New to Air Purifiers
An Air Purifier Will Improve Your Health|
Indoor air pollution is a serious problem. According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), air pollution levels are two to five times higher indoors!
In some buildings with a lack of proper ventilation, the indoor air may be 100 times more
polluted than the air outside!
This is because modern buildings are constructed with energy efficiency in mind. However, the tight
seals that make a home energy-efficient also trap pollutants inside. On top of that, the average American takes nine out of ten breaths
indoors, so it's imperative to make sure that your indoor air is free of allergens and other impurities.
Common Indoor Air Pollutants|
What is the source of indoor air pollution? In terms of organic pollutants, mold and
dust mites are everywhere - and they are the two most common causes of year-round allergic rhinitis
(hay fever). Pollen is also a pervasive
allergen that always finds its way into your home since it is so small and sticky. If you have pets, they will surely
spread their dander to
every nook and cranny of your home. Many viruses and bacteria are also airborne.
Even though they are not organic allergens, many people experience allergic reactions and other health problems after exposure
to Volatile Organic Compounds such as formaldehyde, fragrances, pesticides,
solvents, and cleaning agents. VOCs can enter the air through chemical off-gassing from furniture, new carpets, adhesives, plastics, and various building materials. Furthermore, many VOCs are known carcinogens (cancer-causing agents).
Environmental contaminants like cigarette smoke, carbon dioxide,
carbon monoxide, and nitrogen dioxide may also be present in your indoor air, as well as toxic heavy metals like airborne lead, mercury vapor, and
How Air Purifiers Work|
HEPA air purifiers use a HEPA air filter, which was developed by the Atomic Energy Commission in
the 1940s as a way to filter radioactive contaminants. HEPA filters set the standard for
air purifiers: to be classified as HEPA, a filter must
capture a minimum of 99.97% of pollutants at 0.3 microns or larger. Our best seller of the HEPA air purifiers is the Austin Air purifier.
We're also proud to offer IQAir purifiers, available with large HyperHEPA filters, along with
Airgle, 3M air purifiers,
Honeywell, NQ Clarifier, and the portable
Roomaid air purifier.
Activated carbon filters remove gases, odors, and chemical toxins. The carbon is "activated" when it is treated with oxygen, which opens up
millions of tiny pores to attract and adsorb chemicals. Impregnated carbon filters have been treated with an additional chemical, normally either
potassium iodide or potassium permanganate; these chemicals, known as chemisorbents, improve the carbon filter's ability to trap VOCs and other
chemically reactive gases.
Electrostatic filters use an electrostatic charge to attract pollutants and trap them on collector plates. These filters are great for people
who don't want to have to worry about changing HEPA filters, but if the collection plates are not cleaned frequently, they quickly lose
efficiency. Also, beware that some electrostatic filters emit ozone, which is known to be a powerful lung irritant and can be very irritating to
some people with asthma or allergies.
Charged media filters give pollutants an electrostatic charge before collecting them in a traditional filter. Charged media filters are
typically quite effective, but like electrostatic filters, they lose efficiency rapidlyand they may require frequent and expensive filter changes. Some charged media air
filter units also emit ozone. The advantage of charged media filters is that they are quieter and more energy-efficient than HEPA air purifiers. The
Blueair air purifier is the best charged media filter, and it does not emit ozone.
Where and How to Use an Air Purifier|
If you suffer from allergies (especially if you're allergic to dust mite allergen), then the best place
for an air purifier is your bedroom. It's essential to have clean air in your bedroom because you spend about a third of your life there. If you're
allergic to pet dander and have pets, then you may want to place an air purifier in the room where your pets spend most of their timeand keep
the pets out of your bedroom! Also, you should not place an air purifier in the corner of a room; it should be at least a couple of feet away from
the walls for maximum air flow.
You should run your air purifier continuously for optimum performance. Most air purifiers have high and low settings. Even if you go on vacation, we
recommend that you keep your air purifier running on low. Otherwise, you'll return to a house full of polluted air! If you are concerned about your
electric bill, find out how much energy an air purifier uses before buying it. Typical HEPA air purifiers can use anywhere from 50 watts on
low to 200 watts on high. For comparison, a typical lamp uses about 60 watts, while a typical computer uses about 365 watts.
Air Purifiers to Avoid|
Moreover, David Peden, researcher at the Center of Environmental Medicine and Lung Biology at the University of North Carolina, has examined how ozone exposure might exacerbate the allergic response of
people who are allergic to dust mites, and his results suggest that ozone worsens the asthmatic response. The EPA has warned consumers against using ozone
generators, and Consumer Reports recommends
against the newest Ionic Breeze Quadra, despite the addition of OzoneGuard, a device meant to eliminate some of the dangerous ozone emitted by the Ionic Breeze.
Avoid ozone generators and ionizing air cleaners. These air purifiers create ions that attract pollutants; however, many of the pollutants
are released back into the air, often times leading to dirty spots on nearby walls. Besides the fact that they don't do a good job of cleaning the air, ozone generators
and ionizing cleaners also emit ozone. Ozone, a main component of smog, could potentially lead to a serious asthma attack.
Consumer Reports points out: "Our air-cleaning tests show that the Ionic Breeze with OzoneGuard does a poor job of removing smoke, dust and pollen
particles from the air when new and after 500 hours of continuous use" and "the Ionic Breeze with OzoneGuard still adds ozone to the air."
How to Buy the Right Air Purifier
The air purifier market is vast and riddled with confusing and often misleading advertising schemes. If you're
shopping for an air purifier, then you should first consider what kind of pollutants you're trying to eliminate. For example, if you have problems
with cigarette smoke, then you'll want to make sure your air purifier has the ability to eliminate fumes, VOCs, and other gases. Often the best
way to do this is witha deep bed of granulated activated carbon that may or may not have another substrate to broaden the chemical filtration range.
You may also want to consider the following factors before buying an air purifier:
We've compiled a list of thetop five air purifiers
to assist you in your purchasing decision.
- Coverage Area - make sure the square footage listed for the air purifier is about the same or slightly greater than the square footage of the room where you intend to use it.
- ACH Rating - this number lets you know how frequently the air purifier can exchange all the air in a given room.
- CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) - tells you how much air is purified - though not all models are AHAM rated.
- Price - initial cost as well as filter replacement cost and how ofter filters need to be changed annually.
- Energy Usage
- Noise Level
- Additional Features - filter replacement indicators, timers, warranty, casters, etc.
- Brand and Manufacturer Reputation