The number of poor air quality days is increasing. Hopefully, you’ve already taken a few initial steps such as keeping the windows closed, making sure your AC unit doesn’t bring in outside air but recirculates air inside the home, and wearing an N95 mask.
Another option is the DIY Corsi-Rosenthal filter, an excellent and effective option for someone on a budget.
It’s a good idea to run an air purifier in your home on days when the outside air is unhealthy, but which air purifier is best? With hundreds of options to choose from, the choice can be difficult. Here are a few guidelines to look for when purchasing an air purifier for your home:
Look for an air purifier with a HEPA filter.
According to the US EPA, HEPA stands for high-efficiency particulate air [filter.] This filter can trap the tiny particles that we might otherwise breathe in and get trapped in our lungs and other parts of the body. HEPA filters, like all air filters, periodically need to be replaced, so make sure to check the manufacturer’s instructions.
Check that the air purifier is CARB-certified.
California passed a law in 2010 that requires all indoor air cleaning devices to be certified by CARB, (the California Air Resources Board). According to CARB’s website, for a product “to be certified, all air cleaners must be tested for electrical safety. Electronic air cleaners must also be tested for ozone emissions and meet an ozone emission concentration limit of 0.050 parts per million (50 ppb).” Ozone is a key component of summertime smog. You don’t want a device that cleans up one pollutant by replacing it with another lung-irritating pollutant! To ensure the product is CARB-certified, look for this label on the device’s packaging:
Find an air purifier that is a suitable size and has an appropriate clean air delivery rate (CADR) for your space.
You’ll want to find an air purifier that is sized for the room you plan to use it. Check the square footage of the room you want to place it and the ceiling height, before you start researching products. This way, you won’t overspend on a large unit if a smaller one will fit your space.
If you get a smaller model place it where you spend the most time, such as a bedroom.
You can also check the clean air delivery rate (CADR) to ensure the unit can process all the air in the room on a regular basis. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers recommends using the two-thirds rule: “The CADR of your air cleaner should be equal to at least two-thirds of the room’s area…If your ceilings are higher than 8 feet, an air cleaner rated for a larger room will be necessary.”
Don’t forget the rebate!
ComEd of Illinois offers rebates on Energy Star appliances and home products, including air filters. Check if the air purifier you are interested in purchasing qualifies for a rebate.