Fox Valley Home Inspection

Selecting the Right Room Air Purifiers

by: Jack Blacksmith

No need to hold your breath when you have an effective room air purifier. There has been a lot of study and technology applied to the way room air purifiers work and how they help keep people healthy. Here are some of the findings of the work done to investigate if you really do need to have an air purifier in order to breathe more safely.

What the EPA Has to Say

The California Environmental Protection Agency has looked into the effectiveness of home air purifiers to determine if there is really a need for these systems and if they really to what they claim to do. In a nutshell, the agency reports that they have found no air filter can remove every particle from the environment, and should not claim to do so. This is especially true of particles that quickly settle on surfaces.

One of the most effective ways to remove large particles is through your whole house systems. Your furnace for example has a filter that should be changed annually. Your stove needs to be properly ventilated too.

After taking care of the systems within the home, the EPA has recommended a room air purifier that uses a HEPA filter to help clean the air. These range in price from around $100 to over $2,000 depending on size. A room air purifier that is placed in a central location, such as the kitchen can effectively remove smaller particles, but don’t always work to remove gasses and odors. As a warning, it is important to not rely on air purifiers to remove carbon monoxide or radon. These are dangerous gasses than can build up in an unventilated home and cause serious illness and even death.

The Dissenters

There are a relatively small number of studies that seem to indicate that room air purifiers are neither necessary nor effective. This is small minority, but there is some merit to their research which really only leads to the need for more research to substantiate their findings.

Some research has raised the concern about ionic air purifiers because of the ozone these systems release into the air. Others claim the ionic system of trapping air particles using negative ions is ineffective. The truth is there is more evidence that ionic and HEPA filter systems do capture a substantial amount of even the smallest particles down to 0.3 micron. The impact of the amount of ozone released as a bi-product still warrants more research.

What You Can Do For Cleaner Air At Home

You can do a great deal to ensure your family is breathing the cleanest air possible. Follow these guidelines:

1. Replace whole house system filters at least annually. These are very inexpensive and easy to replace.
2. Keep your home well ventilated. Open windows and "replace" the air in your home. If you are in a high pollution area, then opening windows and blowing air out with a fan will remove pollution that enters the house.
3. Taking smoking outside. Never allow anyone to smoke in your home.
4. Use a room air purifier to trap particles in the air that are not removed from ventilation. Using central air conditioning during the allergy season will help filter air entering the house.

Schedule InspectionJoe Schmalz Fox Valley Home Inspector
Joe Schmalz, President

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