From the HVAC system and stand alone, HEPA air purifier to your vacuum cleaner or screens you use in your windows, there are a variety of places filters are trapping pollen, dust, and other allergens in your home. Let's walk through some of these areas and see what cleaning or replacing needs to be done for each filter type.
As the most far reaching home system, central heat/air or an HVAC is common in the modern American home. Unless they are very old, they all should have a filter of some sort. Originally, these filters were meant to keep the blower and motor free of debris, but as time has passed, the filtration of these filters has increased so not only do they protect the HVAC system, but these filters act as your first line of defense against allergens. Unless you have a permanent or semi-permanent filter (like a Newtron), you must replace these filters. Every three months has been, and continues to be, the recommended replacement interval, and 3M remains the most popular brand of replaceable furnace filters.
The next common type of allergen trapping device in the home is the stand-alone air purifier. The most common type is a HEPA air purifier that is rated to remove 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns or larger. This level of filtration covers all types of pollen, but the styles, sizes and filtration that an air purifier employs can vary widely. Inexpensive models like the 3M Filtrete have filters very similar to your HVAC filter and should be replaced every three months. Other brands like Austin Air, IQAir, or Blueair have filters with longer time intervals before replacement. Blueair models typically offer six months of filter life while Austin offers 3-5 years (and IQAir tucked in between). Some models, like the IQAir HealthPro series have an additional coarse dust prefilter that, during this time of year, can be particularly helpful. This filter attaches to the bottom of the unit and filters out visible particles, much like the pollen you see that has collected on the hood of my truck. During the spring when the pollen is the heaviest, this is a great way to extend the life of the other filters in your IQAir while getting rid of more pollen. In all, the majority of air purifiers have replaceable filters. Check the manufacturer instructions for times or get in touch with us, and we can help.
Nearly every home has a vacuum cleaner, and many of these have a HEPA filter. Unless you have a model like a Dyson, which has a washable filter, the HEPA filter in your vacuum should be replaced every year. For washable filters, you will want to wash/rinse them every 3-6 months. Vacuum filters are really only as good as their weakest part. You can have the best HEPA filter in the world, but the vacuum is leaky and allows air to escape as you clean, then you're not getting what you paid for. Prior to purchasing, check that the vacuum not only has a HEPA filter, but also a sealed system, and better still, independent testing actually verifying the filtration claims. In general, replace your HEPA vacuum filter.
Vent or register filters are also popular in many homes. They often target visible debris and dirt. While this doesn't necessarily help you with allergies, they can help to trap the visible pollen. These filters can often simply be rinsed, allowed to air dry, and then replaced.
Last but not least are window filters. These are twist on traditional window screen. Screens are great because they let air in but keep insects out. During the spring, screens also allow ALL of that pollen to come indoors. Window filters are like a screen but only with a layer of filter media in them. They do reduce air flow, but the trade off is they block the vast majority of visible and even many of the microparticles in the air. Best of all, many of these now have replaceable filters, so you no longer have to toss the whole screen after use, simply replace the filter/screen layer.
Regardless of what you're using to help keep your indoor air clean, remember to replace or clean the filters regularly. It can mean the difference between waking up feeling tired, gunky, and congested or refreshed and ready for the day. Not only does it help to keep your home free of allergens and pollen, but this basic maintenance can dramatically extend the life of the appliance or system and save you big bucks down the road.
Author: K. Gilmore
And now for a gratuitous baby pic of my sleeping goddaughter.
As spring rains and warmer weather ushers in a new season, sneezes, sniffles, and the faintest hints of yellow and green fills the air. It's spring allergy season, for many, one of the most miserable times of the year. Do yourself a big favor and eliminate allergens like pollen from your indoor air with an Amaircare air purifier. The 2500 and 3000 air purifiers both feature sealed system, steel construction, easy to use controls, and HEPA filtration.
If smoke, odors, or VOCs are a concern, opt for either size but with a VOC canister. Packed with activated carbon, this canister adsorbs odors, chemical vapors, and fumes that pollute your indoor air.
For filtering pollen on the go or keeping your personal space free of allergens, the Roomaid portable air purifier has long been a popular choice. Lightweight and compact, the Roomaid is a truly portable HEPA air purifier. Snag an AC adapter and take it with you in the car. Plug it in at your desk or near your bed. No matter where you use it, it can and will remove allergens and odors.
So if pollen and spring allergies are getting you down, clear the air with an Amaircare HEPA air purifier. Every unit ships for free (continental U.S.) and you don't even need a coupon code to get the free filter kit. One will be included with each air purifier ordered.
Now that that's been covered, time to move on to more pressing matters. From dogwoods and oaks to all manner of tree and bush, plants are shaking off their winter slumber and springing back to life - dumping pollen into the air. Now it also the time when those articles start popping up all over the place, "Worst Allergy Season - EVER!". I do sometimes wonder, has someone with allergies ever went through a spring and thought, "Hhhmmmm.... not bad!" The reality is, this is how spring allergies are going to go.
While this winter was harsh enough to push the start of allergy season further into the year, the very wet nature of this winter is likely to mean high pollen counts. So while the spring allergy season is likely to be a little shorter than recent years, don't expect the trend of increased pollen counts and intensity to take a break.
With all this being said, what can you do in terms of relief?
There are several places to start, but we almost always recommend the bedroom. You'll spend more time here (typically 6-8 hours sleeping) than any other room in the home. Here are some quick hitter solutions to getting a better night's sleep while the pollen flies.
Air - With warmer temperatures, many of us are likely to want to open the window. I know for myself, as soon as the temperature creeps above 60° or so, my windows are open. With allergies, you can either keep the windows closed or try something like a window filter. While these don't offer HEPA filtration (to do so would completely block airflow), they do a great deal of the pollen in the air. The other item that can help clear up your indoor air is a HEPA air purifier. Something like an Austin air purifier is a simple way to remove the allergens. The HEPA/carbon filter lasts years before needing to be replaced, and the controls are simple.
Floors - Your floors are often the final resting place of allergens, including dust, dander, mold spores, and pollen. While you can trap a great deal of this particulate with an air purifier, you're still likely to track allergens in. Regardless of flooring type, you can not only keep them looking good but free of allergens with a high quality HEPA vacuum cleaner. When considering a HEPA vac, keep in mind quality. You often get what you pay for, and lower quality vacuums can leak and simply redistribute allergens instead of actually removing and trapping them.
Clothes - When the pollen counts are high, it's literally sticking to your clothes and then being brought into your home. Many find themselves washing their laundry more frequently. While regular washing can greatly reduce allergens trapped in your clothes, an anti-allergy laundry detergent can denature protein allergens that escape the normal wash cycle. Ecology works produces a plant-based detergent that is gentle of clothes, free of dyes and added fragrance, ultimately making it easier on your skin.
Outdoors - Avoid going out on days when the pollen count is going to be exceptionally high. This is easier said than done for many, but an allergy mask can make a big difference in blocking pollen and other allergens while you're outdoors. Though it can be a little dreary, right after a light rain, pollen levels in the air can dip, so this might not be a bad time to get some of your outdoor activities knocked out.
Medication - Antihistamines are the soup du jour when it comes to combating allergies. While most people take these AFTER they begin to experience symptoms, most allergists actually recommend you being taking them just prior to the onset of the allergy season. These help by tamping down the immune response to pollen - inflammation. There are over the counter as well as more powerful prescription antihistamines available, and a quick stop by your local board certified allergist can give you a better idea of which route to go. Or, you can always try OTC methods first, and if relief is still elusive, consult your doctor for more options.
Do you have any tips or hints you'd like to share? Leave a comment or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Otherwise stay tuned for another potential Easter Bunny sighting.
Author: K. Gilmore
As many of you know, each February we have an Annual White Sale, where you can take 15% off any bedding item we offer. From custom mattresses and luxury down pillows to all types of dust mite bedding covers and organic bedding, we're letting you take 15% off. This year, however, we've decided to change things up a bit.
So, from now until February 28th, you can take 15% off site wide! That's right, the best HEPA air purifiers, humidifiers, allergy vacuum cleaners, and everything in between are all now 15% off when you use coupon code "white15" at checkout. As usual, some exclusions to apply, but if you have an problems or questions, give us a call and we'll help!
Author: K. Gilmore
While AirPura has been around for nearly ten years, it was just last year we began offering these durable air purifiers. In a relatively short period of time, they've quickly filled a niche with customers looking for an very quiet but extremely powerful air purifier. Now, until February 1, is your last chance to take advantage of current pricing before the increase. But why have these HEPA air purifiers become popular so quickly?
The answer to that is summed up in three easy points. First, they're effective. Most come with a thick two inch carbon filter as well as a HEPA filter and prefilter. The system is sealed via a series of felt gaskets, and the carbon is customizable. Need UV? That's an option. How about photocatalytic oxidation for VOC removal? That's an option too! From particle allergens like pollen, dust, and dander to chemical vapors and fumes, like smoke, exhaust, and VOCs, there's an AirPura built to meet your filtration needs.
Second, they're durable. From top to bottom, the AirPura is built for the long haul. Steel, powder coated construction is standard with each machine. Even the filters have steel end caps! While this does add some weight, it dramatically reduces the chances of off gassing, which is more common with plastic housing and filter frames.
Lastly, they're exceptionally quiet. On the lowest setting, the fan is quiet enough that it won't disturb even light sleepers. If you want to get the most out of this unit, turn the fan speed to its highest setting. While the noise level will go way up, the fan and coverage area is the largest of any residential air purifier. So whether you need the quiet operation at night, or robust coverage during the day, an AirPura offers both in one package.
Prices are going up 5-10% on all models, so if you were considering an AirPura, time is quickly running out. Use promo code "SNOW14" and take 10% off your order of any AirPura air purifier and get free ground shipping!
Shop AirPura Air Purifiers
Author: K. Gilmore
Two readers astutely pointed out a discrepancy between what Austin Air states as their coverage area for the HealthMate air purifier and what we state. Austin lists the HealthMate with 1500 sq. ft. of coverage, while we say it covers 750 sq. ft. Who's correct? Technically, both.
Coverage area is determined by a couple things. First, how powerful the fan is. The more powerful the fan, the larger volume of air it can move and ultimately clean. The second is how you actually define coverage. Air purifiers aren't like paint. With paint you're going to get about x number of sq. ft. out of each can. This number can vary a little depending on how heavy you apply, but generally, if four people paint with the same bucket, they're going to get pretty similar coverage areas. With an air purifier, the coverage not only describes how large of a room/space it will operate in but also sheds some light on how well it will actually clean in that size of space.
It's wise to remember how an air purifier works. Air moves through the filters, pulled in by the fan, and once cleaned, it's pushed back into the room. This process happens over and over, and for good reason. Air is constantly being polluted with indoor and outdoor allergens and particles. The ACH is the measure of how often an air purifier can cycle through the entire volume of air in any space, and this is linked to how powerful the fan is. If you have a very powerful fan and the air purifier is operating in a small room, it's going to have the ability to cycle through all the air in that room many times per hour. If you take that same air purifier and place it in a large cavernous room, it may only be able to cycle through that volume of air once or twice per hour.
So in large part, coverage area depends on how many air exchanges per hour you want to target. We generally recommend a minimum of four ACH per hour, and that's true for every air purifier we sell. That's the minimum though, and if possible, we recommend getting to six per hour. Air purifier manufacturers vary when it comes to ACH. Some rate the coverage of their machines based on 5 or 4 ACH and some, like Austin, base it on 2 ACH. This means, that Austin Air Purifiers will appear to have very large coverage areas, when it reality if your goal is to filter all the air in your room at least 4 times per hour, then the space can be no bigger than 750 sq. ft. If someone else only needs light filtration, say 2 ACH, over a larger area, then perhaps the Austin HealthMate is perfect for a 1500 sq. ft. area.
As you can see, coverage and ACH are closely linked, and as I've shown here, when it comes to who's right - Austin or us? Both.
For more information on how to calculate air exchanges per hour or visit our highly informative Air Purifier Buying Guide for all the info you need to make the most informed choice about which HEPA air purifier is right for you.
Author: K. Gilmore
When it comes to microbes, there are really only two options in terms of neutralizing them - antimicrobial treatments and UV light. Antimicrobial treatments act the same as hand sanitizers, often a blend of agents that kill microbes that pass through the HEPA filter. With the AirPura UV600, you get the other type of technology, UV-C light. UV light has long been shown to neutralize microbes. Since this phenomenon was first described in 1878, UV light has been used in a variety of applications from hospitals to deli counters. A look into how UV light works, demonstrates why it is so effective and why you find it in a broad range of industries.
The two methods in which UV light works is by either breaking molecular bonds within the microbe or physically altering the DNA. In both instances, the end result is either the destruction of organism or an alteration of the DNA to the point where the microbe cannot replicate. In either case, the end result is the effective neutralization of viruses, bacteria, and other germs.
There are also two factors that can shape the effectiveness of UV light - exposure time and wavelength. Exposure time is key to killing microbes. UV light can be strong and of the right wavelength, but if the exposure time is too brief, it may take multiple passes to effectively kill the microbe. Wavelength also effects the efficacy, with 254 nanometers being the wavelength of UV light ideal for neutralizing microbes. With the AirPura UV600, the bulb is placed in the center of the filtration chamber, allowing it to effect all microbes that are ensnared in layer of filtration of nearest to it, the HEPA filter. Additionally, the lamp is a UV-C lamp that produces the wavelength necessary to kill microbes.
In addition, to the UV bulb, the AirPura UV600 air purifier has the staples that make AirPura a solid choice for broad removal of pollutants and irritants in your home. A large particle preflight traps visible particles and helps to keep the other layers of filtration clean. After passing through this, the air travels through a 2" thick carbon filter that adsorbs chemicals, odors, and smoke. As the last two phases, a medical grade HEPA air purifier removes you particle allergens like dander, dust, mold spores, and pollen before the UV light neutralizes microbes. All four layers of filtration are enclosed in a durable steel shell, and for those concerned with noise, the AirPura offers the quietest operation on the lowest fan speed, nearly silent. Like the other models in the AirPura line, the UV600 offers simple operation and the best coverage area of any residential air purifier available.
In all, the UV600 offers comprehensive filtration ideal for those coping with a variety of irritants and anyone looking to reduce microbes in the home or office. To see the full line of AirPura home air purifiers.
Author: K. Gilmore
Let's start at the door. The first person you often see if someone checking IDs. This person also turns away people who aren't dressed appropriately or anyone who seems like they might cause problems once inside. This character is a lot like your HEPA filter. Pollen, dander, dust, and other D-list celebrities (Note to Bruce Campbell - You're in!) aren't allowed to pass, and for people with allergies or asthma, they represent potential troublemakers. The HEPA filter refuses to allow 99.97% of all particles 0.3 microns or larger to pass.
A certain group of troublemakers get by the HEPA filter. They dress the part and for them, the HEPA filter makes an exception. This group includes things like smoke, fragrance, chemical vapors, and exhaust emissions. Fortunate for you though, you have a friend on the inside - activated carbon.
Activated carbon is the equivalent of a social butterfly. He's hip. He's cool, and he REALLY enjoys giving out free hugs. While smoke, chemical vapors and others may get by the HEPA filter, activated carbon seeks these characters out, and once he finds them, it's time for a hug! Like long lost pals, molecules bind with activated carbon in a warm, permanent embrace. Because of the molecular composition of activated carbon, substances are naturally attracted to him, but there are still some things that can slip by the embrace of even activated carbon. This is where a blended carbon filter comes in.
Friends of activated carbon can vary, but all help him do his job better. Some friends, like zeolite will attract and soak up chemicals. Others play a slightly different role. Substances like potassium permangante, potassium iodide, magnesium dioxide, or copper oxide act in one of two ways. They either seek out some of the bad apples that slip by activated carbon and bind to them, or they play the role of the "mean girl". Particularly harmful compounds like dioxins and hydrocarbon pollution are literally broken apart into smaller, inert components via the process of oxidation. So in this way, they broaden carbons ability to remove reaction causing compounds.
So, yes, your air purifier is actually like a night club, and some of the best filter out a wide range of bad apples and prevent them from causing you problems. Knowing what triggers your reactions and matching it to the right filter media is the winning combination when it comes to controlling asthma, allergies, and chemical sensitivities.Want to see our top pick for best air purifiers for allergies and asthma or our top MCS and VOC air purifiers? Or click here to see a picture of my dog in a Santa hat (he is NOT amused).
Author: K. Gilmore
What's the difference between the C600 and C600DLX? In reality, they are much more alike than different. Both have the staple features of an AirPura, including quiet operation, the largest coverage area, superior airflow, separate filters, simple operation, steel construction, and a sealed system. Throughout both machines, there is very little plastic or adhesive, and the gaskets are felt instead of rubber or foam. These things reduce the potential for off-gassing, which is particularly important for people with chemical sensitivities.
The primary difference between these two models is in the carbon filter. While both use 26 lbs. of granular, activated carbon, created from a coconut shell base, the C600DLX employs a blend of carbon. Very similar to the VOCARB blend that you'll find in a competing brand, the AirPura C600DLX carbon blend is designed to capture a broader range of chemical vapors, making it uniquely suited for a VOC filtration. So while the standard C600 is great for most residential applications, for situations dealing with heavy concentrations of VOC from industrial pollution, exhaust emissions, or large areas of newly painted walls or newly finished floors, the C600DLX is an excellent alternative. Perhaps the best part about these two models - the filters are interchangeable. If you have a C600 and want better VOC filtration, simply purchase the C600DLX replacement filter when your current filter is all used up, and you've turned your C600 into the C600DLX.
The C600DLX is the first in a few models that you can expect to see added to the line in the coming week. For more information on the C600DLX air purifier or to see all AirPura models.
Selecting an air purifier can be a real hassle. There is a glut of products on the market that range all across the board in terms of price, filtration and features. For now, I want to focus mainly on the models you'll find in your local big box store. You know what I'm talking about. The $50-150 plastic, Made-In-China special that features "Super-Awesome-Never-Needs-To-Be-Replaced-Amazingly-Ultra-Real-True-HEPA-Filtration!!!" Ok, so perhaps I exaggerate just a bit, but you know I'm talking about. There are several points that I want to make about this style of air purifier, so let's just start with the most basic.
You Get What You Pay For - The reality is, most of us gave up on the notion of repairing appliances a long time ago. Thirty years ago you likely would have found at least a handful of people in your local community who repaired home appliances. Replace a part here or there, a new belt, and you were as good as new. While prices certainly haven't gone down, quality and longevity of home appliances have.
As quick anecdote, growing up, my family had an old Westinghouse refrigerator. Unlike now, back then Westinghouse was made here in the U.S. It was as ugly as sin, weighed as much as a Yugo, and nearly as big. It was a hand-me-down, but by the time it finally died, it was roughly sixty years old! Even then, I think we got $15 out of it just for the steel. Can you imagine a home appliance lasting sixty years? No? Well neither can most manufacturers. There's more money in cheap and disposable than durable and long lasting. It's good to keep this in mind when looking at any home appliance, and the same holds true for air purifiers.
Too Good to Be True? - If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Don't get caught up in superlatives, glittering generalities, and marketing language. There's a lot of it out there, and ultimately, an air purifier is just another tool that you can use to better control your indoor environment. It's not a cure-all. You won't be running four minute miles or leaping tall buildings in a single bound, but with the right one, you will likely sleep better, wake up feeling better and breathe a little easier.
Different Name, Same Place - This is pretty common in the air purifier industry anymore. Notice how several different brands all look the same? It's often because they come from the same factory in China. Often the only difference, particularly amongst cheaper air purifiers, is the name or color.
Features - What do you need? Carbon for odors? Don't expect a cheap air purifier to pack much carbon. Sealed systems? Virtually non-existent with these types of models. Want something made of steel that won't off gas? Not going to happen. Ionizers? This... this you can get. Ionization is an inexpensive technology that can produce ozone, but remains a feature built into many less expensive air purifiers, mainly because it can increase filtration rates while using a lower quality filter. It has a high CADR. That means it's the one for me, right? Maybe. Inexpensive air purifiers are often run through the CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) test and display good results, but the CADR has its share of drawbacks, so don't let it be the only reason you select a particular model.
Filterless Units - Simply don't work. Stop considering or buying them. Let someone else be a sucker. "But Kevin, I can see the dust that the plates are collecting. That means they're working right?" Wrong. My coffee table collects dust, but I don't sell it as an air purifier. These "air purifiers" almost ALWAYS produce ozone, which even in small amounts isn't something you want to introduce into your home.
Labels - Labels can be really helpful. They can give you a quick indicator of some key features. Plus, they lend credibility to products and performance, and that is also where the problem lies. Some labels don't necessarily convey what you think they do. The CADR can lend itself to a false sense of confidence in a product when taken by itself. Air purifiers can even be endorsed by recognized entities yet still not deliver what they promise, and even the Made in the USA logo has been found to have been abused by manufacturers, all to capitalize on sentiment and sell their product. Labels are, well labels. Investigate them. What do they mean and stand for? Talk to people who have used the product, consider the company's reputation, and avoid buying something just because of a label.
If you want more comprehensive information of what types of filtration are out there and what are the qualities you should look for in a quality HEPA air purifier, visit our Air Purifier Buying Guide. In it we give you a thorough overview of the different types of filtration available as well as the information you need to make a solid choice while avoiding the pitfalls of marketer-speak or being overwhelmed by a tidal wave of imitators and snake oil. This is why on this site you'll find more information than any other. From determining which products best meet your needs to finding simple, everyday solutions to help alleviate symptoms, you can find a variety of answers to your questions.
Author: K. Gilmore