HEPA Air Purifiers FAQ

HEPA air purifiers FAQ or frequently asked questions gives insight into HEPA air purifiers, that are reviewed elsewhere on this site. Also, use HEPA air purifiers buyers guide to help you find the best.

Why would you need an air purifier?

Here are some reasons why you would need or want an air purifier.

First, you want your home to be healthier.

Second, you or someone in your home has respiratory conditions such as, for example, allergies or asthma.

Third, you live in an environment where large amounts of atmospheric pollution find its way into the home.

What does an air purifier do?

First and foremost, air purifiers scrub the air of pollen, dust mites, pet dander, noxious odors, cigarette smoke, carbon dioxide, and more. As a result, they can help prevent young people from developing allergies, and they can help prevent older people from being exposed to dangerous bacteria and viruses. So, if you want your home to be a healthy place for everyone in it, an air purifier is a must.

What are HEPA filters?

High Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA filters are the most basic type of air filters. These filters filter air as it flows through the machine by trapping particles too big to go through the filters. Now, True HEPA filters are certified to capture 99.97% of particles larger than 0.3 microns. By the way, mold spores can range from 1 to 100 microns.

Because HEPA filters are the most basic type of air filters, they are also the most reliable. However, you have to ensure that the filter remains clean. And, one of the ways to do this is to replace the filter at least once a year if not more often.

What is a carbon filter?

First, a carbon filter is made of activated carbon, also called activated charcoal. In fact, carbon air filters help trap odors through a process called adsorption. In this process, molecules attach to the outside of a surface, rather than being soaked into it. So, the more porous the activated carbon, the better, as this will increase the amount of surface area available for contaminants to latch onto when air passes through the filter. Therefore, carbon filters remove odors caused by pets, cooking and mildew, Consequently, these filters are great in homes with smokers or pets.

What is CADR?

First and foremost, CADR or Clean Air Delivery Rate is measured in cubic feet per minute or cfm. Now, CADR was developed to measure the performance of residential air purifiers. Also, the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) oversees the CADR rating program.

Most of all, the CADR rating reflects the volume of air in cubic feet per minute that is cleaned of particles of certain sizes. So, to measure the effectiveness in removing particles of different sizes, three types of particles are tested: smoke, pollen and dust. By the way, these represent small, medium and large sized particles respectively. Therefore, each particle  is measured and assigned it’s own CADR score

So what do you get out of a CADR? Well, the CADR rating gives you a way to compare air purifiers that consider both air flow and filter efficiency. In fact, the CADR is basically a reflection of the air flow (in cubic feet per minute or CFM) times the efficiency of the air filter. Therefore, if an air filter has  a capacity  of 200 cfm and 100% efficient the CADR would be 200. On the other hand, if the air filter has a capacity of 200 cfm but only 50% efficient the CADR would be 100.

What is UV-C light?

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) is a disinfection method that uses short-wavelength ultraviolet (ultraviolet C or UV-C) light to kill or inactivate microorganisms by destroying nucleic acids and disrupting their DNA, leaving them unable to perform vital cellular functions.

By the way, human overexposure causes temporary skin redness and harsh eye irritation, but no permanent damage, skin cancer, or cataracts. 

What are Volatile Organic Compounds?

Volatile Organic Compounds or VOCs are emitted by a wide array of products. For example paints and lacquers, paint strippers, cleaning supplies, pesticides, building materials and furnishings, office equipment such as copiers and printers, correction fluids and carbon less copy paper, graphics and craft materials including glues and adhesives, permanent markers, and photographic solutions.

Also, organic chemicals are widely used as ingredients in household products. For example, paints, varnishes, and wax all contain organic solvents, as do many cleaning, disinfecting, cosmetic, degreasing, and hobby products. In addition, fuels are made up of organic chemicals. Now, all these products can release organic compounds while you are using them, and, to some degree, when they are stored.

What is CARB compliance?

All portable indoor air cleaning devices sold in California must be certified by the California Air Resources Board (CARB). To be certified, air cleaners must be tested for electrical safety and ozone emissions, and meet an ozone emission concentration limit of 0.050 parts per million. In fact, there is an official list of air cleaners that are CARB compliant.

What are the benefits of air purifiers?

Some of the benefits of these air purifiers are listed below.

Reduce indoor pollutants

Air purifiers can help you breathe clean air that has low levels of pollutants. In fact, unless you leave your windows open, indoor pollutants are trapped. Consequently, indoor pollutants circulate over and over throughout your home. So, if you regularly keep your windows closed, the best way to make your home environment healthy is by using an air purifier.

Relieve allergies

Air purifiers can help relieve your allergies. By the way, some of the most common indoor pollutants are allergens. These include pollen, pet dander, dust mites, mold spores, and others. Moreover, many people with allergies are unaware those allergies originated in their home and cannot understand why they do not get relief when they are home. Meanwhile, an air purifier using a HEPA filter can remove 99.9% of allergens from the air in your home.

Better sleep

Air purifiers can help you sleep better. In fact, if you are not sneezing, coughing, dealing with itchy eyes, or asthma, you are going to sleep better. Indeed, an air purifier that removes virtually all of the sources of your indoor discomfort is going to help you sleep better and make you feel more refreshed in the morning.

Cleans home air in winter

Air purifiers are essential during the winter. Now, the dangers of indoor air pollution are many. And the threat is magnified in the winter when windows and doors are shut tight to conserve heat. In fact, sealing a house off against the outside world also seals in an array of pollutants and allergens that can make your home unhealthy. So, the best way to avoid this problem is to install an air purifier.

Absorbs unpleasant odors

Air purifiers absorb unpleasant odors, like cigarette, marijuana, cigar, as well as unpleasant pet odors and odors from burnt food. By the way, air purifiers with activated charcoal filters are particularly effective at fighting odors. In fact, the carbon in those filters binds with the molecules causing the odor and removes them from the air.

Helps those with asthma

Air purifiers help asthma sufferers. By the way, asthma can be triggered by smoke, dust mites, pollen, mold spores, and more. Fortunately, air purifiers are good at removing these common asthma triggers from the air.

Improves your mood

Air purifiers help improve your mood. And, a positive mood can have a positive effect on health. Moreover, people who feel better physically also feel better mentally. Meanwhile, as the air purifier removes allergens and other pollutants from the air, you will likely feel physically better. As a result, it is likely your mood will improve.

Helps your children

Air purifiers help your children. While keeping a clean home is essential, it is also important to have clean air to really reduce health risks. So, an air purifier helps reduce the risks of your children developing allergies when they are still toddlers.

Good for your furniture

Air purifiers are good for your furniture. Now, everything from Persian rugs to delicate electronics are susceptible to being damaged by dust. Meanwhile, an air purifier with a HEPA filter can remove more than 99% of dust particles in the air. As a result, not only will you breathe easier, your expensive furnishings will last longer.

Reduce risk of degenerative brain disorders

Air purifiers help reduce the risk of degenerative brain disorders. Indeed, researchers have found a link between air quality and brain disorders, including dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. However, the exact mechanisms has yet to be worked out.

Reduces risk of migraines and high blood pressure

Air purifiers help reduce carbon dioxide levels. Now, excess carbon dioxide levels can elevate the risk of migraines and high blood pressure, and a rash of other health problems. Consequently, by removing excess carbon dioxide from the air, air purifiers help reduce the risks of migraines and high blood pressure.

Reduces risk of chronic respiratory distress and asthma

Air purifiers help remove pet dander out of the air. Now, pet dander is a major cause of allergies among pet owners. In fact, pet dander can cause chronic respiratory distress and is considered a major trigger for asthma. So, if pet dander is an issue for yourself or your family, an air purifier is an alternative to living with pet dander or getting rid of the pet.

Provides a healthy environment for your newborn

Air purifier helps ensure your baby is born into a healthy environment instead of having to breathe dust mites, pollen, air pollution from outside or pet dander.

Cleanse the air of bacteria and viruses

Air purifiers with HEPA filters cleanse the air of dangerous bacteria and viruses.

Remove mold spores in damp basements

Finally, air purifiers can remove mold spores that often float freely in the air of damp basements. These mold spores can trigger health problems ranging from lung infections to asthma attacks, or even death.

How often do you need to replace filters?

In general, depending on use, HEPA filter need to be replaced every year, carbon filter every six months, and pre-filters every 3 months.

What air filter features are good to have?

The following features are good to have:

Air purifiers that are Energy Star-rated by the EPA.

Wi-fi air purifiers can be controlled from your mobile device. Also a remote controller to control the air purifier without having to be right next to it.

Indicators that give real-time status on air quality.

Air filters with handles and castor wheels are easy to move around.

Indicators showing air filters need replacement.