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Choosing an Air Purifier

Air purifier


While our noses are terrific at detecting some things, like a gas leak, other things, like poor air quality, can be happening well, right under our noses. An air purifier is a great purchase to make if you want the air quality in your home to be better. Air purifiers effectively filter pet dander, dust, skin cells and allergens from the air.


If your home has forced air heating, a whole-house air purifier makes a lot of sense, but be wary of the cost and installation time. Whereas a one-room model can be set up by anyone, a whole-house air cleaner needs to be integrated with the ductwork of your heating system and most likely wired into the electrical system, too. You can opt for a purifier that has a high-efficiency filter, however, models tested by Consumer Reports in their article didn’t differ in performance based on this measure.


Whole-house vs. One-room Models


If you have a smaller apartment or don’t have forced air heating, a one-room purifier might be right for you. Compact, easy to install and far more affordable than a whole-house unit, these units will specify the room size they can clean effectively, sometimes called the AHAM, on the box. It’s recommended that you buy a unit with a larger room capacity than the space you want to clean so that you can run it at a lower, quieter setting. Be sure to read the product details carefully and ask questions before making a purchase.


The Fine Print


Most purifiers will stipulate the clean air delivery rate (CADR), a measure of how fast the unit cleans. A CADR above 350 is very good while one below 100 is subpar. For whole-house purifiers, look for the minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) too. A MERV above 10 is optimal.




If you’re in the market for an air purifier, the type of filtration system can be nearly as important as the unit itself. Some models use an electrostatic generator, electrostatic precipitator or ionizer technology and produce ozone as a byproduct. Filters like these have grown in popularity since they don’t require the user to replace the filter however Health Canada advises homeowners against using these products in the home.


Air cleaners that use a disposable high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter can end up costing you a pretty penny (over $100), especially if you need to change the filter every six months. On the bright side, or should we say, clean side, HEPA air purifiers don’t emit any ozone.


Air Purifying on a Budget


An easy way to improve the air quality in the home is to change the filter you’re using in your forced-air heating and cooling system. Here’s some advice on how to choose the right air filter. Or try a natural touch with air purifying plants!


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