Room Air Purifiers: Five Vital Criteria
Recognizing the truth about indoor air quality and the need for air filtration is just the first step in what can be an extremely confusing and challenging process. There is a lot of competition on the market right now. There is also a great deal of misinformation on the internet and available from other sources. Weaving through the marketing and making sense of it all can be a daunting task. Of course, we all want to secure the purest indoor air possible for our children and ourselves. We also don’t want to spend money unnecessarily. So in order to help, we have identified the five most important features that a quality room air purifier should have.
Employs medical-grade HEPA filtration
A true medical-grade HEPA filter extracts 99.97 percent of all particulate matter down to 0.3 microns in size. HEPA filters remove dust, pet dander, dust mite allergens, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, pollen, and many other tiny airborne pollutants. The industry calls it medical grade HEPA because this is the level of efficiency demanded by hospitals and other medical environments. By opting for medical-grade HEPA filtration, we’re opting for the perfect balance between effectiveness, practicality and cost. Be wary of products with ambiguous labels, such as “HEPA-like.” Less reputable companies use this type of marketing to sell inferior products at higher prices.
Employs a high-capacity pre-filter
A pre-filter plays a number of important roles one of which is extending the life of your room air filter system. The high-capacity pre-filter is the first line of defense, and it is responsible for trapping the largest pollutants. This allows the other stages to operate longer and more efficiently. Room air purifiers without high-capacity pre-filtration have a much larger total cost of ownership. Since the pre-filter is not trapping the large particles, the HEPA filter is, and therefore it does not last as long nor does it operate as efficiently.
Employs an activated carbon stage
Activated carbon filters provide an added benefit over a HEPA filter alone. Through a process called adsorption, activated carbon removes vapors, gases, and fumes, including smoke, smog, and a multitude of odors, as well as volatile organic compounds (or VOCs).
Activated carbon is carbon that is treated with oxygen to make it more permeable. That permeability allows for much greater surface area, so as gasses, chemicals and other pollutants pass through the carbon, it traps them more easily and in greater amounts. When used in conjunction with HEPA filtration, activated carbon can bring clean air to a whole new level.
Does not promote off gassing
Off gassing, or outgassing, is the release of gas previously trapped or dissolved within another material. The reason why this is important with room air purifiers is that some manufacturers use low-quality plastic in the construction of their units in order to save money. What happens with this low-grade plastic is that it releases toxic chemicals into your air over time. This process is extremely counterproductive because the air purifier is simultaneously purifying and degrading your indoor air quality.
Does not emit ozone
Many low-quality air cleaners emit ozone which can actually degrade your indoor air quality and cause several unpleasant side effects. Ozone is very harmful in large doses. It is also an irritant to people who suffer from asthma and allergies. In those cases, even small levels of ozone can cause big problems. The most common form of ozone-emitting air cleaners is the ionizer which uses an electrostatic process to clean the air. Avoid this type of filtration in favor of the tried and true HEPA and activated carbon filtration systems.
- Administration Staff