Since most of us spend a lot of time indoors than outdoors when at home, we need to make sure that we are inhaling good air quality to stay healthy and away from different types of airborne ailments. Your indoor air can get polluted due to dust and dirt, mildew and molds, human dander, pet hair, your heating and cooling equipment, kitchen fumes, allergy-causing pollen from indoor flowers, and more. An air purifier can even remove viruses while creating a cleaner, healthier air in your home.
But before you buy an air purifier, here are some tips and guidelines to consider:
1. Make sure you really need an air purifier
First of all, are you really sure that your home needs one? Sometimes, your indoor air problems can be remedied through small adjustments. Let’s admit it, buying a new appliance for the house means additional expense, additional increase for your electric bill and additional item to clean and maintain. If it’s not a necessity, you shouldn’t need to buy one.
Before you resort to buying an air purifier, try some simple steps to reduce air irritants first. Don’t smoke indoors and ban it to every smoker who will enter your home. Maintain your heater and air conditioner and change its filters regularly. Clean and vacuum often and thoroughly using vacuum cleaners with high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration. Use exhaust fans for your kitchen, laundry room and bathroom. Keep the use of candles and wood fires to a minimum. And don’t store chemicals near your living quarters, like near your couch, bed or wherever you usually hang out.
If you did all these things religiously and your air still feels off, then you need an air purifier. You probably also need a purifier if you got allergies, asthma, pets, chemical sensitivities, and if you use wood in your fireplace.
2. Know what type of contaminants need to be filtered
Air purifiers do their purpose by circulating air through a filter. A certain model of air purifier may only address some pollutants or can be capable of handling many at once. So to choose the right filter, know what type of contaminants you need to be absorbed out of your indoors. Here are the contaminants you might need filtered.
- HEPA (High-efficiency particulate air)
Air purifiers with HEPA filters filter out dust, dirt, pet and human dander and a variety of allergens. If you’re looking for improving your air generally, this is the type of air purifier you should get. Certified HEPA filters are proven to eliminate 99.97% of common airborne allergens including dust, dust mites, mold spores, pet dander and pollen. This is recommended for those with allergies due to its effectiveness in filtering allergens.
If you are more concerned about lowering volatile organic compounds (VOC) levels in your home, a carbon filter is more suitable for you. These type of air purifier filters out VOCs from household items, human odors, pets, cooking and the like. The carbon filters absorb a wide variety of chemicals and can work well under a wide range of humidity levels and temperature.
3. Assess the right size of air purifier you need
To choose the right air purifier, consider the square footage of the room you want to place it. Air purifiers are only equipped to filter a specific amount of space, so you need to consider the size of the area. Generally speaking, one air purifier won’t be enough to purify the air for your entire house, so consider the space dimensions. You may want to start purifying the air in the living room and bedroom – these are the two high-impact areas you need to focus on. If there’s someone with an allergy in your home, you may also consider adding a purifier on the kitchen and bathrooms.
Calculate the square footage of your home by measuring the length and width of the room and multiply the numbers together. With this measurement in hand, check the recommended square footage area indicated in the air purifier’s specs.
Generally, small air purifiers are designed for spaces or rooms up to 300 square feet. Medium-sized ones are for rooms around 300 to 700 square feet. Large air purifiers are for rooms between 700 to 1,900 square feet.
4. Know what kind of features you need
Consider whether or not you need any special features. Here are some of the additional features you may or may not need in an air purifier.
- Remote control – This allows you to adjust your air filter settings remotely.
- Multiple fan speeds – This setting allows you to adjust to your air-cleaning needs. You can set it lower when you are sleeping or working, or higher when it’s allergy season.
- Carrying handle – This makes it easy to move and transport the air purifier. This is a must-have feature if you’re looking for a portable air purifier.
- Programmable timer – This allows you to set the purifier to run a few hours automatically, or to let it turn off by itself.
- Washable pre-filter – This collects large particles and can help cut overall costs. When choosing an air purifier with a filter, make sure you know when to change it.
- Servicing indicator – This lets you know when the filter needs to be replaced or when the unit needs to be cleansed.
- Air quality sensor – Air purifiers with an air quality sensor automatically adjusts the fan speed to the level of pollutants in the air.
- Ionizer – This attracts particles via static electricity. If your unit has one, make sure it doesn’t produce ozone, which can irritate the lungs.
If you have allergies or asthma, consider the air purifier’s air change per hour (ACH) rate as well. This refers to how many times an air purifier can filter the entire air in the space each hour. Air purifiers that can clean the air at least 4 times per hour are best for allergy and asthma sufferers.
5. Determine the quietness level
The noise level of an air purifier is an important consideration, especially if you’ll be placing it in a room where you sleep and work. Noise is a common complaint among air purifiers, so it is recommended to pick a large unit and run it in a lower setting rather than using a small one. A small purifier may need to work harder, thus creating more noise. Or better yet, you can explore a more state-of-the-art purifier that addresses noise issues.
6. Know how much maintenance is needed for the air purifier you choose
If you’re going to pick a purifier with a filter, you must be willing to replace the filters at a recommended time or interval to maintain the unit’s effectiveness. And when you’re shopping, make sure you consider the cost and frequency of future filter replacements. For instance, a HEPA filter may last for a year, while an activated carbon filter can last six months. A pre-filter typically lasts for three months.
Meanwhile, there are other types of air purifiers, such as those that use air sterilization using heat and ultraviolet light. These doesn’t need filter replacements, which you can consider if you don’t want additional upkeep.