Pollutants — like wood burning, tobacco smoke, gasses from building materials and cleaning products, cooking, mold, pet dander, and dust mites — all contribute to an unhealthy indoor atmosphere that can cause ill effects on your health.
Fine particles that are 10 micrometers or smaller in diameter, including those you find in smoke and dust, are particularly concerning. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), particles this small can make their way into your lungs.
There are many indoor air purifiers to select from; however, a lot of manufacturers' explanations on their products and how they work are vague, or they make crazy health claims. Air purifiers, while effective, aren't a cure-all for enhancing air quality; however, when you find the proper one, it can help you breathe better. An estimated one in four American households own an air purifier, according Consumer Reports.
So, how do you choose which air purifier is best for you? To alleviate the confusion, below are some considerations to take.
You’ll need to figure out the amount of space you'll want your purifier to clean. Small devices probably won't be that efficient for large living areas, and large, heavy-duty devices might be too much for a small bedroom with big beds and lots of furniture.
One way you can decide which will be the best fit is by looking at "air changes per hour." This is a metric that you might find in your air purifier's specs. It could assist you in understanding how filtration works in practice, since a small air purifier could turn the air over in a 350 sq. ft. room eight times in one hour, whereas in a 700 sq. ft. room, only manage four air changes per hour. If you're uncertain about the amount of space you'll be needing cleaned, it's probably a good idea to choose a larger air purifier than what you expect to need if you can afford it.
CADR lets you know the efficiency of a portable air filter in decreasing:
It uses a range of 0.10 to 11 micron.
The air purifier works faster, the higher the CADR. Therefore, CADR could be a useful metric to make different air purifier comparisons. But, because it's not a required standard, not all manufacturers support it. You might find some purifiers that don't come with CADR certification.
If you're planning on using an air purifier in your bedroom, it's essential you take the noise level the unit generates into consideration. Some purifiers can produce some fairly loud noise, particularly when you turn on their higher fan speeds.
The quicker the fan spins in the air cleaner, the more air it will purify, but the more noise it will generate, too. If possible, try shopping in stores that will gauge the level of sound of your unit you're interested in first. Turn the air purifier on at medium speed to see if you can tolerate the noise. You don't want to test it on its lowest speed because while the noise the purifier makes at that level may be low, it might not be performing its job efficiently.
There are various features you'll want to factor into your decision when you're considering an air purifier. While you may receive a quieter operation with one device (which would be perfect to use in a nursery or bedroom), others might be more efficient on energy. Do your research on the different features for each air purifier you look into, so you'll end up with the purifier that will ultimately be the most beneficial to you.
Some popular features you might want to look for in your air purifier are:
Each air purifier is different, and will come with their own unique features. Prior to shelling out a lot of money for features you don't require, it's a good idea to compare different air purifiers, and maybe call the manufacturers to ask questions and read reviews.
Maintenance is another thing you want to take into account, since you need it to ensure your purifier is working like it should. While some devices might be very effective, they might require month-to-month maintenance, like cleansing of certain parts or filter changes. This might be a deal breaker for you. Before you purchase the purifier, ensure you completely understand the maintenance requirements of the device, in order to keep it in optimal operation.
Most portable air purifiers will come with yearly operating costs, which can average between $60 to $150 per year. This will include the cost of running the purifier, and replacing the filters.
General operating costs to run the filter can average in the ballpark of $50 annually.
Most of the cost will be for the filters, and will greatly depend on the size of the filter that's required for the purifier, which can range from $10 to $100 or more.
Some devices use pre-filters to catch bigger airborne particles before they reach the HEPA filter. This could potentially lengthen the filter's lifespan, thereby lowering the overall price. Generally, you have to replace the filter based on usage, such as once every one to three months, for example. But, this can vary.
To decrease the operating costs, ensure you seek out Energy Star qualified models. This means they're more efficient than other compared standard models. Energy Star certified purifiers are 40% more efficient on energy than standard models.
You'll want to check the packaging for a couple of labels. One is the Energy Star logo. To be effective, purifiers need to run 24/7, and when shopping, you should factor in energy costs. You might also notice an AHAM Verifide seal, meaning it's been tested by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. Even though it's voluntary, a lot of air purifiers have gone through AHAM's certification program, which offers room size guidelines and clean air delivery rates on the seal.
There are various things that can cause harm to your lungs when airborne, including:
If you become exposed to allergens in a clean workspace or home, and particularly if you struggle with a respiratory condition like asthma, then a purifier could help you breathe easier. Air purifiers aren't a substitute for medication or inhalers, but they can help improve your life quality.
One essential thing to take note — air purifying technologies are not perfect. And, manufacturers are aware of this, which is why they're building air cleaners that implement various complementing technologies. For example, HEPA filters are great for trapping tiny particles, but they're useless against volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and bad odors. You'd want an activated carbon filter that removes odors, fumes, and gases.
If you’re concerned about the inside air quality within your home, another option besides getting an air purifier is to switch out your mattress for one that is non-toxic, and doesn’t produce offgassing. Eco Terra mattresses contain no polyurethane or toxins, so you can breathe easier, and sleep with peace of mind.