Wednesday, March 7, 2007

More on Indoor Air Purifiers

If allergy season is upon you (like me), you know that your indoor air pollution could be a major contributing cause.  We always tend to blame the blooming flowers and pollen floating from the trees, however, we spend approximately 90% of our time indoors, and many allergies can be exacerbated by your indoor air (which at least you have a small amount of control of!).  Here are some ideas on purchasing an indoor air purifier:
1. Personally I think putting one in your bedroom is the best bet.  I would imagine that most of us spend more time sleeping in bed each night, than we spend in other areas of the house.  Plus, smaller room-size air purifiers tend to get better ratings than full-house purifiers.
2. Make sure to find models with the Energy Star, which means they use less energy to run than other models.
3. Check to see if they emit Ozone (the box usually won’t tell you – you’ll have to do some research on the web).  Some models emit ozone either intentionally or as a by-product, which can damage your lungs and worsen asthma.  The EPA states that ozone is ineffective in controlling indoor air pollution, except at levels beyond what are considered safe.
4. Be careful if you’re looking at the Sharper Image SI637 Ionic Breeze Quadra Silent Air Purifier as they have been found to both NOT purify the air AND emit ozone beyond the recommended health limits.  Recent models have Ozoneguard to reduce ozone emission, but they still performed poorly at removing smoke, pollen and dust according to Consumer Reports.
5. Be aware of the on-going costs.  Replacing HEPA filters each year can cost just about as much as the air purifier itself, not to mention the extra energy usage each month on your utility bill.  Run your purifier on low first and see if that helps before cranking it to the highest level.
If you already have an Air Purifier and would like to give us feedback on it, I would love to hear some personal reports on if you find them useful and which model you have.