Tag - How to Buy an Air Purifier for your home

Home Air Purifier: How do Air Purifiers Work?

An air purifier is a product that cleans and rids the air of contaminants. Some claim removal of up to 99.9% of particles in the air of a home or business. They are commonly marketed for being beneficial to sufferers of asthma and allergies. Being able to reduce and even eliminate second-hand smoke is another attractive feature for many users.

Commercial grade purifiers are made as either small units that stand alone or larger units that are able to be attached to an AHU (air handler unit) or an HVAC unit that can be found in industrial, medical and commercial industries.

Home air purifiers can be used for an entire home or an individual room. Air purifiers are made in many different sizes and types with the most common being the HEPA filter. Most users of air purifiers purchase them to improve the air quality within their home or business.

Types of air purifiers

  1. HEPA Filters. The HEPA filter uses a cloth filter that is able to trap 99.9% of particles that are .3 microns or larger and a fan to circulate air throughout the machine. HEPA filters are effective in retrieving nearly any harmful particle that is found in the air. The replaceable filter can last many years depending on the air quality of the room the filter is in. A HEPA filter is a very effective unit but is one that uses a lot of energy
  2. Ozone purifiers. Ozone is a reactive oxidant that can destroy some chemicals and bacteria. When it reacts with some substances in the air, those substances are broken down into materials that are pollutants. An Ozone purifier fights those pollutants. It is also very effective in fighting odors but does not work against allergens or most chemicals.
  3. Carbon air purifiers. This type of air purifier is very effective in capturing particular particles, including gas, smoke, and odor. It is also the most absorbent filter sold on the market. A carbon air filter contains small pores that are very absorbent and chemically react to particles as they pass through and the odors and particles attach to the carbon. This particular air purifier does not work against allergens or micro-organisms.
  4. Ionic air purifiers. This type of purifier works by ‘ionizing’ air, causing particles to gain either a positive or negative charge. The ionic air purifier has a collection of plates that contain an opposite charge from the air particles; therefore, the particles are attracted to the plates. The charged particles will attract other particles with the opposite charge to them. An ionic air purifier is able to remove very fine particles in the air, even from several feet away, but it does not work on odors or kill germs.
  5. Ultraviolet light air purifiers. The Ultraviolet light air purifier sterilizes micro-organisms as they pass through, including viruses, germs, bacteria and mold. After they are treated with the ultraviolet light, the micro-organisms are no longer able to reproduce and grow. Ultraviolet light air purifiers do not work against smoke, odors, allergens or chemicals.

Choosing the right type of air purifier can be challenging, but by understanding their main differences, an educated choice can be made based on someone’s specific needs.

The following are features to consider when purchasing the proper unit:

  1. Performance. Look for a unit that removes a high amount of particles from the air, including smaller-sized pieces.
  2. Air volume capacity. Choose a unit that is recommend for your size room. This is usually expressed as square feet.
  3. Particular health concerns. Consider what substances you want to be removed from the air: smoke, germs, bacteria, etc.
  4. Manufacturer. Choose a purifier that has a reputable manufacturer. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers is a great source.
  5. Indoor factors. If there is a particular pollutant affecting your health, look for a unit that works best at eliminating it.
  6. Cost of operating. Replacement filters do cost so make sure to look at the replacement interval and the cost of filters.
  7. Quality of construction. Make sure the warranty covers the internal parts of the unit.
  8. Ease of use. Make sure the unit is easy to operate, clean and change the filter
  9. Noise while operating. Is the unit considered ‘whisper quiet’? You can request its operating noise values before you make a purchase. Quieter units are around 35 decibels.
  10. Warranty. Look for a long-term and comprehensive warranty

For an existing home and central air system, the easiest and most affordable method is an air purifier that is designed for only one room and used in that targeted room. A room air purifier works more efficiently and is more cost effective when a purifier is needed for only one room. An effective unit for a room can cost less than $300 and provides good results.

As an alternative, a whole house purifier can be purchased, but may cost thousands of dollars, depending on the installation and electrical needs of the unit.

Commercial air purifiers work by removing harmful contaminants that are circulating in the air. They are used worldwide to improve hygienic environments, remove odors, gases, smoke and other types of indoor air pollution. Commercial air purifiers are used today in schools, offices, hospitals, bars, restaurants, food plants, factories and farms.

Home air purifier told you what Air Purifiers Don’t Do

So an air purifier will magically solve all of my problems?

We wish it was true.

Think of it this way: your allergy medication helps to relieve your symptoms by working with your body. A home air purifier helps to relieve those same symptoms by working to prevent your body from exposure to the triggers. It’s a small but important distinction.

Overall, we think that air purifiers are pretty great, but we should add a few words of caution:

  1. Not all air purifiers are created equally. There are plenty of air purifiers on the market that use technology that simply doesn’t work. Here at Air Purifiers America we don’t stock ineffective products. We offer only proven and tested units that actually deliver pure air.
  2. Air purifiers aren’t a cure-all. We wish they were, and though we have thousands of customers that swear by their air purifiers, the reality is that air purifiers can bring relief, but they won’t cure your asthma or allergies.
  3. Air purifiers won’t clean your house for you. Trust us, we would love to give up dusting (and vacuuming and laundry), too, but air purifiers are limited to cleaning the air that is circulating in your home. They help lessen the long-term accumulation of dust, but they can’t pick up any pollutants that have already settled out of the air, or dirt that’s been tracked in by your puppy. So even though you may notice that you don’t have to dust or sweep as frequently, we can’t promise you perpetually clean floors and furniture.

That said, the list of “can do’s” is far great than the list of “can’t do’s”.

How to Buy an Air Purifier for your home

We’re glad you asked! After being introduced to air purifier technology you might wonder, “This is great, but what does my home air purifier actually do?” It’s a great question; understanding what air purifiers do is important for picking the right one.

To Put it Simply: Air Purifiers Clean the Air

Air purifiers clean your air by passing it through a filtering process that is targeted at removing one or more types of pollutants—dust, allergens, odors, chemicals, and so on.

What the best air purifier has

  • HEPA filtration. HEPA filtration is regarded by experts as the most effective type of filtration for removing allergens and small particles from the air. Other filters are designed to mimic this effectiveness, but few achieve the ability to remove particles down to 0.1 microns in size or smaller.
  • High maximum air-exchange rate. Maximum air-exchange rate refers to the amount of air an air cleaner is capable of passing through its system in a minute. Air purifiers with higher maximum air-exchange rates will clean the air faster than those with lower rates.
  • Filter-change alert. Many air purifiers come with a counter to let you know when it’s time to change the filter. Some operate on a daily-countdown basis, while others actually base this information on the state of the filter.
  • Dust sensor or air-quality monitor. A few air purifiers have automatic sensors to detect how polluted the air is, with the ability to adjust the purifier’s cleaning speed accordingly without manual intervention. This, of course, provides users with less precise control over energy consumption and noise levels, but it’s a useful feature if you’ll be using an air purifier in a non-occupied space.
  • Several fan speeds. Most air purifiers have multiple fan speeds, which adjust the speed at which the air is cycled through the unit. There’s a direct correlation between higher fan speeds and more noise, however.
  • Large capacity. If you need an air purifier for a small space, more affordable options are practical. But for larger rooms, you’ll need to purchase a more expensive model capable of handling more square footage.
  • Reasonable cost of ownership. Most air purifiers have long-life filters that must be replaced every three to five years. Some models have more than one filter, while others come with a permanent filter meant to be vacuumed periodically instead of replaced. The more frequently you have to replace the filter, the more it will cost you over time.
  • No or very low ozone. Experts say that ozone is effective in neutralizing odors and chemical gases. They also say that this is a classic case where the cure is worse than the disease as high-levels of ozone can be toxic. If you opt for an electronic air purifier, chose a design that emits low or, better still, no ozone. Skip ozone generators sold as air cleaners altogether.

Know before you go

Do you want a whole-house or room air purifier? Experts say that a room air purifier might not be necessary for most individuals. Some owners say they’ve experienced significant relief from allergy symptoms with the use of a $25 furnace filter that works with an existing household unit.

Do you have severe allergy or asthma symptoms? Owners and experts agree that for individuals suffering from severe allergy or asthma symptoms, the investment in top-of-the-line air purifiers is worth it. But if you suffer from only mild symptoms or simply want to reduce smoke or pet dander in your home, a more affordable model can do the trick.

How much space do you have? Air purifiers can be heavy and bulky, with some requiring a few feet of clearance on all sides. Be sure to measure your available space and allow for all space considerations before you buy.

What room will you use an air purifier in? If you’re planning to use an air purifier in your bedroom, for instance, you’ll want to choose a model with a noise level that you can tolerate while sleeping. In living spaces, choose an air purifier with adjustable speed settings so you can turn it up to a higher setting when you’re not in the room to be disturbed by the noise.

Value expectations: The dollars and cents of it

Air purifiers aren’t cheap to own. Many cost several hundred dollars up front, and most replacement filters are fairly expensive — some cost as much as $100 for the HEPA filter, with additional costs for prefilters and carbon filters. Some air purifiers require more frequent filter replacements, which adds to the cost over time. Owners suggest purchasing multiple filter packs online to save money. For those suffering from severe allergies or asthma, the cost is often worth it, and you may be able to purchase it with FSA funds with the proper documentation from your medical professional. Others should try more affordable options, such as furnace filters, which cost significantly less and can be just as effective for most people. While there aren’t a lot of complaints about malfunctioning air purifiers, many models offer warranties of five years for peace of mind. Also, keep in mind that if you can hunt down and eliminate sources of allergens and odors, you might be able to do without an air purifier altogether.