How to Choose The Best Home Air Purifier

Allergens, pet dander, VOCs, and mold spores can wreak havoc on the indoor air quality of your home, leading to respiratory issues, increased allergies, and asthma problems. The good news is that a home air purifier could solve your IAQ concerns. Home air purifiers work by filtering or destroying the contaminants in the air and delivering clean air for you to breathe.

The question is, how do you choose the right air purifier system for your home? To find the air purifier best suited to your specific needs, it is essential to understand the types of systems and how to find the right size for your home.

What Should I Look For in an Air Purifier

There are many options when looking for the best air purifiers. Some are better for large rooms, some for small rooms, and others for specific levels of allergens in your home. In some cases, the noise level of each system may play a role in your buying decision. Knowing how they work and the available types is crucial to find the best whole home air purification system. Below are the different types of air purification systems to find the best option for your specific needs.

HEPA

True HEPA filters, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air systems, utilize HEPA filters to trap up to 99.97% of particulate that measures more than 0.3 microns. The filters in these systems are made of a fiber-like material designed to trap dust, allergens, and even bacteria and viruses, depending on their rating. The system works by continuously passing the air through the filter where it will be cleaned. The more often the airflow passes through the filter, the more particulates will be removed, and the cleaner your home’s air will be. HEPA air purifiers use a stage filtration system where larger particles will be immediately trapped when they enter the filter. Smaller particles will be caught up in the maze of folds. While HEPA air purifier systems are typically the best at the removal of airborne particles, they do not have the capability of removing gasses, chemicals, or odors from your home. Replacement filters will be needed about every six months in these systems.

Activated Carbon

Another option for your air purification systems is an air purifier that uses an activated carbon filter. These filter types are extremely porous, which provides them with a wide area to absorb pollutants. The highly absorbent pores in these filters make them ideal for trapping gasses, tobacco smoke, emissions, and other odors.

Once the filter traps the pollutants, the clean air will be recirculated into the room. This option is ideal for homeowners looking to remove odors and those sensitive to volatile organic compounds, or VOCs.

Negative Ion

Negative ion air purifiers work through chemical injections. The negative ions in the system will attract airborne particles, such as dust, binding to them and making them too heavy to remain in the air. The particles will then drop.

Ozone

Ozone air purifiers are considered one of the safest and most effective air cleaning systems. These systems work by producing gas ozone which can help to improve the air at the proper levels. Still, the EPA, Environmental Protection Agency, and other health agencies have not tested their efficacy and safety in controlling indoor air pollution.

Unfortunately, it can take years for the ozone emitted to affect the air. Since these systems don’t remove particulates, they are typically paired with negative ionizers to help improve the air. Some companies also claim that their ozone cleaners can reduce the growth of harmful biological agents, but this typically only occurs when the concentrations are significantly higher than would be found in the household.

Since these systems have not been thoroughly tested, they are best avoided by those with health conditions such as asthma.

UV Technology

Some air purifiers use UV technology, which is often paired with some time of the particulate filter system. These systems work in both small spaces and larger rooms. While the particulate filter will trap the dust and other microscopic allergens, the UV lights will destroy microorganisms, such as bacteria and viruses. The level of effectiveness for destroying harmful bacteria and viruses will depend on the wattage of the light and the length of time the system exposes the pollutants to it. If you are looking for a system that can help reduce typical air pollutants and battle bacteria and viruses, a UV light system with either HEPA or activated carbon filtration would be ideal. This type of air cleaner is not as popular as other options since it is not as effective at cleaning some particulates and does not absorb harmful pollutants in the air. Complete removal will require the particulate to be cleaned off the floor, walls, or other surfaces. These systems will simply transfer it to the floor or walls so they are no longer floating in the air.

Smart Air Purifiers

While many air purifiers may be operated by remote controls, smart air purifiers can connect to Alexa devices and other home assistants for voice-activated control. These systems can be any filter or cleaning type listed above but are designed to be compatible with smart devices.

What Size Air Purifier Do I Need?

Determining the air purifier will mainly have to do with the square footage of your home and the number of dust particles, VOCs, and other airborne contaminants in your home. For an air purifier to remove the particulate matter in your home, you will need to determine the number of sq. ft. the system will need to clean.

Your ultimate goal is to determine the Clean Air Delivery Rates, or CADR rating. This measurement tells you how much the air moves.

Determining this will require calculating the air exchange per hour rate. The ACH rate will be how often you want the room’s air turned over within an hour. A low air exchange per hour rate will be 1 to 3 times, whereas a good rate will be between 4 and 15. Most homeowners try to fall in the range of 4 to 5.

To determine the CADR rating, or CFM, cubic feet/minute, you will need to multiply the length x width x height x the air changes per hour you desire and divide that total by 60. If the space you cover reaches 400 CFM, you will likely need more than one unit.

bedroom air filter

What is The Best Place to Put an Air Purifier?

Choosing the right place for your air purifier is almost as important as ensuring you have the right size system for the square feet in your home. Some may choose to have their air cleaner in their living room which is often a central location in the house, but one of the places where it will provide the greatest benefits is in your bedroom. Most people spend a significant amount of time in their bedroom, and it is also where they get most of their rest. Placing your air purifier in the bedroom will provide clean air while you sleep and reduce the overall amount of air pollution you will be exposed to during the day. If you choose to place it in your bedroom, room size, fan speed, and noise level will play a factor in the location of its placement. You should place your purifier at least three feet off the ground and in a more central location to ensure that the most pollutants are removed and the airflow is maintained at the proper speed setting.

Pollutants Removed From Your Air by an Air Purifier

If you have an air quality monitor in your home, you will likely notice fluctuations throughout the year based on the varying pollutants in and out of the house. While air purifiers can not remove all particulate matter, VOCs, bacteria, and viruses from your home, they can help reduce the amount in your home and improve the overall indoor air quality. Some of the most common pollutants an air purifier can remove from your home include:

  • Allergens: Pet dander, dust mites, and other allergens that can trigger respiratory issues can be removed with a HEPA filter air purifier.
  • Mold: Mold particles can lead to significant health concerns, and an air purifier can provide the filtration needed to remove mold spores from the air.
  • Smoke: Smoke can trigger asthma symptoms and irritate allergies. While air purifiers will not remove the smell of smoke from your home altogether, they can significantly reduce it.
  • Toxins: Harmful VOCs emitted from cleaning, personal care, and freshening products can reduce the indoor air quality of your home. Certain air purifiers can trap these chemicals and toxins to remove a large portion of them from the air.

Understanding Your Air Purification Rating

To truly find the right air purification system for your home, you must understand the air purification rating of each system and what it means in terms of pollutant removal. All filters in an air purification system will come with a MERV rating which will give you insight into how effectively the filter will remove specific sizes of particulates. Filters with higher MERV ratings will trap the smallest particles, while those with lower ratings are designed to trap large particles. It is important to note that the highest rating is not typically used for a residential home. The highest MERV ratings are for filtration systems, such as hospitals, where sterile environments are needed. In most cases, mid-range MERV ratings, 8-16, will be sufficient for household use. Air filters in those ranges will filter out the most common contaminants in the home, such as: pollen, dust mites, mold spores, some VOCs, smoke, and pet dander. Some filter options are washable, but most will require replacement after a certain length of time.

MERV rating chart

Superior Home Supplies Has the Air Purification System for Your Home

Whether you are looking for energy star-rated systems, systems to filter out a wide range of contaminants, or systems that operate at a quiet decibel, Superior Home Supplies has the solution to improve the indoor air quality in your home.

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