Our aim is to supply you with the best possible advice regarding your air quality. This includes the health impacts and how to improve your air quality with technology.
The rules for reducing your home air pollution-
1) Always buy an air quality meter-this is by far the most important thing you need to do
You could buy one before the air purifier and assess the situation and then read this article about air quality and health. Or you could buy one at the same time as your air purifier.
Without one, you will not know if you have hit the EPA’s recommended minimum level of effectiveness of reducing particle count by 80%. You may think that you have reduced the particle count sufficiently when unfortunately, it is still too high. You may switch the air purifier down at night to sleep, render the air purifier ineffective and breathe polluted air for 6-8 hours each night without realizing it. Long term, the higher particle count could have adverse effects on your and your family’s health, as outlined in this article. An air quality meter will prevent this, you should never rely on the sensor in the air purifier itself, as explained in this article.
Buying an air quality sensor can be cheap eg $35, but with well-validated ones being more expensive, a top of the range home air quality meter being $250. A sensor/meter will probably over a lifetime pay for itself many times over in improved health outcomes. Air quality sensors/meters are outlined in this article.
2) When buying an air purifier, think carefully about the noise that it will make in your home
Virtually every manufacturer produces machines that sound like a jet engine on the maximum setting. Alright, maybe this is a slight exaggeration, but they are seriously loud. This is a sales technique, the larger the area of the home a machine will cover, the more likely they are to sell the machine compared to another machine. The consumer understandably does not realize that the maximum output from the air purifier is unusable because of how loud the air purifier is on this setting.
It is too stressful to live with an air purifier on its maximum setting. So you really need to know the amount of air it can process at the maximum noise level you are willing to live with. About 50db is a maximum tolerable noise level for many people, but it may be more or less for you. You could use a phone app to find out your level. You then need to find out how much air the air purifier will process whilst still staying below your maximum tolerated noise level. A very few manufacturers give you the noise level at each fan speed, but most do not disclose this information either on their websites or in the instruction manual. If the manufacturer cannot/will not tell you, move on to considering another machine. We are currently approaching manufacturers and compiling a spreadsheet for you which will be published in this article when a reasonable number of manufacturers have replied.
Be aware a few air purifiers are very quiet and effective on settings below their maximum output. However, most air purifiers on lower settings, and particularly “sleep mode”, will not process enough air for your room and so be ineffective at removing particles, then over time your health may well deteriorate given the very large evidence base on the effect of particles in the air on health outcomes.
When we recommend air purifiers, we will try to get the manufacturer to give us enough information to specify a room size that the air purifier will serve when on a fan speed producing less than 50db of noise. If they will not, we may buy the machine ourselves and measure the noise on each setting or not recommend the machine. You may find this article on choosing an air purifier helpful.
3) The air purifier must have some smart control option
An air purifier takes 30-45 minutes to reduce the particle count in a room and you need the air purifier to come on 45 minutes before you step into the room and start breathing the air. Otherwise you will spend an hour a day breathing non-purified air, once in the morning and once in the evening when you go to bed. So you need a way of achieving this. For some air purifiers, the only way is to switch them on manually leave the room and come back 45 minutes later. Obviously you do not want to buy an air purifier like this. So all the air purifiers that we recommend have smart control you might like to read this article.
4) Never run an air purifier using its inbuilt sensor-so there is no need to buy one with a sensor.
I give 7 reasons for not using any inbuilt sensor in this article on how to use an air purifier.
Image at top of page of iQair HealthPro Plus (copyright iQair with permission)