How to Buy the Right Air Purifier in Australia
If you’re looking to clear the air in your home, use this buying guide to help you choose the best air purifier for your needs.
Why do you need an air purifier?
Better air quality can help you breathe better by lowering the risk of respiratory issues, especially in those with allergies or asthma. This is where the right air purifier can help. Try as you might to keep your home clean and stay on top of dust, even the cleanest homes can be full of allergens. Everything from dust and pet dander to outdoor irritants and even pollen pollute the air in your home. All of these things can wreak havoc on your breathing.
While everyone can benefit from cleaner air, those who have allergies or respiratory issues should really consider an air purifier. As well, any household with pets or smokers should have an air purifier. Did we mention fireplaces and woodstoves? Yes, wood smoke can pollute your air and make it harder to breathe well, too.
What does an air purifier do?
Just as their name suggests; air purifiers purify the air. An air purifier reduces the overall concentration of any airborne contaminants in your home, including dust and dust mite faeces, pollen, mould, pet dander, smoke, chemical irritants, and odours. They circulate the air in the room; pulling in the contaminated air and filtering it before sending it back out so that you end up with cleaner, healthier air that’s also free of foul odours.
Who needs an air purifier?
With all the benefits they provide, air purifiers are great for any household. There are also some situations where air purifiers are especially beneficial, and may even be a necessity:
- Households with pets can use air purifiers to keep pet hair/ dander and odours under control. Animal lovers with allergies, sometimes find that an air purifier can allow them to live with their pets comfortably rather than chosing between their pets and their quality of life
- Hay Fever, Allergy and Asthma sufferers benefit from air purifiers through the removal of pollen and particles that cause breathing problems, sneezing, itchy eyes and skin, or running noses. Many asthma sufferers experience fewer attacks and far better sleep when they include an air purifier in their home. Every person who lives with asthma has different triggers, and some find that an air purifier can reduce their reliance on medications to control and treat their symptoms.
- Households with smokers use air purifiers to reduce damage from secondhand smoke and prevent the smoke smell from permanently settling in the house.
- Breathing problems are often eased with the use of quality air purifiers.
- Households with young children - use air purifiers to filter out potentially harmful contaminants and assist their the immune systems while protecting their respiratory tracts.
Pollen and Hayfever
Cigarette and Wood Smoke
Pollution and Airborne Chemicals
Dust Mites and Mould
How do they work?
The air purifier pulls air in where is passes through a HEPA filter. The filter catches the contaminants so when the air is pushed out it is clean and free of pollutants. It continues to circulate the air, repeating the process over and over. Every time the air passes through the filter, more of those contaminants get caught by the filter so that the air gets cleaner with every pass.
What size/capacity do I need?
Air Purifiers are classified by the room size that they can manage effectively. To determine your room size simply measure both walls in meters and multiply to determine room size (eg 5m x 6m = 30m2). A larger capacity unit for a smaller size room is an advantage as it will circulate through the full volume of air in a room faster and will clean the air more effectively. A correctly sized air purifier will typically circulate through the full volume of air in a room on average 5 times.
For those more Technically minded:
- Knowing what size air purifier to buy begins with understanding the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). This seal program was developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers to help consumers choose the best size air purifier for their needs. The CADR is determined by the cubic feet of air that a purifier is able to filter per minute. So what this means is that the higher the CADR number, the quicker the air purifier cleans the room’s air.
- It’s recommended that you choose an air purifier with a CADR score that is approximately two-thirds of your room size.
- The following formula can help you to easily figure out the best CADR for you:
Square footage x .75 = CADR
Tip: For the best results, round up if you can’t find an air purifier in the exact CADR score for your room size.
What are the types and which are the most effective?
There are a few different types of air purifiers to choose from. As for which are the most effective, it really depends on your needs.
Let’s take a look at the different types of air purifiers in Australia:
- HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) Filters – They live up to the hype that makes them the gold standard in air purifiers. A HEPA filter, which was created to trap radioactive dust particles, by the Atomic Energy Commission, is able to remove 99.97 percent of air particles. Impressive, especially since we’re talking about particles as tiny as 0.3 microns—or 0.1 microns depending on the brand you choose!
Choosing the right size HEPA filter air purifier for your space will result in clean air that’s almost entirely free of allergens. The only downside to HEPA filters is that you need to change the filter periodically. However, this is hardly a downside as HEPA filters are in a class all their own when it comes to clean and healthy air.
- Activated Carbon Filters – Though not generally used alone and instead combined with other filters to purify air; activated carbon or charcoal filters do serve an important purpose. They’re great for trapping gases and odours and are able to neutralize smoke, fumes, and chemicals making them an especially great choice for households with wood burners and smokers. People who suffer from Multiple Chemical Sensitivity (MCS) will also benefit from an air purifier with an activated carbon filter because they absorb chemicals in the cleaning products used at home and formaldehyde, which is found in carpet and upholstery, and wood panelling.
Air purifiers with a carbon filter as well as a HEPA filter are also available and ideal for those looking to get maximum results. When choosing an air purifier with a carbon filter, remember that the larger the carbon filter, the more toxins it will absorb, which means cleaner air and longer use before needing to be replaced.
What features should I look for?
Along with considering features like HEPA, carbon, and UV filters for the benefits listed above; consider these features as well:
- Filter life indicator: Unless you’re an especially diligent planner, chances are that you won’t always remember to change the filter when you should. Look for a unit that automatically alerts you when it’s time to change the filter.
- Automatic air quality monitor: Some units have sensors that monitor your air quality and automatically adjust the cleaning speed accordingly without you having to stay on top of it and adjusting manually. This is an especially important feature if the unit will be in an unattended space.
- Quiet operation: Light sleepers, those who are especially sensitive to noise, and households with babies and small children should definitely consider the noise level. Look for units that offer quiet operation, as some are quieter than others.
- Warranty: Warranties can range from 1 year to as many as 5 years.
- No or low ozone: Look for an air purifier that emits as little ozone as possible. Steer clear of ozone generators that are sold as air cleaners. High amounts of ozone can actually cause breathing difficulties, increase the risk of infections, and worsen asthma.
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