Air Purifier Frequently Asked Questions

Air purifiers traditionally offer three kinds of filters: pre-filters, HEPA filters, and carbon filters.

1) The pre-filter is responsible for trapping large particles like dust, pollen, or pet dander.

2) A high efficiency particulate (HEPA) filter is an important component of a high-quality air purifier that can effectively remove tiny particles, in particular microorganisms from the air. HEPA was a standard defined and developed by the U.S. Department of Energy during the 1940s as part of their efforts to contain the spread of particles and contamination resulting from nuclear testing. To meet the HEPA standard, the filter must remove 99.97% or more of all particles which are 0.3 microns (micrometers) in diameter. This means for every 10,000 particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter, only three particles can pass through.

There are different types of HEPA filters. Be cautious about air purifiers with “HEPA like” and “HEPA Type” filters. These filters do not meet HEPA standards defined above, and provide lower quality of filtration. There are also different grades of HEPA filters. True HEPA ranges from H10-H12. H10-H12 HEPA filters remove 85 – 99.5% of all particles that are 0.1 microns in diameter and above. H13 – H14 HEPA filters are within the highest tier of HEPA filters and trap 99.95% and 99.995% of particles 0.1 microns in diameter and above.

Medical grade HEPA filters are generally within the highest tier of HEPA filters. They are used in hospital environments, pharmaceutical companies, and healthcare clinics which there is an increased risk of bacteria or virus transmission. Many of the high quality air purifiers in our store contain medical-grade HEPA filters which can filter out 99.97% of particles 0.3 microns and larger (or approximately 95% of particles 1 micron and above), making them very powerful for removing microorganisms such as bacteria, mold and viruses. For reference, pollen is approximately 30 microns in size, mold is 20 microns, bacteria is 1 micron and the coronavirus is 0.125 microns in size.

3) Carbon filters absorb chemicals gases and odors on their surface.  Carbon filters trap and filter chemicals like formaldehyde, volatile organic compounds, benzene via their tiny fissures and pores. Activated carbon is able to absorb more chemical compounds and gases.

Therefore, the depth of a carbon bed is important, as more carbon provides a larger surface area for chemicals to be absorbed. In addition, high quality air purifiers have specifically designed carbon blends to target specific chemicals, e.g. noxious gases and fumes from tobacco smoke, or from wildfire smoke.

Consider the contaminants in your area. Are you or does anyone in the home smoke? Are you consistently using cleaners or chemicals? Do you burn fires within the home? Do you see or smell mildew? Is there an attached garage where motorcycles, vehicles, or lawnmowers are stored? The exhaust fumes and chemicals that their vehicles emit filter into the air you breathe. If the answer to any of these questions is "Yes", or you have symptoms such as coughing, wheezing associated with exposure to these chemicals, indoor air pollution is likely a problem for you.  There are devices such as the Biaoling Air Quality monitor, or UHoo Smart Indoor Air Quality monitor which can determine the level of particulate matter, the level of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) or carbon dioxide present in the air. 

Volatile organic compounds, commonly known as VOCs are present in materials and products used in cleaning, solvents, personal care products, and in home construction and renovation. They are also in oil-based paint and smoke filled air. Exposure to VOCs can lead to headaches, fatigues, nausea, dizziness and eye irritation.

The air quality index is a year-round forecast that shows how polluted an area is. This is created by the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a measure of pollution levels. The EPA issues year-round AQI forecasts for most of the nation. Also included are maps that show how pollution levels change and move throughout the day. It is "real-time" information, so you can see current outdoor air quality.  Click here to see the pollution level in your area. 

The majority of air purifiers are relatively easy to maintain. While you might need to replace the filters, the process is meant to be easy. Some purifiers have cleanable filters that can result in a little more work for the user. All in all, they are designed to be user friendly and easy to manage.

For the best results, you will want to place the air purifier in an area of frequent use. The majority of people like to keep their air purifiers in their bedroom or the living room. As long as they are run continuously, they can offer ongoing support. Placing it in the bedroom can be great if you have symptoms that compromise the quality of your sleep.

Air purifiers are meant to be used continuously, not just when you are around. For best results, you will want to keep your air purifier going, even if you are not planning on spending time at home. Continuously running the air purifier allows it to keep the air quality high regardless of what happens, which keeps you protected from contaminants. When you are away from home, you can always run your purifier on a lower setting.

Depending on the air purifier that you invest in, the answer to this question will vary. Many people are concerned about investing in an air purifier because they are intended for continuous use and can lead to a consistent drain in energy. On average, HEPA air purifiers can consume 50 to 200 watts of electricity. This is generally more than a lamp. But ultimately less than something like a computer. On average, customers spend between $10-$20 on electricity costs per month for running an air purifier.

CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate. This is a rating system that shows the effectiveness of the product and its operations. In order to get this rating, manufacturers must submit their products to the program for a fee. An independent team will then be used to evaluate the device in order to ensure that it meets the standards that the manufacturer is claiming. This is one way to buy a more credible device to ensure that it really can help improve the quality of your air. After the study, a CADR seal will be given to suggest the size of the room for the product.

CFM stands for cubic feet per minute and is a numeric consideration of how efficient a purifier is. The measurement considers how much air is being filtered through the system, as well as when it enters and exits the system. It can be used to reference the appropriate size of a room for any given product.

UV lamps are becoming more popular now that we see how they can influence viruses and bacteria. UV-C is the component of UV light that has germicidal activity. The UV-C light acts on the DNA (the genetic material) of viruses and bacteria, and mold spores. By altering and damaging the DNA of these microorganisms, the UV light causes cell death (germicidal activity). UV light is frequently used as a disinfection tool in the food industry, in operating rooms in hospitals and in sterilizing drinking water.

If you are primarily concerned with the biological matter in the air, this can be a great addition to an air purifier, as it provides an additional component of protection against small microorganisms in addition to the HEPA filter.

A micron is a measurement of size for particles and contaminants. Microns are important because their value can determine how effective an air purifier is against a specific kind of particle. Differing particle sizes are often why you see different styles of filters within a device. Each size requires something different to catch it in a filter. For example, pollen is 30 microns, while mold is 20 microns, and the coronavirus is 0.125 micron in size. This means that a purifier must have a super HEPA filter to be able to successfully filter this out of the air. Knowing what you intend to target can help you to choose the right device.

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