Guide to Air Cleaners for the Home

Air pollution has always been a major concern, but when we speak of air pollution we often refer to the air outside the home.  These days, people are more concerned about pollutants in the air indoors, especially those pollutants that cause asthma or trigger allergies. 

As more and more children are being diagnosed with breathing problems and respiratory ailments, there is a growing need for efficient air cleaners for home use.  With so many types of air purifiers available today, you have to find out how to choose the best air cleaner for you and your family.

Indoor Pollutants

Dust is a major pollutant inside many homes, and indoor air can be 2 to 5 times as polluted as the air outdoors.  This is according to the estimate of the Environmental Protection Agency.  Dust is the generic terms for the tiny residues that come off a house and its occupants.  It can include pollution from the fireplace, skin, cooking smoke, pet dander, molds, fungi, pollen, mildew, plant spores and other sources. 

Dust eventually gathers on furniture, floors, shelves, etc.
People who have allergies, asthma and other bronchial problems can suffer badly from airborne pollutants.  Visible dust is approximately 10 microns in diameter.  The dust that you breathe in is typically 0.3 micron in size.

Other indoor pollutants include noxious odors and gases.

The Best Filters In Air Cleaners

If you want fresh air in your home you have to get an air cleaner with the best filters.  Cigarette smoke has very small particles and is difficult to eliminate, unless you have the right filters in your air purifier.  HEPA or High Efficiency Particulate Air filters are recommended if you want to remove at least 99.97% of contaminants in the air inside your home.  HEPA filters can remove even those particles that are 0.3 microns in size.

To enhance the efficiency of air purifiers, a combination of filters is often used.  Some products are equipped with pre-filters, activated carbon filters, electrostatic precipitators and the like for cleaner air in the home.  Experts do not recommend the use of ionic-type filters because they are not very effective and they emit ozone as a by-product.  Ozone is considered an air pollutant and can trigger breathing problems in sensitive individuals.

Numbers That Matter

When shopping for an air purifier, one of the numbers to consider is the CADR or Clean Air Delivery Rate.  This number is an indicator of the product’s ability to remove pollutants from air.  A higher number means the air purifier is more efficient and better at cleaning.  To determine what CADR you need for a room, multiply the square footage of the room by 0.75.  This will give you the minimum CADR to look for in an air purifier.

You also have to figure out the CFM (cubic feet per minute) of air that moves through the unit.  In general, 250 square feet of space requires about 100 CFM.  Room models can provide up to 400 CFM while tabletop models offer up to 175 CFM.  You may also want to choose a model that isn’t too noisy and has an air intake and output on opposite sides for maximum efficiency.

Air cleaners for the home are becoming more efficient and affordable.  They also offer more features including energy efficiency.

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