Tobacco smoke, wood-burning, cooking smoke and odor, and other burning sources pollute the indoor air and cause breathing problems. Moreover, the smoke in the air irritates the eyes and throat. On the other hand, secondhand smoke is tough to control. You can control the smoke source, but cigarette smoke coming from other house members or your neighbor is not easy to deal with. If you live in a wildfire smoke area, you can’t eliminate the smoke in your house easily. The fine particles in smoke can easily penetrate the lungs and can cause heart and lung disease. Therefore, an air purifier for smoke can help you in getting rid of cigarette and wildfire smoke.
There are plenty of air purifiers available in the market offering permanent solutions for removing smoke. Still, you will find a lot of contradiction in information about the best one. Some air purifiers use a HEPA filter to eliminate tiny particles, but the smoke is more than just fine particles. Smoke is a complex pollutant consist of harmful gasses and volatile organic compounds. There are some air purifier brands available that use special filters to kill bad odors and gasses. But unfortunately, an air purifier is not a complete solution, no matter how effective it is in purifying the indoor air.
How does an Air Purifier deal with Smoke?
First, you need to understand what kind of smoke you are facing in your home or apartment. It can also be pollutant particles, gasses, or bad smells. Therefore, always check the air purifier’s filtration system before finalizing the purchase because some so-called air purifiers for smoke can filter out only one type of pollutant. There are three most essential filters (HEPA Filter, Activated Carbon Filter, and Hybrid Filter) that absorb smoke and VOCs. I will explain the characteristics of these filters one by one, so you can understand which type of filter will suit your situation.
The HEPA filter is made of borosilicate glass or plastic fibers and best for filtering out the tiny airborne pollutant particles. This air filter is specially designed to trap 99.97 % of pollutant particles that are 0.3 microns in size like pollen, mold, spores, dust, dust mites, and pet dander through diffusion, interception, or impaction. However, the smoke consists of dangerous smallest particles less than 0.3 microns in size that might not be trapped by HEPA filter. Moreover, VOCs and some other gaseous pollutants can easily pass the HEPA filter.
Activated carbon filters are small pieces of carbon in powdered form that help to eliminate unwanted or harmful contaminants and common household chemicals in the air. Carbon filters are very useful in absorbing smoke, VOCs, cooking smell, pet odors, and other household odors. If you face VOC problems in the air, then a carbon filter will be beneficial for you. One problem with carbon filters is that you need to replace the filters on time. Because the delay in carbon filter replacement can cause outgassing. The gasses on the filter surface can also release back if the filter is saturated. I recommend buying a high-quality carbon filter that offers a greater surface for gasses and replaces it according to the saturation level.
Hybrid Air Purifiers
These air purifiers use a HEPA filter and Activated Carbon filter for removing tiny particles and smoke. The arrangement of filters in hybrid air purifiers is so that when air passes through the filtration system, the HEPA filter eliminates the small pollutant particles of 0.3 microns in size. Activated carbon filter absorbs VOCs, cigarette smoke, cooking smell, and bathroom odor. But this process can slow the air delivery, which results in air circulation with proper filtration.
Best Solution to Remove Smoke in the House
As I mentioned earlier, to remove smoke permanently, you need to remove the smoke source. But the truth is you cannot do this always. Therefore, an air purifier with a HEPA filter and activated carbon filter is ideal for absorbing smoke, bad odors, cooking smell, and VOCs. I mentioned in detail each type of filter that helps in killing tiny particles and cigarette smoke. You should consider your budget and particular situation before buying an air purifier.