Air purifiers are often used extensively throughout the day and night. For allergy sufferers, or during heavy pollen seasons, the usage can be quite extensive. A problem common to several bargain and lower cost models is that they are not very quiet. While some infants find the sounds of a vacuum soothing, most adults and children do not enjoy the sound of air being noisily pulled through a machine. The term “quiet” is not always defined the same to everyone in terms of decibels, and some companies have been know to be a bit generous with the term at times (at least according to reviews). Look for a model that denotes itself as being quiet and has customer reviews that back up the claim.
As an important appliance for the home, air purifiers tend be on for extended periods of time. When figuring out how much an air purifier will cost month to month, estimate how many hours per day you will want to run it then use these formulas: Kilowatt hours = (watts X hours) / 1,000 (then) kilowatt hours x current rate= costs. For example, you are considering a unit that uses 300 watts at the most and you want to run it 8 hours a day. (300 x 8)/1,000= 2.4 kilowatt hours. Average rate is 12.59 cent per kilowatt hours, which means for 8 hours a day, the cost to run it would be around $0.30/day,$9/month, or $108/year. One of the best ways to counter the costs of regularly using an air purifier is to look for models that are Energy Star rated.
In addition to how much power it will consume, there are other costs that many people overlook. Air purifiers come with one of three setups; they have completely washable filter systems, they have filters that need to be fully replaced, or they have a combination of reusable/washable and replaceable filters. When evaluating the total costs for a particular model, it is important to look up the type and pricing for replacement filters it requires. For models that have a washable filter, it is also important to look up if, and how often the company recommends complete filter replacement, and how much they cost as well.
The coverage area of an air purifier is one of the most important features to note. Units rated to cover 300 square feet will not produce desirable results, if placed in an open area, where the total square footage is much higher. To determine how much coverage you need, you will have to determine the square footage of the area it is going to be placed in. The easiest method to find the square footage is to use estimates, wherein you multiple the rough length and width of the room. For example, a small office that measures 10′ x 11′ will need a unit with at least 110 square feet of filtration coverage. Buying models that meet, but preferably, exceed the needed area of coverage tend to produce favorable results, and often is still quite cost effective.
Types Of Air Purifier Filtration
When looking for air purifiers, it is important to narrow down the search according to type. While the basic purpose of an air purification system is to help remove pollution and allergens from the air, not all forms of filtration are best suited for the task at hand. Some models are better at targeting dust, while others focus on pet allergens. To get the most from any air purifier, look for one that uses multiple filters.
One fairly common term among air purifiers is “pre-filter”. This refers to a basic layer of filtration that is used to catch particulates larger than 0.3 micron. In essence a pre-filter is there to catch larger bits of debris that may other clog a more advanced filter. Almost all air purifiers will have some form of pre-filter in place, but when shopping around, if looking for lower priced or portable models, that this basic component was not skipped over.
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters have become an industry standard among quality air purifiers and is easily the minimal level of filtration a good air purifier will have. HEPA filters can catch particulates as small as 0.3 microns, which is the size range that 99% of all allergens (dust, pollen, pet dander, ect.) fall into. If all you need is a basic dust and general allergen filter, then HEPA is all you need.
Activated Carbon Filtration
While 0.3 microns is quite small, there are nasty particulates that are finer. Foul odors, viruses, bacteria, tobacco smoke, and chemical fumes are examples of things that a HEPA filter alone cannot handle. To ensure that finer particulates are also captured, many air purifiers will use an activated carbon filter in addition to other filters. Look for models that mention either carbon, activated carbon, or even charcoal filtration if you need to tackle a finer range of allergens and respiratory irritants.
Charged Media (Ionizer)
Charged media, or ionizing, air purifiers work by giving the particulate in the air a positive charge before pulling it through a negatively charged surface. As the saying goes, “opposites attract”, and the result is a large range of particulates become trapped against the filter. The basic way describe the reaction is to think about static cling. In most models, the attracting filter is washable only requires cleaning one-two times a week. The only issue to watch out for is lower grade ionizers that actually produce pollution via ozone production, which can be very irritating to asthma patients.
Plasma Air Purifiers
Winix’s PlasmaWave is one of a few on the market that employs one of the latest concepts in air filtration. Plasma technology uses either a finite amount of heat or cold to split atoms of oxygen into both negative and positive particles. The theory is that these particles them bond to the particulates, or pollutants, and either modify them to be safer to breathe, or nullifies them as pollutants. Typically used in conjunction with other methods of filtration, plasma based filtration is one to look out for if you rather alternatives to ionizers.
Ultraviolet, UV for short, filters are fairly much what they sound like. Ultraviolet light is used to break down pollutions and harmful allergen (most typically virus and bacteria) particulates in the air as it passes through the unit. Some are set up for one, or both ways of airflow to be undergo the UV treatment. While popular, it is important to look for high quality units. Like ionizers, UV filtering in air purifiers can be done poorly and lead to creating more harm than good.
GermGaurdian is a company that is dedicated to providing consumers with home sanitizing technologies. They offer high quality air purifiers that come with a large selection of features and methods of purification. The style of their purification products range between small, table-top models designed for small offices, to their higher end models that can purify much larger areas, such as living rooms. A well known trademark of the company is to make use of more than one layer of purification and usually includes a UV aspect to help add a level of sanitizing benefits.
A company that has been a household name for generations, Whirlpool is known for their high quality products. Not generally known for being a low cost manufacturer, their air purifiers are one item that can be rather competitively priced. A trademark for most Whirlpool models of air purifiers is what the company calls “Whispure”, which is their system for making ultra-quiet purifiers. One feature that is unique of just about all Whirlpools is a tendency to use only replaceable filters with a pre-filter built into the framework, which can mean that the maintenance costs may add up over time.
Endorsed by allergists, Honeywell air purifiers utilize what they call True HEPA filtration systems. While the selection is limited, they do make a point to offer very user friendly models that cater to the two major reasons people make use of air purifiers; allergens and pets. In addition to being competitively priced, Honeywell are well known for using multiple filters in their purifiers, some of which are low maintenance and reusable, and others are low cost to replace.
Not as well known or established as other air purifier companies on the market, Coway has quickly made name for themselves in the industry over the last few years. They have a small collection of very stylish and effective air purifiers. Unlike most mid to high range models, the selection that they offer each has a very stylish appearance. To pair with this visually pleasing aspect, they have designed a four part system that can easily compete with any other in their respective price ranges.
IQAir is Swiss based a company dedicated to quality air purifiers. They offer two distinct lines of products for commercial and residential use. The high level of quality and precision that is a hallmark of the brand also comes with a higher than average price for their products. One thing that they can easily boast above other brands, is that their systems for residential use utilize much of the same technology that goes into their commercial, hospital grade systems.
Similar in background to IQAir, BlueAir is a company that specializes in high end, high performance air purification systems. What sets them apart from other brands that produce high end systems, is that they focus on making their unites exceedingly energy efficient and quiet. BlueAir units also have a distinct design style that is noted as being fairly compact. Their trademark SurroundAir technology in a patented technology that is only available from them.
Remote controls make using any appliance or electronic device more convenient. Given that air purifiers tend to be set out of the way, being able to turn it on/off and adjust its settings from anywhere in the area is a serious plus for most people. Despite it being a great concept for design, not many of the mid range brands incorporate it. IQAir, for example, is one brand that does include it with most of their models. For the majority of brands that don’t, it leaves the serious question of where best to place the air purifier in terms of convenience.
One possible explanation for why it can be tedious to find an air purifier that fits all your needs, including remote convenience, is that newer innovations are phasing dedicated remotes out. Honeywell, a brand already known for its user friendliness, has set a bar for convenience. They’ve introduced the concept of integrating control into your smart phone using Bluetooth technology. It is one move forward that is sure to pick up in popularity, as it is the epitome of convenience.
In the spirit of form and function, one feature that fellow organization enthusiasts will want to look for is a sleek and/or compact design. Nothing can be quite so wonderful as finding new piece of furnishing or appliance that fits perfectly into your room’s décor. It is something that manufacturers are well aware of and that some attempt to excel at; making aesthetics an essential part of the basic design.
Variety of Colors
One aspect that can be rather lacking in abundance is a choice in colors for air purifiers. Most, even the uniquely shaped ones, tend to fall into the limited shades of white, black, and gray. Certain brands, such as Coway and Austin have made attempts to expand on the typical palette, with the latter offering their air purifiers in seven different colors. When it comes to patterns or other decorations, it is better to look for models that blend with the room as they are, or that have enough surface area for you to add some decoration.
At times being able to combine functions into a single machine can be extremely convenient. In addition to cleaning the air, balancing the humidity can further increase the health benefits of reducing allergens. Typically found among higher end models, purifiers with built in humidifiers have gained some measure of popularity over the years, especially for use in nurseries.
Best Sizing Option
When considering an air purifier for your home, or workplace, it is important to consider if you will be needing more than one. For instance, if you are getting a small unit for your office or bedroom and the door is opened a fair bit during the day, the purifier may not be as effective. Opting for a unit that is rated for a slightly larger area can help compensate for the constant influx of outside air. When planning to clean up the air in an entire home, it is best to gather the total square footage by measuring each room and hallway and adding them up. Unless you invest in a very high end unit, you will likely need multiple units to fully handle load of an entire home.
Get Only What You Need
With the numerous setups available for air purifiers, it can be difficult to pinpoint which will likely work best for you. Before asking which is right, ask yourself “Why do I want one?” If all you need is something to help reduce allergens, such as dust and pollen, then you don’t need one with an ultra complex filtering system, as a standard HEPA would suffice. For pungent aromas and smoke, two to three layer filtration systems that have a HEPA and carbon filter can tackle both allergens and odors. UV and plasma wave filters are effective for destroying viruses and bacteria, but can be considered overkill if your filtration needs are mild, such as just a little bit of excess dust.
Low Maintenance Filters Are Best
Out of the common types of filters used, models such as many of the Honeywell series, have HEPA filters that can be easily maintained. They only require a bit of routine vacuuming, or washing, and lasts over a year before needing to be fully replaced. Reusable filters and systems designed to be easily cleaned, are also more cost effective than units that need their filters entirely replaced every few months.
Beware Of Ozone
There are several brands of “air purifiers” that generate ozone pollution due to poor design. Some studies have shown that people with asthma are especially susceptible to irritation from this type of ozone that is emitted by these so called air purifiers. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, some types of ionizing air purifiers have the potential to emit higher amounts of ozone than is considered safe, or acceptable.