Clean air buyer’s guide
A consumer’s guide to understanding and buying air purifiers
Wondering if an air purifier is right for you? Finding answers is easy when you know the right questions to ask. This guide will help you get started on your path to understanding and selecting the perfect air purifier for your space. For example, the higher the CADR (clean air delivery rates) the faster your air purifier will filter indoor air pollutants from the air you breathe.
Why do I need one?
What’s really floating around in the indoor air you breathe? Think about it. It’s important – especially when you consider that you spend about 90% of your time indoors.
Sure, there’s dust. But there are also particles and gases from everyday household products, such as cleaning supplies, paint and varnish to floors, carpets and upholstery treated with stain protectors. The list can be endless.
Then add the outdoor pollution – pollen, vehicle exhaust and industrial contaminants that seep in – and take into account inadequate indoor ventilation. Suddenly, the quality of your indoor air is sub-par. And every breath puts you at risk for respiratory disease and allergies if you don’t already suffer from indoor airborne contaminants.
Does it clean effectively?
Don’t be fooled by manufacturer claims. With the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) standard, it’s easy to tell which room air purifier works best. CADR measures the volume of filtered air in cubic feet per minute (CFM) that an air purifier, operating at its highest setting, delivers into a standard-sized room. There are three key numbers for the most common in indoor air pollutants: tobacco smoke, dust and pollen.
Sound like techno-jargon? Here’s a plain language interpretation. The higher the CADR number, the faster the rate at which the room air purifier removes indoor air pollutants. If two room air purifiers are doing the same job in a 200-square-foot room, and room air purifier #1 has a CADR dust rating of 180 and room air purifier #2 has a CADR dust rating of 220, room air purifier #2 does a better job at removing dust from indoor air.
CADR is independently tested and certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. It is often the first step and one of the most important factors to consider when buying a new room air purifier. Many air purifiers have a CADR number, but may not be verified by AHAM. For best results, look for the AHAM Verifide symbol.
What size do I need?
Indoor air quality is constantly affected by airborne contaminants that are always present, both inside and out. That is why it’s important to select an air purifier with the capacity to handle the total air volume on a continuous basis.
To choose the right air purifier size, use some basic geometry. Just measure the length and width of the room, then multiply the two for the total area in square feet. Standard room sizes are based on an eight-foot ceiling height. The AHAM recommended room size of an air purifier is based on five air changes per hour, which means that the unit filters the total air volume in the room every 12 minutes. Then make sure that the recommended room size on the AHAM label on the unit’s packaging matches the size of your room. But keep in mind that you can’t go wrong by purchasing an air purifier that filters the air in the room more than five times per hour. What you get is cleaner, fresher air – more often!
Will it help my health?
The best way to reduce adverse health effects related to indoor air pollution is to control or remove contaminants at the source. A room air purifier can help mitigate your health issue. But as always, there are many different factors such as type of filter technology that contribute to just how effective a room air purifier can be.
So be sure to identify which contaminants you want to eliminate from your indoor air and select your unit accordingly. By doing so, you are more likely to reduce allergy, asthma and other respiratory health risks and improve your overall well-being