Air conditioner vs. purifier vs. dehumidifier
Sometimes, all I need is the air that I breathe...
Though not entirely mainstream yet in the UK, air conditioning for the home has started to become more popular. There can however, be some confusion as to the difference between conditioner, purifier and dehumidifier. So before going out to buy one, here's a simple guide to each of these units and what they will do for your home.
Air Conditioner. This term is used to describe systems that cool the air by absorbing heat from a room through the application of a refridgerant. They are more complex than fans and basic air coolers and this is reflected in the fact they are signficiantly more expensive. They also tend to require specialist permanent installation. Like most appliances, air conditioning systems vary significantly, not only in terms of quality but also functionality. Popular models include remote control, for example, as well as timer modes that can be programmed to automatically switch the machine on or off. People should also take into account noise levels before making a purchase and ideally try to find examples of how they sound in an empty house as opposed to a shop or showroom.
Air Purifier. Air purifiers, as the name suggests, work by removing pollutants from the air around us, increasing its quality and reducing the impact of common allergens as a result. They are also known as air filtration machines, which describes how they work. People considering purchasing such an appliance need to look out for the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) which indicates the maximum square footage recommended in which to use the filter, and therefore how appropriate the machine is for the room they have in mind. The CADR also indicates how quickly a unit can remove smoke, dust and pollen, three of the most common pollutants. Machines with higher CADRs will remove them faster, though not necessarily more thoroughly. It is also worth avoiding machines that generate ozone as a means of creating a nice fragrance.
Dehumidifier. While these machines are often confused with air purifiers they are fundamentally different. They both minimise pollutants and allergens in the room, and in doing so make life easier for people who suffer from allergies and asthma, but they do it in different ways. Where a purifier cleans air by circulating it through a filter, a dehumidifier does so by sucking in moisture, killing microbes that thrive in damp environments. So the most appropriate machine will depend on the room, the issues it experiences and the typical quality of the air that requires management.