Use UV Air Purifiers, Not Air Fresheners
Depending on the cause of the odor you are experiencing, the fix may be as simple as air freshener or as complex as installing an air purifier in your ductwork. Before you choose a solution, you'll need to figure out what is at the root of the odor!
UV Air Purifiers
Odor-causing bacteria, like bathroom, diaper, and garbage odors, can't be filtered out with ordinary household air purifiers. For smells caused by bacteria, the air purifier you will need is one with an ultra-violet light. A variety of these are available.
A UV air purifier can be installed directly into your air ducts. This type of air purifier works by radiating the bacteria, as well as viruses and other germs. But they are only effective when air is being circulated. This is because the UV light in the air purifier can only kill contaminates that are very, very close to the light bulb. In fact, a UV bulb is only 60% efficient at 0.4 inches from the bulb and only 20% effective at 2 inches from the bulb.
Other UV air purifiers are available in combo units that typically include an added HEPA filter and sometimes ionization. These will not only remove odors (the UV and ionizing does that) but also will help reduce the allergens and dust particles suspended in the air.
Air fresheners cannot remove allergens and dust.
There are some spray air fresheners that have an effect similar to that of a UV air purifier. If you decide on a spray air freshener, look for one that says "disinfectant". While they kill bacteria and viruses that may cause odors, they only work where sprayed. Therefore, reapplication will be needed if the odors reoccur. For this reason, air purifiers are generally a better option because they are capable of purifying entire rooms and homes rather than just one area.
The Ionizing Air Purifier
Ionizing air purifiers are another alternative to air fresheners. These air purifiers help deal with both odor and smoke in a room - something spray air freshener cannot do. One of the better known ionizing air purifier systems is the Ionic Breeze air purifier. This air purifier is priced at about $300, but is worth the cost when it comes to removing odors.
Ionizing air purifiers send negatively charged ions into the air. These ions are then attracted to the positively charged ions in the air, which include odor particles and smoke particles. As a result, the particles become too heavy to stay in the air and they plummet toward the ground. The ionizing air purifier collects these heavier particles on a special plate, which you can easily clean off with a rag.
Air fresheners, on the other hand, do not remove particles from the air. Instead, they just mask the smells.
Low Ozone Air Purifiers
Low-ozone air purifiers work by oxidizing any pollutants, leaving behind breathable oxygen and purified air. Air fresheners, however, do not create purified air. Instead, they simply disguise smells while leaving pollutants behind. Low-ozone air purifiers can however be harmful, if they are turned up too high. This is because they increase the ozone levels in the home to above .05 part per million, which is considered to be poisonous. In addition, ozone systems are sometimes associated with a metallic smell. Nonetheless, when low-ozone air purifiers are used correctly they provide clean, breathable air unlike that offered by air fresheners.
It is all too easy to simply follow the yellow-brick infomercial, but Oz is not necessarily the cleanest city in the universe. If one is to seek reality in a highly commercialized market, then the green glasses have to come off. Look to those who are not- at least directly- profiting from a direct sale of their own product.