Placement of Air Purifiers

10 Crucial Points On Where To Position An Air Purifier For Best Results

Placement of Air Purifiers

As you may already know, air purifiers are quite helpful devices to have in your home, especially if you or anyone in your home is prone to air pollution or you just want to minimize your exposure to dangerous air contaminants. However, once you have an air purifier you won’t get the most protection out of it unless you position it correctly in your home or space. If you know me, then you know how concerned I am about optimizing the quality of my air, and here I share the 10 most important things I have learned about where best to position an air purifier.

In a nutshell, where should you position an air purifier? Air purifiers should be placed in an obstruction free area. To ensure optimal airflow and air purification, they should have a clearance of at least  2 feet from other objects on all sides where they extract and release air. Air purifiers are best placed in the most polluted and occupied rooms of a home.

Once you understand the need for clearance and tackling air pollution by placing your purifier as close to the source of pollution as possible , then you can start to consider all the other factors entailed in positioning your air purifier for the best results. There are various factors at play when it comes to positioning your air purifier, varying from safety, to the type of air purifier you have and physical structure of your home among other things.

Out of the many factors you can consider I found 10 that you should really focus on to get your  positioning right and optimize your air quality. I will start by discussing device clearance in more detail and then talk about positioning your device where pollution is most likely to enter your home. Thereafter I touch on noise levels,  the type of room, safety, the type of device and whether your air purifier will work best on the floor or above ground.

Without wasting any more time here are the 10 important points.

1. Position Your Air Purifier for the Best Airflow

As highlighted earlier the most important thing to consider when positioning air purifiers is air flow. This also applies to air purifiers that don’t use fans as part of their purification processes such as ionizers and electrostatic precipitators. All air purifiers need good airflow to work effectively.

So how do you get good air flow? The trick with air flow is to place your air purifier at a good enough distance away from walls and large objects, especially furniture. You need to avoid placing your air purifier in corners, under tables, or under shelves.

If you place your air purifier around any obstruction of some sort to its vents and airways, it will not suck air and release it effectively. There will be less air going through your device and less clean air coming out of the device into your home every hour. To avoid this I keep any type of air purifier 2 feet away from anything on all the sides where it has an inlet and outlet.

The exception to the rule here may be wall mounted air purifiers. However, even these need to be positioned in a way that their inlet and outlet are not obstructed by anything and airflow is maximized.

2. Place Your Air Purifier at the Source of Pollution

The next thing you need to ensure is that you have identified where pollution in your home is coming from. Pollution can come into your home through walls or vents from your neighbors' place if you stay in apartments (very annoying). I had the worst experience ever, in my old apartment whereby everything the neighbor below me smoked, came right up through the vents into my bedroom.

This is one of the things that drove my interest in air purifiers. I just could not stand it and had to find a way to deal with it and in hindsight positioning an air purifier next to the vents would have really helped my situation.

Other sources of pollution in your home could be carpet fumes, your cat litter box, off-gassing from various products especially in your storeroom, your pets living space, or dust and pollen coming in through windows and doors. Your air could also be getting polluted by mold build up in your home and odors from the kitchen.

Keeping in mind air flow, once you identify the source of your air pollution, place your air purifier in the same room and as close as possible to the source of contamination. This allows your air purifier to neutralize or trap contaminants before they spread all around your home.

Finally, if you have an HVAC system installed in your home, a useful tip is to place an air purifier right at the place where the system draws in air. This will help minimize contaminants like dust and ultra-fine particles introduced to your house through your HVAC system which can’t filter them out. With an air purifier at its inlet, your HVAC will pump much clean air all around your home. An alternative to this is to get an air purifier that can be built into your HVAC system.

3. Position Your Purifier According to Noise Level

This should really concern you if you enjoy having silence in a room while you are reading studying or sleeping. Some air purifiers are just outright noisy. If you are sensitive to noise, you will need to get a silent air purifier.

You also may need to have multiple air purifiers, with the more pricey quieter devices operating in rooms where you don’t want any noise while the nosier devices are placed in rooms where you can tolerate the a device's humming sound.

Normally I would place a nosier device in the living room and kitchen area and a silent device in my room or study. Otherwise, if I could afford to get only silent devices to cover my entire home then I would go that route. I personally would go for the Airocide air purifier (available here at Amazon) to achieve this while maximizing the quality of the air in my home.

4. Position Your Device To Deal With Kitchen Pollution

If you cook at home or have a full-blown kitchen that you use frequently you will understand how much pollution can come from your kitchen. You not only get pollution and odors from your cooking but also detergents, your bin, under sink odor, and stuff stored in your pantry or whatever kitchen storage you have.

So there is no question how useful an air purifier can be in your kitchen. However, your kitchen can be quite a busy area, big or small. Finding a good spot for your air purifier can be a challenge because you have other appliances (see point number 8) there and water and all sorts of things splashing around.

Taking this into account, in my opinion, the best place for an air purifier in the kitchen is on the wall. So you would have to go with a device that you can mount on the wall. The next option is to clear space  for your device amid the areas in your kitchen with appliances and to avoid areas that often get wet. You can make space on the floor in the kitchen area but depending on the size of your purifier you would rather have it on a table somewhere or kitchen counter.

That said, your life becomes much easier if you have an open plan kitchen. In this situation, placing your air purifier anywhere in the living room or dining room should cover your kitchen provided your device is big enough for your room size.

5. Put Your Air Purifier in the Most Polluted Room

Besides your kitchen, just as you want to place an air purifier at the source of your pollution, you will significantly improve the quality of your air if you place your devices in the most polluted room in your house in addition to your kitchen. Usually, the most polluted room in your home will cause pollution in the rest of your home. This could be where your pets sleep, or your basement, a room that’s facing a busy street or a room where mold is building up.

If you live in a house with 3 bedrooms or more it can be tricky to determine which room is most polluted. This is where tools like air quality monitoring devices and test kits come in handy. Use an air quality monitoring device like the IQAIR  Air Visual Pro Air Quality Monitor (which is available at Amazon) to determine the air quality in each room and once you find the most polluted room you know exactly where to put an air purifier in your home. 

An air quality monitoring tool is the quickest way forward here and you can continue using it ever so often to ensure you are maintaining good indoor air quality in your home.

6. Position Your Air Purifier  in The Bedroom

The bedroom is a very important place to have an air purifier. When you place an air purifier in your bedroom, make sure the end that releases the clean air is facing your head. However, don’t put your air purifier too close to your head in case it causes a draft which can be bad for your health.

To avoid any health problems, a safe distance to place your air purifier from your bed and your head is about 6 to 10 feet. Closer than 6 feet then you risk getting sick, further than 10 feet, then you do not get the full benefit of your purifier while you sleep. Regardless of this, having an air purifier in your rooms goes a long way in not only ensuring you are breathing well but also that you are getting a peaceful sleep and a good night's rest as you breathe more easily in your sleep.

7. Place Your Device in A Safe Space

I mentioned this earlier when I talked about where to place your air purifier in the kitchen. Completely avoid wet surfaces or areas in your home that are busy when positioning your air purifier unless of course you don't mind getting electrocuted.

You also want to keep your air purifier away from the path of your pets and toddlers in case they are tempted to tamper with it and additionally keep it away from your own busy areas in the home in case you trip over it. Also, avoid putting your air purifier in extremely hot environments like right next to a heater or in direct sunlight. Like any device, air purifiers can malfunction by overheating.

My final thought  here is to read your air purifier manual,s safety instructions. It will guide you on all other safety precautions you need to take beyond the placement of your device.

8. Position Your Purifier Next To Other Appliances

Do not put your air purifier next to other appliances like your microwave, fridge, cooker, stereo system or near your TV. Your air purifier operates at around the same wavelength as these devices and they can interfere with each others operation while you use them simultaneously.

You also do not want to put your air purifier next to a furnace in case it overheats. With this in mind, you only need to worry about larger appliances. For example, you can leave and run your air purifiers next to a computer, laptop or a mobile phone or tablet.

9. Position By Type and Brand of Air Purifier

When it comes to positioning by brand type, the best thing you can do is to consult your manufacturer’s manual or usage guides. Below is a summary video guide on how to postion your air prufier, considering the various types and brands you may encounter.

My general rule of thumb is that I can place ionizer air purifiers and photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) air purifiers, pretty much anywhere in a room provided I have taken into account air flow. 

My reservations begin to increase with air purifiers that have a filter such as HEPA air purifiers. Unless they are designed to be mounted I would avoid putting such a device on an uneven or slanted surface. You should always try to have a HEPA purifier placed on a flat surface.

When all is said and done, just as devices come in different shapes and sizes, their position by type and brand also vary alike. This leads us to our final point.

10. Position Your Device On The Floor, On The Table or On The Wall

Whether an air purifier can be placed on the floor, on the table or on the wall strongly depends on how it was designed. Some devices are heavy and big and some even come with wheels to move them around and it does not make any sense at all putting them on top of a table.

Some devices are portable and these can be put on any surface. Some manufacturers even design their air purifiers for multiple placements including placement on the wall. I mean you also get air purifiers you can mount on your ceiling such as the Healthy Air Ceiling Mount Air Purifier.

Again. My advice here is to follow your devices instruction manual. You can easily find this online by typing your Device Name + Instruction Manual when you search on google or any search engine. If you do not find anything, my rule of thumb is to only place portable air purifiers on a surface above ground and leave large and heavy devices on the ground.

I have now shared everything I know about positioning air purifiers with you. The only other thing I have left to say and that you may have picked up as you read through this post is that depending on the size of your home, you may need an air purifier in multiple rooms across your house.

My typical positioning when it comes to having multiple air purifiers in a home is to have one in each bedroom, one in the leaving room, and one in the kitchen if you have a separate kitchen. Lastly if your house has a basement, I also strongly suggest putting an air purifier in the basement.

About the Author

Jean-Baptiste

Jean is a research economist by profession and he runs Fresh Air Genie. He is enthusiastic about maintaining good air quality at home and on the go and he shares his knowledge about this here at Fresh Air Genie.

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