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Breathe Easy: How to Buy an Air Purifier

By Charles Hopkins Published 05/7/2006 | Environment

Fresh air is something we all crave. And it is something that we dont always get inside our homes. So the logical step would be to buy an air purifier, right? Uh oh, you go. Air purifiers are so darned expensive! Not so, we say, not if you know how to buy an air purifier. So here go a few tips, but before we begin, remember that like all long-term investments, research is crucial for buying an air purifier. Therefore, never take someones word for it when it comes to buying your own breath of fresh air.

The manufacturing and sale of air purifiers is such a large industry today that HYPE (capitalization deliberate) rules the roost in most cases. However, you would be better off paying attention to HEPA, or HEPA air filters, which are able to remove nearly all the particulate matter in the air you breathe. Common sense dictates, therefore, that any air purifier you buy ought to include HEPA filter technology. However, HEPA filters need to be replaced at frequent intervals to maintain their high-performance levels.

So if you are looking for alternatives, you could look at air purifiers that use electrostatic or electronic systems. The air filters in these purifiers dont need to be replaced, but their equivalent in this case are charged plates that require regular washing.

In order to understand how to buy an air purifier, it is essential that you have an idea of how an air purifier works. Essentially, air purifiers perform a simple task: they draw the air you breathe at home or work into the system using a fan, clean the air, and release the fresh air back into the room.

Note, however, that air purifiers clean the air only, and are not supposed to remove odors, so dont go looking for air purifiers that double as room fresheners. What you need to do for an air purifier to act as deodorizers is to accessorize it with an activated carbon or a UV purification system. That way, not only will you get rid of bad smells, but also potentially hazardous chemicals.

Now comes the most important factor: price. Usually, higher priced air purifiers will also be of higher quality, though a smaller unit may cost less and still perform well over the years. However, the cost of any air purifier incorporates a number of factors. For instance, many premium quality air purifiers have a built in pre-filter as well as a HEPA filter. The built-in filters shield the HEPA filter to some extent by absorbing some of the larger particulate matter so that the HEPA filter has a longer life and does not need to be cleaned as frequently. The price may be slightly higher account of such features, but it will be worth paying.

Also, before you decide in favor of an air purifier, make sure that the manufacturer is not making empty claims, particularly about the efficiency of the air purifier. There are ways to determine exactly how much air has been cleaned, and the manufacturers have access to these ways, so make sure you benefit from that. Alternatively, you can run your own Internet search to locate comparative studies of the models of various air purifiers and their efficiency.

Now that you are armed with the knowledge of how to buy an air purifier, we wish you hours of fresh breathing!