Many of us will be forced inside during Winter because of the more harsh weather conditions. Being outside in the fresh air is a definite health booster. There are ways to make the air inside of our homes a little more cleaner. So if you have the time take a look here at some steps we can take to use indoor air filters and other items to improve home air quality.
Indoor Air Pollutants
Most people spend 90% of their time indoors. The bulk of this indoor time is when we are in our own homes. Remarkably, many pollutants come from inside our homes as well as from the outside. Sources of indoor pollutants from the inside include building materials, consumer products, and also activities such as cooking, cleaning and second hand smoke.
These indoor pollutants can consist of particles or gases including VOC‘s, (Volatile Organic Compounds). Contaminants consisting of particulate matter of mold, pollen and formaldehyde are common.
How can we get rid of these pollutants ?
The best way to rid our homes of pollutants is to attack it at the source. Removing or reducing the offending source of contaminants and increasing the introduction of fresh air is the best start. Additionally, research shows that filtration can be an effective supplement to ventilation and source control.
The filters in our HVAC systems can be upgraded to increase the capacity of filtration throughout our homes. The use of portable air cleaners, known as air purifiers or air sanitizers can help reduce pollutants in a single room.
How do I select air filtering products?
The first thing to take into consideration when selecting an air purifier is that it must have the capacity to filter the air in the room where it will be in use The CADR , (Clean Air Delivery Rate), must be large enough for the room in which it will be placed. The CADR rating is for particles only. Most times the packaging will indicate the maximum square feet that a purifier will accommodate. Look for an AHAM Verifide seal, as this indicates a truthful statement of the capability for cleaning the area of the stated square footage for different particulate contaminants. The higher the CADR number, the faster particles can be filtered by the air cleaner.
A HEPA , (High-Efficency Particulate Air), filter will be used in most air purifiers to help them achieve a high CADR. Many studies indicate that these filters can reduce particulate matter by 50%. For the filtration of gasses an air purifier must have an activated carbon filter or other filter designed specifically for the filtration of gases.
Air purifiers are sometimes targeted at removing certain kinds of pollutants, so you must check carefully when selecting one. HEPA filters are for filtering particulate matter such as pollen, smoke and dust. Activated Carbon filters are for removing gasses VOC’s and some odor compounds. Most of these machines will also have some type of cleanable, prefilter for capturing larger things such as hair and dust.
Portable Air Cleaner Sizing for Particle Removal 8′ Ceiling
Room area (square feet) 100 200 300 400 500 600
Minimum CADR (cfm) 65 130 195 260 325 390
For general purposes a CADR above 240 gets an Excellent rating; 240 to 180, Very Good; 179 to 120, Good; 119 to 60, Fair; and anything under 60 earns a rating of Poor.
Air purifiers use internal fans for pulling the air through the filters. Some of these fans are louder than others and you should take this into consideration when selecting an air purifier. The purifier will always be on so you want to make sure it is not going to be annoying to you. For reference a running refrigerator makes noise at about 50dB. You can probably find these sound specs on the packaging or on the manufacturer’s website.
HVAC System Filters
Your heating or HVAC system is only in use when heating or cooling is needed. As a result they will typically only be running 25 % of the time during the heating and cooling seasons. So keep in mind that these filters may not be in use for as long as you would need or like.
It may be possible to upgrade your filter for a more efficient one. You should choose a filter with a MERV, ( Minimum Efficency Reporting Value of 13 or as high as your filter slot and system fan can accommodate.It is probably best to consult with an HVAC technician to determine the most efficient filter you can use with your system.
How do I maintain my air purifier?
Remove and clean a prefilter every 6 to 12 months if your unit is equipped with one. They are simply a mesh or sponge type filter for trapping the largest particles before they can get to your main filtration. Some air cleaners will have indicators to remind you when it is time to clean the filter.
Change HEPA filters every 6 to 12 months. They are not meant to be cleaned. The cost of these filters can range from $ 20.00 to $200.00 depending on your specific model. Therefore, you should consider the cost of the replaceable filters when selecting your air purifier. There may also be an indicator for alerting you to the need to change filters.
Replace carbon activated filters every thre months. The cost of these filters can range up to $50.00.
Our homes will contain different pollutants than some other homes. Therefore it is important to find what pollutants we are trying to rid from our residence. Air purifiers from different manufacturer’s will filter contaminants with varying effectiveness according to the type of contaminant.
Look for an air purifier that can handle your room size easily in removing your targeted pollutants. The air purifiers run continuously so look for an Energy Star Certified model. An Enrergy Star certified model is 40% more efficient than a standard model.
Place your air purifier in the room you use the most or purchase one for each room that you would like to clean the air in. These units are only meant to clean the air in one room. Higher ceilings will result in more air that needs to be cleaned and less efficient cleaning than in a standard 8-foot ceiling room.
I hope you have benefited from the imformation I have provided here. If you have any questions or would just like to share your experiences with an air puri fier please leave comment below.
Thank You !!