Air Purifier – What Makes a Great Air Purifier Great?

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Buying an air purifier for your home or workplace is an important decision. It is easy to purchase just any purifier as they are available everywhere at stores, air quality in catalogs, or online. It is harder to get past the mainstream price and marketing and find one that will do a good job at a reasonable price. Many people buy primarily on price. Once in the desired price range, features or perceived features are considered. Also important is how a purifier looks. These buying criteria seem logical on the surface, but should only be part of the overall decision making process. Initial price is only one consideration in long-term cost. Features are important, but should not be the deciding factor. How a purifier looks is also important, but remember to look past skin deep. The two overriding factors that make a great purifier great are cleaning ability and cost effectiveness.

You may initially ask a question like this one “they are all air purifiers, don’t they all clean the air?” You may be implying that since they are all air purifiers, they must all do about the same thing and all do about as good a job as each other. This myth could not be further from the truth. Many inexpensive purifiers do such a poor job cleaning the air, that they could almost be classified as a waste of electricity. On the other end of the air cleaning spectrum, there are air purifiers that do a tremendous job of cleaning the air. The cleaning ability difference between top and bottom air purifiers is significant.

The “stuff” in our air:

• Particles (examples: dust, pet dander, pollen, tobacco smoke)

• Gases and Odors (examples: food smells, chemicals, aerosols, pet smells)

• VOCs (examples: paints, varnishes, cleaning supplies, glues, adhesives)

• Microorganisms (examples: viruses, antigens, pathogens, bacteria)

• Advanced Microorganisms (example: Avian Influenza A)

Another good question that I hear is “I don’t have all of these things in my air, do I?” Let’s examine this question. If you do not smoke or have pets you may be able to eliminate about 25% of the list above; however, many other types of particles enter and exit our homes everyday. These particles follow us in through the doors and blow in through our windows. Most houses are not air tight, so particles enter from other inlets as well. Many gases are invisible and some are odorless. Most everyday used items like clothing, food, furniture, computers, bedding, carpet, paint, toys and flooring outgas certain chemicals and VOCs. Many of the cleaning products we use contribute daily to our indoor air problems. Even the sink drain, toilet drain, and shower drain potentially let some pollution back into our household air. We have a virtual indoor air pollution “cocktail” floating around at all times in our homes and offices and we haven’t even considered the human factor yet. We carry all kinds of microorganisms in and out of our homes in and on our bodies. Do you have kids? Your exposure may double, triple, or quadruple. Fortunately, a great air purifier can clean most or all of these airborne pollutants.

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