How to find the best air purifier for your home?

Did you know the air inside your home might be 2-5 times more contaminated with pollutants than outside (EPA); be it animal dander, cigarette smoke, or soot?

Installing air purification in your home is a good investment in your health, for the short and long term. Short term health effects of air pollution include eye, nose and throat irritation; bronchitis and pneumonia; allergic reactions; and, in some cases, pollution can exacerbate pulmonary issues that can lead to death. Long-term health effects from air pollution include heart disease, lung cancer, and respiratory diseases such as emphysema. Air pollution can also cause long-term damage to people's nerves, brain, kidneys, liver, and other organs.

The Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR for short, of an air purifier can help in finding a suitable air purifier for home use. It is a numerical value assigned to an air purifier based on independent tests performed for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (or AHAM). There are three CADR ratings. These represent the air cleaners' effectiveness against three different common indoor air particulate pollutants: tobacco smoke, pollen, and dust. AHAM recommends a "two thirds" rule when it comes to the first rating: "You'll always want a unit with a tobacco smoke CADR at least 2/3 your room's area."

Even though CADR scores are helpful in comparing air purifiers, there are a few considerations to keep in mind. Ed Sherbenou, an air purifier expert who runs the website Air Purifier Power, clearly identifies what CADR ratings do not say about air purifiers.

  1. Small Particle Filtration Effectiveness Not Shown - CADR numbers do not adequately inform customers of a purifier's ability to filter out very small particles. Yet these are the most numerous, and often the most dangerous, pollutants. Looking at an air cleaner's Clean Air Delivery Rate, you cannot tell how effective it is in dealing specifically with these tiniest bits of matter. Many air purifiers eliminate larger particles very well but are almost completely incapable of removing smaller ones from circulation.
  2. Gas Filtration Not Measured - The test does absolutely nothing to measure a purifier's ability to rid the air of gaseous pollutants, such as dangerous Volatile Organic Compounds. The three CADR numbers all refer to particulate pollution only, which is very different from gaseous pollution. Air purifiers vary wildly in their ability to deal with the latter. Because cleaning gas pollution requires different mechanisms from cleaning solid particle pollution, a purifier's effectiveness at reducing gas is completely unrelated to its effectiveness at reducing particles.
  3. Doesn't Show Decline in Effectiveness Over Time - Because the test is short, it does not account for the fact that some purifiers will decline in effectiveness over time.
  4. Purifiers Run At Their Highest Settings - Fourth, in the ANSI/AHAM AC-1 test, purifiers are always run on their highest setting. But users will often use lower settings to reduce noise, and this can drastically reduce the efficiency of an air cleaner.

Reviews.com created a guide to find a high performing air purifier, based on their CADR ratings, but also taking some of the considerations into account.Their research team started with a roundup of 85 portable purifiers designed for home use. After testing them for performance (CADR scores), noise, ease of use, they evaluated them for the presence of HEPA filters, pre-filters and secondary filters (such as charcoal filters). Depending on the type, HEPA-filters can remove the smaller and more harmful particles. Adding a pre-filter prolongs the lifespan on the HEPA-filter and the secondary filters such as charcoal can extract odor particles from the air. Keep in mind that replacement filters and energy use will affect your bottom line, especially considering that air purifiers are typically left on all the time to do their thing.

You can read more about the research methodology of Reviews.com at https://www.reviews.com/air-purifier/, based on which they present 2 top picks:
  • Winix 5500-2 Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology. Reason being: Excellent clean-air ratings, slick looks, and killer bells and whistles at budget prices make this an easy top pick. A Close Runner-Up: 
  • Coway 4-Stage Filtration System with Air Quality Indicator. Reason being: Equally lightweight, quiet, and effective as their top pick. If you prefer the looks of the Coway, it's a great choice.

When installing an air purifier in your bedroom, make sure it isn’t too close to walls or furniture, as most units work best when they can take in air from all sides. Situate the purifier roughly 6 to 10 feet from your bed (specifically, the headboard), with the registers facing you — this should help facilitate the flow of clean air toward you while you sleep.







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Insight in Air Quality | Air quality, health and environment: How to find the best air purifier for your home?
How to find the best air purifier for your home?
Insight in Air Quality | Air quality, health and environment
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