s not to love?

Read on to find out what is best for you in your quest for good quality domestic air.

removing pollen from the home

Key Difference Between Dehumidifiers And Home Air Purifiers

Any number of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) like benzene or formaldehyde exist in homes. Toxic fumes also ‘leak’ from synthetic carpeting, disinfectants, adhesives, or varnishes. Though we may acclimate to these invisible but potent odours, they will cause havoc to your health.

Both dehumidifiers and air purifiers will greatly reduce, if not eliminate, pollutants, odours, and allergens, their individual operation can work well in tandem or for completely different purposes.

Here is a reference table for you:

Dehumidifier For the removal of excess moisture in the atmosphere.

Reduces humidity thus retarding mould and dust mites that thrive in humid environments.

Tropical climate conditions

Residual dampness, whether from walls or water sources

Musty odours

Indoor-dried clothing, linen, and towels

Air Purifier Works to improve the quality of indoor air. Capable of eliminating up to 99.97% of microscopic air pollutants including mould spores, bacteria, and viruses. Respiratory vulnerabilities, allergy, and asthma. 

Carpets, curtaining, and fabric furniture coverings, which retain pet dander, pollens, dust, and other allergens

Technical Specs – Dehumidifiers

Dehumidifiers function in three main ways:

    1. Desiccant dehumidifiers. Generally quieter and more compact, this type uses silica gel, an inert, nontoxic, water-insoluble white solid to absorb moisture. A rotating wheel dries the air before it’s released. 
    2. Compressor dehumidifiers. Also known as refrigerants, these use cooled or refrigerated coils drawn in over them, removing excess moisture by condensation. The air then passes over warm coils, delivering dry air back into the room.
    3. Thermoelectric dehumidifiers. These use a Peltier module with a thermoelectric effect.T his converts electricity into a temperature change that condensates moisture; an operation best suited for warmer climates and small spaces.

Types and Specs – Air Purifiers

  1. Ionic Air Purifiers. Uses negatively charged ions to attract and trap allergens, dust, pollens, and bacteria on a charged plate. The downside is the tendency to release ozone, which is not ideal for asthma sufferers.
  2. Ultraviolet (UV) Air Purifiers. Use UV light (short waves) to nuke microorganisms and airborne viruses and bacteria.
  3. Activated Carbon Air Purifiers. Uses carbon that has been treated with oxygen, to absorb harmful organic molecules and fumes. Recommended for dispelling unpleasant odours, including pet odour.
  4. HEPA Air Purifiers. This affordable and popular, and highly efficient device traps microscopic contaminants in a mechanical filter system in order to blast pure air back into the room.

Energy Efficiency Info 

Since electricity rates differ in different areas, calculations are variable. The good news is that both dehumidifiers and home air purifiers use less energy than a microwave, which is considered a low-energy appliance.

purifying air in the home

How Effective Are Air Purifiers?

Home air purifiers are extremely effective, especially if yours:

  1. Uses a true HEPA filter
  2. Has a UV light
  3. Is fitted with an ionizer. (It needs to be one that doesn’t produce ozone. And yes, this is another checkpoint.)

An air purifier will supply your home with quality indoor air benefiting brain function, offering better sleep and secondary smoke protection, and even virus and bacteria protection.

On the shortlist are at least three good reasons for air purifiers in the home:

  • Reduce/eliminate allergy triggers and hazardous pathogens from your home. Few realise that exposure to common indoor air pollutants leads to acute respiratory infection, obstructive pulmonary disease, lung cancer, stroke, and heart disease.
  • Poor indoor quality air causes a reduction in mental abilities such as calculations, concentration, and memory.
  • The ultrafine particulate matter (PM2.5) found in unpurified indoor air is known to have aided the transmission of viruses.

FAQ: Does a home air purifier help with Covid?

Interesting question.

Those with High-Efficiency Particulate Air (one of the recommended HEPA varieties as discussed below) do claim protection from airborne particles whether bacterial or viral in nature. However, no one is advocating COVID-19 protection from purified air. In other words, the answer to the question is, no. Protection against the Big C is not guaranteed. But, yes, purified air may reduce the risk.

What Is The Best Home Air Purifier For Asthma?

The best air purifiers for asthma sufferers are those fitted with a HEPA filter. HEPA is an acronym for a few air filter designations, namely:

  • High-Efficiency Particulate Air Filtration
  • High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing Filter
  • High-Efficiency Particulate Arrestance 

Whatever the manufacturer’s acronym preference, it simply refers to how undesirable particles are filtered.  They’re either prevented from getting through the filter, or they’re absorbed by the filter system.

Make sure the air purifier you purchase has a medical-grade H13 Hepa Filter. These options capture up to 99.975% of harmful particles including allergens, pollen, dust, smoke, and pet dander.

Red Alert: There are questionable claims that ozone air purifiers remove asthma triggers from inside the home. It is now understood that asthma is worsened by inhaling ozone. You may learn that an ozone purifier is equipped with an ionizer, which does happen to reduce asthma-triggering particles from the air, but it still could produce ozone.

Solenco CF8500 Air Purifier

Solenco CF8500 Air Purifier

What About Humidity In The Bathroom?

In bathrooms with poor ventilation, humidity poses an ongoing problem. The solution here is to look for a small, portable dehumidifying unit. Use portable dehumidifiers sequentially in cupboards, drawers, bookshelves, or storage areas. 

These units are non-toxic and completely safe. Once the drying process is complete an indicator light comes on and it can be moved to another location.

Solenco Mini Dehumidifier - E-333

Solenco Mini Dehumidifier – E-333

Can I Use An Air Purifier With A Dehumidifier?

Yes, you can use them together. If you are using them both in the same room, however, keep them a metre or so apart. If your air purifier has an activated carbon filter, it will be damaged by excess moisture.

Since both dehumidifiers and air purifiers reduce triggers for allergy and asthma, you may consider using both. Air purifiers with activated carbon filters will nuke mould spores and other nasties but it won’t reduce the humidity in the air.

A HEPA air purifier is perfect for asthmatics and respiratory vulnerabilities. Someone prone to illness, however, would benefit more from an ultraviolet type of air purifier. Pure air helps people breathe easier, aiding sleep and therefore, recovery.

Is There A Dehumidifier and Air Purifier Combo, a 2 In 1?

Since they are not mutually exclusive, many homes benefit from this two-pronged strategy and improve the quality of indoor air.

Air purifiers capture large and small air pollutants like dust, pollen, smoke, mould, and so on but do not necessarily reduce moisture. Dehumidifiers reduce moisture but don’t purify the air.

Balance, as in most things, is the key. Dehumidifiers shouldn’t completely dry the air because too dry isn’t ideal yet too damp is equally undesirable. A dehumidifier that maintains the ideal of 30% – 50% level is perfect.

A combo unit saves space and why not get the best of both worlds?

What Should I Buy?

To sum it up, when it comes to improving the quality of indoor air we should consider all the options available. 

There is no question that many of today’s respiratory illnesses, the propensity to sinus irritation, and allergies can be noticeably reduced with the investment and installation of dehumidifiers and home air purifiers. 

If you need to know more, the friendly people at Hirsch’s will be happy to answer all your questions and show you the best options for your home.