Did you know that indoor air can actually be more harmful than outdoor air?
Research published in the journal Science Of The Total Environment showed that air pollution does not necessarily occur outdoors only. Air pollution also takes place inside, from cooking residue to paints and fungal spores.
One way to combat this is with an air purifier. But not all air purifiers are created equal.
Considering we spend about 90% of our time inside, think about what indoor air contains. Of course there’s the ubiquitous dust, but there are also particles and gas from everyday household products.
Add outdoor pollution that seeps in and inadequate ventilation – each breath we draw puts us at risk of allergies and respiratory diseases.
But don’t let manufacturer claims fool you. The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) measures the volume of filtered air (in cubic feet per minute or CFM) that an air purifier (on its highest setting) delivers into a standard sized room.
With CADR, it’s easy to tell which air purifier works best. The key numbers for the most common indoor pollutants are tobacco smoke, dust and pollen. The higher the CADR number, the faster the rate of removing these air pollutants.
CADR is independently tested and certified by the Association Of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). It’s often the first step and one of the most important factors in buying a room air purifier. For the best results, look for the AHAM Verifide symbol alongside the CADR number.
An air purifier can help mitigate health issues related to indoor air pollution. But there are many factors involved, like the type of filter technology contributing to efficiency. Be sure to identify the contaminants you want to eliminate and select your air purifier accordingly.
It’s important to select an air purifier with the capacity to handle the total air volume continuously. Use some basic geometry to choose the right size – measure the length and width of the room and multiply to get the total area in sq m.
The AHAM recommended room size of an air purifier is based on five air changes per hour, meaning the unit filters the total air volume in the room every 12 minutes.
Ensure the recommended room size on the AHAM label matches that of your room, although you can’t go wrong with an air purifier that filters the air in the room five times per hour. Which means you should look out for an air purifier that gives you a minimum of 5 ACH (Air Exchange Per Hour).
The WHO’s (World Health Organisation) guidelines for acceptable levels of continuous background noise indoors is below 45dB during the day and 35dB at night.
To figure out how much electricity an air purifier consumes, check the wattage – the higher the wattage, the more power it uses. Look for the Energy Star label when you make your choice. Energy Star is synonymous with electricity efficiency and power savings.
Here are the most reliable sources for unbiased information on performance and energy efficiency:
• AHAM, which publishes independent test results and CADR performance ratings, and accredited as a standards developing organisation by the American National Standards Institute (ahamverifide.org).
• Energy Star, a voluntary energy efficiency programme established by the US Environmental Protection Agency and US Department Of Energy (energystar.gov).
Before buying, be a smart shopper and verify the legitimacy of the company and performance claims. Most room air purifiers come with a limited warranty covering only what’s specified.
Smart consumers would shop around for the best product, and the best long-lasting warranty available. Warranties are usually available at point of purchase, even online. Don’t forget to submit the required forms to make sure your newly purchased air purifier is covered.
Make the best choice of air purifier to suit your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing you and your family are well protected against the onslaught of pollution.