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Spring Will Flare Up Your Allergies, One Feature To Avoid When Buying Air Purifiers

Here in Louisiana, not only does spring bring fresh green growth and flower buds, but everything to make your allergies flare up as well.  Many of you will make an investment in an air purifier.  There’s one feature you should avoid.

Air Purifier
Staff Photo

In my small home, I actually have 4 HEPA (recommended by doctors) air purifiers.  The brand I purchased about a year and a half ago is Honeywell.  These have a germicidal light and ionizer in addition to HEPA filtration.  I also gave my son one of these for his apartment.

Ionizer may sound familiar to you.  In the 90’s Sharper Image’s Ionic Breeze was the rage.  However, the Ionic Breeze sent Sharper Image into bankruptcy.

Ionizer Button
Staff Photo

The real debate over ionizers began in 2003 when Consumer Reports magazine claimed Sharper Image’s Ionic Breeze didn’t clean the air and actually contaminated inside air with high levels of ozone.  Sharper Image sued for libel, but lost.

In the past, I would use the ionizer feature on my Honeywell units every now and then, until a recent event.  One day before leaving for work, I turned on the ionizer feature on all the units, turned the blowers up to almost full speed and left the house.

When I arrived home that afternoon, I noticed my plants throughout the house, that were all very vibrant and healthy earlier that morning, appeared droopy like they needed water.  None of them needed water however.

So I got to thinking about what could have done this, and the only thing that had changed in my home was my having turned on all the ionizers at once.

I would only turned these on when I was away, because if I turned on that feature when I was home, I would get a headache.  That’s not abnormal.  Most air purifiers with the ionizer feature lists that as a side effect in the manual.  That’s why many suggests not putting one near your bed at night while you sleep.

So I hit the internet to try to find out if an ionizer can kill a plant.  And if so, what is this thing doing to me?  The information I found stated that ionizers can actually help plants.  But what if due to all the purifier’s ionizer feature being on and all the fans almost all the way, the ozone level in the house was driven to an unhealthy level?  Would that make the plants droop?  I can’t find anything to validate this but I can tell you, after I turned all the ionizers off, it took about a week for all the affected plants to bounce back.

Meanwhile a Sharper Image class action lawsuit claims it defrauded investors.  And consumers are obviously not happy either.  Consumer Reports findings were deemed accurate, stating that ionizers don’t really do the job consumers thought and actually may cause more harm than good.  Most companies are eliminating that feature from their designs.

If you own an air purifier with the ionizer feature, please consider not using it and if you are planning on purchasing an air purifier, no need to spend the money on a unit with that feature.


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