Five Steps to Finding the Right Air Purifier

5 Steps to Finding the Right Air Purifier

Carbon Filter Test KitAir purifiers are one of the best ways to keep your home clean and safe. They get rid of allergens like dust and mold spores, remove toxic chemicals like VOCs, and even kill viruses and bacteria. Finding the right air purifier can be difficult, though, and it’s easy to get overwhelmed by the number of options available. HEPA, carbon, UV, ozone: how can you tell which is the best one for your home? Below we’ve outlined the five steps you should take to ensure you find the right air filter for your needs.

Step 1: Know what you want to get rid of:

The air in your home contains all sorts of dirt and chemicals. In fact, the EPA estimates that indoor environments have 2 to 5 times the concentration of air pollutants as outdoor spaces. So when you’re shopping for an air purifier, it’s important to know what you want to clean out of your air. Some filters will relieve allergies by getting rid of dust, mold spores, and pet dander while other purifiers can help out your immune system by killing viruses and bacteria. Still other filters will handle smaller particles like gases to control odors or remove dangerous VOCs. If you’re not sure what you’re looking for, try using an air quality test kit to identify pollutants in your home. Next up…

Step 2: Look for the right technology to fit your needs:

There are a wide variety of air purifier technologies available, so take the time to decide which features are right for you.

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters: HEPAs are the gold standard of air filters – they pick up 99.7% of particles larger than 0.3 microns (that’s 100 times smaller a strand of human hair!). This includes most common allergens such as dust, mold spores, pet dander, and pollen. However, HEPA filters will not catch smaller particles like smoke and will also not help with odors.

Activated carbon (sometimes called activated charcoal): Activated carbon is treated to create millions of tiny pores that trap even the smallest household pollutants. Carbon filters are great for getting rid of odors and trapping gases like tobacco smoke and VOCs.

UV lights: Biological organisms like mold, bacteria, and viruses can be killed with a UV light, which is usually included in purifiers along with other types of filters.

Ionic air purifiers: Ionizers work by releasing negatively charged particles into the air. These particles attract impurities, including dust and pollen, which are then deposited on nearby surfaces. Ionic air purifiers do not have filters that need to be replaced, but they do release a small amount of ozone.

Many air purifiers will include a combination of these options. We recommend the AllerAir, which includes HEPA and charcoal filters and is available with a UV light. Once you know which kind of air purifier you want, you’re ready for…

Step 3: Choose a location:

The amount of clean air your purifier will be able to deliver will depend on its size, so you’ll want to know the measurements of your home before you start shopping. Look for a purifier that matches or exceeds the square footage of the area where you intend to use it: smaller models can be used for single rooms like a bedroom or kitchen while larger options are available for entire homes. Some purifiers will list other criteria, including CADR (clean air delivery rate), an independent certification indicating an air purifier’s square footage and efficiency, and ACH (air changes per hour), which will tell you how often an air purifier can turn over the air in a room. Look for the highest CADR you can find and an ACH around 6 to 8. This brings us to…

Step 4: Take good care of your air purifier:

Once you invest in an air purifier, you’ll want to make sure it continues to run efficiently. HEPA and charcoal filters will need to be replaced regularly, usually every three years with normal use. Most purifiers also have an intake filter designed to catch larger debris like hair and bugs that will need to changed more often, usually every three months. And finally…

Step 5: Don’t forget the rest of the house:

Air pollutants will settle on surfaces in your home, which means that every time you flop down on the couch or walk across a rug you’re stirring up dust, pollen, and pet dander. To help capture these allergens, use a steam cleaner or vacuum with a HEPA filter on carpets, upholstery, and curtains.


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