Clearing the Air: How to Choose an Air Purifier


The air in most homes contain pollutants from furniture, cleaning products, heating, carpeting, and other ordinary but unavoidable things, according to the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. Considering that people spend more time at home than they realize, especially children, the elderly, and those with respiratory diseases, an air purifier is crucial in improving air quality for the health of the entire family.

What is an air purifier?

Air purifiers are portable, motorized air cleaners that have built-in fans and draw in contaminant particles from the air. Some modern air purifiers trap the particles with high-efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filters, activated carbon, and other methods. Depending on the device type and motor strength, an air purifier may be better at removing larger particles, such as pet dander or pollen, or smaller particles, such as the pollutants in cigarette smoke. Sizes range from small tabletop devices to powerful multi-room systems. The smallest of air purifiers may be unable to clean the air within a standard-sized room, according to the US Environmental Protection Agency.

What to look for

Before buying an air purifier from, it is important to determine which main pollutants are present: Are there cats or dogs in the house? Are dust mites or other pests triggering allergies? Is there a mold problem? Identifying the main sources of air pollution — and particle size of the pollutants — makes it easier to choose the right purifier. Next, look at the device’s clean air delivery rate (CADR), which indicates the cubic feet of clean air the purifier can produce per minute in ideal conditions. Most portable air purifiers on the market have adequate to good CADR when it comes to removing smaller airborne particles, according to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers.

What to avoid

Both EPA and recent scientific studies suggest that ionic, electronic, or electrostatic air cleaners may produce not only more noise, but also ozone, a respiratory irritant. Some even produce ultra fine particles that may also be harmful. Consider choosing a air purifier that works through mechanical filtration.

For best results, many experts suggest purchasing an air purifier that employs more than one method of cleaning the air. More importantly, change filters often and make sure the devices receive maintenance as needed. Combined with regular cleaning, a good air purifier can truly help everyone in the room breathe easy.

About the Author

Stanley Washington

Stanley Washington write about food, business related articles in his free time. He work as a freelance photographer during the day.

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