Poor indoor air quality can lead to health issues such as asthma, allergies and other respiratory health problems. While we often think of indoor air as protecting us from polluted outdoor air, the opposite may be true; according to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air quality pollution can be two to five times higher than outdoor air.
That’s because many homes have poor ventilation and circulation of air. The trapped indoor pollution comes from a wide range of sources including smoking or vaping, pet dander and hair, chemicals stored in the home, mold or water problems, gas appliances and wood-burning heaters. The list could go on.
What a room purifier can do
A room air purifier helps clear the air, capturing harmful particles and droplets (including viruses from people coughing, talking or breathing) in a HEPA filter. The HEPA filter can capture at least 99.97 percent of dust, pollen, mold, bacteria and other airborne particles according to a report in Real Simple magazine.
What to check before buying
- Labels. Look for an Energy Star logo since purifiers should run 24/7 to be effective, and you won’t want to waste energy on a less-efficient model. An AHAM Verified seal lets you know that the clean air delivery rates (CADRs) and room size guidelines listed on the label are accurate.
- Your room size. Make sure you purchase one that is large enough to perform correctly in the room where you place it.
- That the high-efficiency particulate air filter is a HEPA, not a “HEPA-like” or “HEPA-type” filter as those are not the same thing.
- The minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) on the HEPA filter. The higher the MERV number, the more effective the filter.
- That there is a carbon filter along with the HEPA filter. Having an activated carbon filter will help clean up VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds) and odors.
- Cost of replacement filters, as these must be replaced at least several times a year (it depends on the brand).