Purification Technology and Filters
How well your air purifier performs will depend entirely on the kind of technology it employs and the filters it uses. You will find that many purifiers use similar kinds of technology and that they use a combination of different filter types available to them.
There are many kinds of filters such as pre-filters, HEPA filters, activated carbon filters, and others. These filters work in the following ways:
A pre-filter is used to capture the very large particles like dust, lint, and hair which are often visible but not always picked up by manual cleaning. If a pre-filter is missing, then these particles will be picked up by the HEPA filter, which reduces the HEPA filter’s ability to carry out its main task.
A HEPA filter captures invisible allergens which are found in the air such as dust mites, pollen, and pet dander. These often cause allergies to flare up, and they can be a danger to people with asthma.
Some air purifiers will use a HEPA-Type filter which is not exactly the same as a true HEPA filter. Bear this in mind while making your purchase. True HEPA filters have undergone tests which have proven that they are capable of trapping at least 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. HEPA-Type filters are based on the same technology but are not proven to be as effective as true HEPA filters.
Activated carbon filters are used to remove harmful materials such as gasses and tobacco smoke from the air. These filters are also used to remove odors from the air, which is can be an important step in improving overall air quality in your home.
Ionic filters, plasma technologies, and UV lights are used to kill airborne bacteria and viruses in the air. These technologies can also effectively eliminate very strong odors. Ionic filters are often used in personal air purifiers, and they are known to produce ozone which, at high doses, can be harmful. If you suffer from asthma, then this is something you need to consider carefully before purchasing an air purifier with an ionic filter.
Certain manufacturers may treat filters with anti-bacterial agents or use silver particles. This is done in order to improve the device’s microbe and germ removal process.
How to Determine the Efficiency of the Device
Trying to work out how great a device is from the sales copy is almost impossible. Understandably, every manufacturer wants to make their product sound as amazing as possible, but that positive spin can make deciphering performance facts difficult. So, when determining how great the device is, we need to look for hard absolute facts presented by an independent third party. The CADR rating, assigned by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, is the best way for us to do this.
The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) allows you to understand how many cubic feet of air is filtered in one minute. This is worked out by the ability of a purifier to remove dust, smoke or pollen from the air. The rating works on an upward scale, so the more effective an air purifier, the higher the CADR rating.
How Much Area Does the Device Cover?
The most crucial part of choosing the correct air purifier is understanding exactly how much air you need to purify. In other words, how big is the space? Different air purifiers will be designed for different sized spaces. Some will aim to purify the air in a large, open-design family home, while some others will aim to simply cover the immediate area where you spend a lot of time, such as a single bedroom or entertainment room.
If you have a big family and you want to clean the air for all of them, then you want a device that is designed to do that specific job. In these situations, you will not benefit from buying a device which is only designed for the use of one person.
Many manufacturers will make it clear through advertising what their device is designed for; however, when it comes to choosing the device it can be difficult. While manufacturers will list the specifications of their device and the kind of rooms it is suited to, you would be wise not to rely entirely on the information they provide. There is a chance that they may bend the truth and give you a slightly inaccurate picture of what their device is suitable for. Your best option is to:
- Buy a device which covers a larger area than your room.
- Choose a device which has a CADR rating of 1 per 1 square foot.
By choosing something more powerful, you can ensure that the device should be strong enough for your needs. It also means that you should be able to use it at a lower level rather than on high all the time – which is also a bonus because it should keep the noise down!
This will also compensate for the fact that your house will not be up to the same standards, with all variables controlled, as the rooms in which the device was tested.
You may leave your doors or windows open, which let in more pollutants than the manufacturer expects. You are also likely to have pollutants coming in through leaky windows, the likes of which would not be seen in the testing areas. Buying a device with more purifying power than your room truly needs will ensure that you don’t end up disappointed by the results.
Are They All So Noisy?
If you have heard an air purifier at work, then you will know that the more powerful devices aren’t always as quiet as you might like. If you will use your purifier while you are sleeping or working at home, then you might think these stronger models are not suitable for you. But there’s good news! Manufacturers understand the desire for quieter performance, and there are models designed to be quieter and powerful.
As suggested previously, whether you choose a quieter model or not, the best thing to do is always look for a device that is more powerful than you need. This allows you to run the purifier on its lower settings when you want the room to be quieter. And, naturally, a purifier’s low setting will be quieter than its highest.
The biggest expenses throughout the life of an air purifier are replacement filters and energy consumption. As with all devices, some will be more efficient with electricity and filters than others. But no matter how efficient the device is, you will find that your use it is going to define how much you end up spending.
Commonly, filters need to be changed every three to twelve months, depending on how often you use your air purifier. The cost of filters may be quite high if you choose a high-end model purifier. The most expensive filters should be somewhere around $200, while the cheapest should be around $10.
There is no way that you can avoid the cost of filter replacements, but you can significantly reduce the frequency of having to replace your expensive HEPA filter by buying a purifier with a pre-filter. This will capture the largest particles in the air before they reach the HEPA filter, leaving your HEPA filter to focus on capturing the tiniest particles. You may also find some devices with washable and reusable filters, but you probably will need to replace these over time as they wear out.
Electricity costs are entirely unavoidable. Whether you have a purifier that is continually plugged in or whether you buy a battery-powered device – the cost is always there. The best way to ensure you are keeping these costs low is to buy a device that has the Energy Star label. These devices are tested to ensure that they are energy-efficient. Not only will this save you money on electricity, but it will also help the environment by reducing the emission of greenhouse gases.
There are so many different extra features on air purifiers that it is impossible to list them all! It is likely that you will find some useful features on your devices. Some purifiers come with timers, power indicators, and air quality sensors which can provide real benefits when used properly.
Look for the features that will really help you, but don’t allow added gimmicks to fool you into buying a low-quality air purifier. The best air purifier first and foremost does a quality job of purifying air and will have added features that benefit your specific needs. No added feature can fix an air purifier that is not powerful enough to clean the air in your home’s room(s).