Are air purifiers a good option for keeping my apartment air cleaner?

Anonymous Nov. 14, 2017, 10:53 a.m.

I find the air in my apartment stale and I don't much like the smell. I don't think it's cooking smells and I don't smoke, I just think its the whole building (3 stories, 6 units and the hallway smells the same). I'm wondering if air purifiers really do work, thanks for any advice. 

Responses (1)

Ecohome Nov. 14, 2017, 11:01 a.m.

Improve the quality of indoor air:

In the absence of an HRV, the most effective strategy for ensuring healthy air at home is to avoid introducing pollutants in the first place. This means, among other things, avoiding furniture and other articles made of MDF (medium density fiberboard) and other materials that contain urea-formaldehyde.

Avoid using chemical cleaners and room scents as they contain a variety of volatile compounds, many of which have been shown to be harmful to humans. A lot of chemical contaminants can come in on the debris of our shoes, so even the simple act of never wearing shoes and boots in the home will help, and keep your entrance area clean to limit debris from becoming airborne.

Choosing an air purifier:

Air purifiers are available at relatively low cost, but as is always the case, you get what you pay for. Buying the cheapest air purifier you can find may have very little effect on your air quality. If you are looking to purchase one, be sure it can remove more than one type of pollutant: pollen, tobacco smoke, mold spores, and dust of all kinds.

The way they operate is quite simple; air is drawn in and passes through a series of filters to remove contaminants, it is then ejected back into the room. They are usually equipped with a pre-filter for larger particles, an activated carbon filter and a HEPA filter (high efficiency particulate air filter).

Most devices on the market are certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM). This US agency conducts independent testing of air purifiers so that the consumer can compare the models to each other, depending on the volume of air they can process and their purified air flow. The purified air flow rate is an indicator of efficiency that is measured for smoke, dust and pollen. You should find this information on the packaging of any air purifier.

One of the limitations of air purifiers is that they only filter suspended particles, whereas a large part of the indoor pollutants are deposited on surfaces (floors, furniture, etc.) and become airborne only when they are disturbed. Any air purifier will require regular and rigorous maintenance to maintain their effectiveness. Finally, portable devices are very limited in the volume of air they can process, which often does not exceed 10 to 20 square meters of floor space. A single portable device will not treat the air of an entire apartment or home the way a centralized system can.