Negative Side Effects of Air Purifiers: 5 Concerns of Buyers Addressed

Considering the negative side effects of air purifiers is a valid concern when making a purchase decision. With various statements and rumors surrounding them, it’s only natural to feel uncertain. No need to stress! I’m here to explain which is true and which is a myth. Let’s start!

Quick Answer

The short answer is there are not many negative effects of air purifiers. These are safe to use. Moreover, they are recommended to utilize these to improve their lifestyle and health. If you live in a metropolitan city and are allergic to dust, pollen, or pet hair, keep one at your home.

However, if you own air purifiers that are ozone generators will release the gas which can lead to throat issues and difficulty in breathing. Many brands assure that the amount of ozone is negligible and hence safe.

Read Also: 9 Best Ozone Free Air Purifier in 2023

Scroll down to read what negative effects purifiers can cause, how they operate, if emit radiation, and make allergies worse or not.

1. How Does an Air Purifier Operate?

First-time buyers may have doubts about air purifiers. Let me describe how it cleans the air so you can understand the mechanism. By doing so, you can identify the possible areas where risks might emerge. Here are the steps:

How Does an Air Purifier Operate

  1. Air purifiers function by drawing air from the environment into the device. The air is passed through various filters to trap different airborne pollutants.
  2. The pre-filters remove dust and large particles such as pet hair.
  3. The Activated Carbon filter absorbs bad odors, smoke, and VOCs.
  4. The HEPA filters catch bacteria and particles which are as small as 0.3 microns.
  5. Then, the cleaned and filtered air is then released back into the surrounding area.

You can read more details about this in my article “What Does an Air Purifier Do?”.

It will not be a stretch to say that people who have allergies can benefit from it a ton. Ones surrounded by VOCs, or have furry pets can thank the air purifiers to clear the air as well.

So it is a simple and harmless process yet there are viewpoints that differ from this opinion. Why? Let’s explore this further!

2. What are the Functions of Air Purifiers?

Air purifiers work very well. It can improve indoor air quality, eliminate odors, and drastically reduce respiratory problems. However we have to warn you, it is not medicine but a useful appliance to improve lifestyle.

Here are a few tips on how you can reap their biggest benefits:

  • Place the air purifier in a room where you spend most of your time indoors, such as your bedroom, living room, or home office.
  • Invest in portable air purifiers, if you move rooms throughout the day. Take the machine with you.
  • You can purchase two or three units for each room to cover the maximum space. This way your whole house can be clean and no harmful allergens can be introduced if you changed rooms.
Pro Tip: Make sure to check the CADR (clean air delivery rate) value of the model you select. The value should be equal to 2/3 of your room area.

Read Also:

6 Best Air Purifier for 800 Square Feet in 2023

Top 6 Best Air Purifier for 1000 Square Feet in 2023

6 Best Air Purifier for 1200 Sq Ft in 2023

Make sure to also watch this video to learn more about how to use air purifiers to decrease health issues.

YouTube video

3. Do Air Purifiers Improve Air Quality or Make it Worse?

Air purifiers are definitely helpful. They are able to remove harmful particles from the air such as mold, pet dander, pollen, chemicals, and other allergens. However, there are some downsides to them. You must read below:

  • Some air purifiers generate ozone.
  • While few are unsafe due to our neglect i.e. not changing the filter on time.
  • There is noise in public about air purifiers emitting harmful radiation. But it is not fully true. In my article “Do Air Purifiers Give Off Radiation” I cover this question. Read it for peace of mind.
  • Meanwhile, some buyers are afraid to use it due to UV light. Go through my guide “Is UV Light in Air Purifiers Harmful? to know the truth about this.

Now, let’s get back to how ozone generation and dirty air filters can lead to adverse effects below.

Do Air Purifiers Improve Air Quality or Make it Worse

I. Ozone Concerns: Negative Side Effects of Air Purifiers

Ozone air purifiers can cause health problems. Therefore you must avoid air purifiers that release an excess amount (50 parts per billion) of gas. Here are the things you need to know:

  • You can check the health certification on the product while purchasing and go for the ones that are approved by the authorities.
  • Fortunately, there are plenty of air purifiers available that have a HEPA filter. Those do not emit ozone and are considered safe.

II. Dust Pumped into the Air: HEPA Air Purifier Side Effects

It is true that a dirty filter of the air cleaner, clogged with debris can introduce pollutants into the room’s air instead of cleaning it.

  • A jammed filter will not let the air pass through it.
  • It will force the previously caught particles out.
  • It will become noisier trying to force the air to escape.

To avoid this, you should clean or replace the filter on time. Check the indicator light on the Air purifier or inspect the filter yourself. If the filters are reusable, follow the manufacturer’s instructions on how to wash them.

Note: Most HEPA filters are changed from 6 months to 1 year. While the pre-filters should be replaced/washed every month.

4. Can Air Purifiers End Up Making Us Sick?

An air purifier does not make you sick. In fact, it can be a valuable addition to your home to get rid of harmful substances in the air and help you breathe better. There are rumors out there that air purifier emits radiation but there is little reality to this fact.

However, there is a particular type of air purifier you should avoid, i.e. ionizer. It emits electrically charged particles. This causes respiratory issues such as asthma and throat irritation. Learn more about it by watching this video.

YouTube video

Can Incorrect Usage of Air Purifier Cause Sickness?

Yes! The reason could also be that the model is not of a reliable brand. But it’s very likely that the causes of sickness are not the air purifier itself but the incorrect usage. Here are examples of such scenarios:

  • The furniture is blocking the airflow.
  • Air filters are not cleaned or replaced timely.
  • Dirty surfaces and floors are not cleaned from the particles that are not in the air.
  • The air purifier is not verified by AHAM and is incapable of proper purification.

Additionally, you can read my article “Can Air Purifiers Make You Sick?” where I discuss this in-depth.

5. Should You Buy an Air Purifier? Pros and Cons

Let’s evaluate what makes an air purifier a valuable appliance for healthy air inside the house. As well as go over its downsides. This will help you weigh if the air purifiers are worth it. Read below:

HEPA Air Purifier Side Effects: Pros

Following are some of the reasons why households are considering air purifiers a must-have appliance:

HEPA Air Purifier Side Effects_ Pros

  • Allergen Reduction: They are able to decrease issues caused by pollutants such as dust, mold, pet dander, and smoke. Users have marked that they felt relief from asthma, sore throat, and chest tightness after breathing in purified air.
  • Fewer Germs and Bacteria: Air cleaners are essential when one is sick. Keep the other house members safe from diseases that can spread through airborne germs. For example flu and sneezing.
  • Odor Elimination: Aside from pollutants and particles, you can eliminate irritating gases and smells. If a house member smoke, you have a pet, newly painted walls, or polished furniture then its air purifier will benefit a lot.

Read Also: Are Air Purifiers FSA-Eligible: 3 Required Features to Know

HEPA Air Purifier Side Effects: Cons

View the things some air purifier users find difficult about the appliance.

HEPA Air Purifier Side Effects_ Cons

  • Dust Collection: The air purifier works by pulling the unclean air from all directions of the room. This is why the surrounding of the air cleaner could be concentrated with large amounts of pollen and dust. So avoid going near a cleaner if you are allergic. Let any other housemate operate it and clean the area around it when the machine is off.
  • Annoying Buzzing Sound: Many air purifiers have quiet and sleep modes however some models can be noisy. If you are easily bothered by a machine’s buzzing then only select a brand that has silent operation tech
  • Ozone Generation: There are air purifiers in the market that release negative ions in order to clean the air. Unfortunately, this means ozone concentrations are added to the air. This may lead to health issues in the lungs and make it harder to breathe. Consult the vendor and read about the particular model.

As you can see, the above pros will offset the small cons of air purifiers. Therefore, they are recommended for purchase if you want to breathe fresh, clean air without odors and bacteria.


Are there any dangers with air purifiers?

There are not any serious dangers with air purifiers. Although one must avoid air purifiers that are ozone generators and clean the air filters on time. Failure to do can reintroduce the particles in the air again.

Is it OK to sleep in a room with an air purifier?

Yes. It is ok to sleep in a room with an air purifier. In fact, it is highly recommended. The bedroom air quality can be enhanced a lot which will help ease allergies leading to a comfortable sleep.

Is it bad to run an air purifier all day?

It is not bad to run an air purifier all day. Running it can mean clean air every hour. However choose one that is suitable for your room size and has an auto function for fan speeds. It will help you effectively use it with less power consumption.

Are HEPA air purifiers safe?

HEPA filter air purifiers are safe. But to be on the safe side make sure the model has all the necessary certifications such as AHAM, CARB, and EPA.

What are the two disadvantages of HEPA filters?

The two disadvantages of HEPA filters are that they need replacement in 6 to 12 months. It requires attention and maintenance. Secondly, the new HEPA filter may cost you a bit.


There are a few negative side effects when it comes to air purifiers but the positives cancel them. The best air purifier can catch unwanted small particles such as pollen, dust, and skin flakes. It absorbs gases such as smoke and fumes that cause allergies.

Not to forget, it kills bacteria and traps airborne viruses. This way you breathe cleaner air into your lungs improving your health. Having said that, make sure that air purifier models have all the necessary certifications and is not an ionizer.

Read Also: How Much Electricity Does an Air Purifier Use? Cost in 2024