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Guidelines For Purchasing an Air Purifier
By Nathan Zassman
Shopping for an air purifier can be challenging, as there are so many brands, and often many models within each brand.
HEPA Filtration - Particles
If you are purchasing an air purifier because you have allergies or are reacting to dust, pollen, mold, dust mites, or other common airborne contaminants, you should choose an air purifier that utilizes HEPA filtration.
Most of the air purifiers that use HEPA filtration advertise that the HEPA filter removes particles .3 micron and larger. The best air purifiers, including models manufactured by Blueair (from Sweden) and IQAir (Switzerland) can trap particles down to .003 micron, significantly smaller than the .3 micron rating of other air purifiers.
In addition, most air purifier manufacturers list the performance of the filter itself, not the performance of the air filtration system. If the filter is not well sealed in the system, unfiltered air can bypass the filter, resulting in poor air cleaning efficiency, and far less than the rating of the filter.
Carbon Filtration - Odors, Gases, VOCs
If you're looking to remove odors, volatile organic compounds and gases, including off-gassing chemicals from carpet glues, paint, and other home materials, you want an air purifier containing material specifically designed to adsorb the gases and odors. The best material for odor and gas removal (including tobacco smoke) is granulated activated carbon, which is often blended with other adsorbent materials designed to remove odors, smoke, gases, and VOCs. Restaurants frequently purchase these systems to minimize kitchen odors from entering the dining area.
Excellent choices for the removal of odors and gases include the Blueair MD Pro (often used in dental and medical offices), Blueair GO (gas/odor) Smokestop models, and the IQAir GC Series with the Multigas or VOC gas cartridges. The Blueair 450E and 650E models incorporate innovative gas, odor, and particle sensors that automatically adjust the fan speed when odors, gases or smoke are detected. When odors, gases, or particles are no longer in the air, these air purifiers automatically go to an almost inaudible speed, speeding up again when contaminants, odors or particles are detected by the sensors.
While there are air purifiers available that utilize germicidal ultra violet (UV) sterilization (including the Airpura UV600), HEPA technology as used in Blueair and IQAir filtration systems can block allergens, including mold and bacteria, without requiring UV technology.
Blueair's patented technology includes an internal ionization chamber that negatively charges particles that enter the purifier. The negatively charged particles can then be more efficiently trapped by the positively charged HEPA filter. Blueair's two stage system, which combines electrostatic with mechanical filtration is a patented technology that results in much higher air purifier efficiency. The result is a quieter system that efficiently removes particles down to .1 micron. A common question about Blueair's patented ionization process, is whether ozone is produced. Blueair air purifiers actually reduce ozone levels, as confirmed by university tests.
Blueair also manufactures the most powerful portable air purifiers, capable of purifying rooms up to 845 square feet (6760 cubic feet), with the models 603 and 650E.
When you begin your research, choose a company that can help you choose a unit based on a minimum of four or more complete air exchanges per hour in the largest room in which you plan to use the air purifier. Ideally, you want the air purifier to give you four or more complete air exchanges on a speed that is quiet enough to not be obtrusive. For Blueair, one speed slower than high is usually quiet enough for most people's bedrooms. For IQAir, speed 3 is usually the highest speed that is acceptable.
Hopefully this will give you the information you require to help you make an informed air purifier decision. For more information, please download the detailed chart comparing Blueair and IQAir air purifiers.
For local Winnipeg customers, our retail location at 1224 St James Street has one of the best selections of high quality air purifiers in Canada. Indoor air quality testing services are also available for Winnipeg customers.
We strive to offer the finest air filtration products and the most accurate, thoroughly researched information on air cleaning possible to all our customers across Canada and the USA. From single room to whole house applications, we have air filtration solutions for allergies, VOCs, gases, smoke and other strong smells. If you have any questions about which air purifier is right for you, please call us toll-free at 866-947-6789.
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