what to know before buying an air purifier to clear wildfire smoke - air purifier for smoke
This article was updated on July 31, 2018. )
As wildfires continue to rage in Northern California, residents may have to deal with smoke and ash in weeks or even months.
If it were you, you might be worried.
Breathe residual smoke and look for ways to protect yourself or your family at long-term risk to health.
While the smoke contains carbon monoxide and particulate matter that may be harmful to your health, the Environmental Protection Agency says, "for a long time
Short term risk-
According to the guidelines for wildfire smoke from public health officials, "the duration of smoke exposure is quite low . ". However, the E. P. A.
It also shows that more vulnerable groups (
Children, seniors, pregnant women and people with asthma or cardiovascular disease)
It may be more vulnerable to the health of wildfire smoke.
Of course, contaminants and attendant health hazards are not limited to areas exposed to wildfire smoke.
We all breathe in harmful particles.
"There is considerable pollution in the air we have been breathing," said Tim heffnan, a science writer and editor at The New York Times Company Wirecutter.
Air purifier and long-
Long-term health benefits are rare because of the long term
Health is affected by many factors. (
This is why air purifiers cannot be sold as medical devices in the United States. )However, Mr.
Heffernan explained, "The fact that particle contamination does affect health is absolute and clear. ”In Mr. Heffernan’s in-
In-depth testing and review of HEPA (
Efficient particle catcher)
He found that, in general, they are very effective in reducing particle pollution in your home.
The air purifier captures small particles in the air, by capturing them in a dense mat composed of fine fibers, which are usually not visible to the naked eye.
To put it simply, they suck in the polluted air, capture the particles, and then blow out the clean air.
For HEPA certification, 99 air filters must be removed.
It is exactly 97% of the particles of 0.
3 microns in diameter-
Particularly difficult size for mechanical filtration.
This is also close to the size of wildfire smoke particles, mostly at 0. 4 to 0.
According to E, 7 micron rangeP. A.
The HEPA filter can also remove larger, smaller particles.
Some models tested by Wirecutter were able to remove almost all particles as small as 0. 01 micron, one-
The standard of Thirtieth HEPA.
Again, although long
Long term exposure to smoke can be low, and any kind of particulate contamination will still affect our health, and pollution is more concentrated indoors.
This means that almost all of us can benefit from cleaner air.
"Most of us spend a lot of time indoors . "Heffernan said.
"Indoor air is more polluted than outdoor air.
It boils down to what we have in our house: Pets, carpets, furniture, they absorb dust.
And the ventilation of many families is not very good.
Especially if you are older or have asthma or other respiratory diseases, you may consider using an air purifier.
Certified model Mr.
Heffernan and his colleague John Holecek tested together and was effective in removing particulate matter pollution.
For families who smoke-
Including the prone area near wildfire
In the affected areas, Heffernan recommends running the purifier high for an hour and then lowering it to medium or low, which will keep the amount of smoke in your home to a minimum.
When choosing an air purifier, we must first ensure that the purifier is indeed HEPA-certified;
It is often listed as "real HEPA.
"You will also want a model with tight seals around the filter.
"If the seal is not good, the air will flow on the edge . "Heffernan said.
"If it gives dirty air to the edges, you won't get the full effect.
Some models may list a CADR (
Clean Air Delivery Rate)rating.
This can measure the air volume through the unit, telling you that the efficiency of the model depends on the size of the room. Mr.
Heffernan recommends finding at least 200 or more CADR levels for tobacco smoke (
Dust and pollen are also given a rating).
This means that the unit effectively delivers 200 cubic feet of pure air per minute to a smoky room.
These models are often recommended for smaller rooms of about 300 square feet, and they will cycle air four to five times an hour in such a large room to ensure that contaminants are quickly filtered.
This is not to say that a model of the 200 CADR level does not work in a larger room, but it will work slower.
If you want to increase the cost-
Effective solution, you can also upgrade your existing HVAC (
Heating, ventilation and air conditioning)
A system for improving air quality.
The HVAC system is equipped with basic filters to capture larger particles such as pet hair.
As pointed out by the MERV rating of the filter or the minimum efficiency report value, you can upgrade the filter to a filter that captures smaller particles.
This indicator indicates that the filter reduces the efficiency of particles passing through it. (
Some manufacturers use their own MERV-
These are explained in Wirecutter's HVAC filter guide by Mr. Heffernan. )
The higher the number, the better the rating.
According to E. P. A.
, "The MERV filter between 7 and 13 may be as effective in controlling indoor particles in most air as the real HEPA filter.
"In HVAC systems, there are also" whole house "purifiers that provide real HEPA filtering, but these purifiers are expensive and may need to upgrade your air processor in your home.
Monthly or equivalent to the recommended filter MERV Wirecutter. However, Mr.
Heffernan warns that when the airflow is blocked by the captured particles, these limit the airflow and thus strain the old HVAC system.
Manufacturers usually recommend changing filters every three months
Heffernan said, but when the particulate matter is polluted at large, as during the wild fire, less than half of the time will be blocked.
Some certified air purifiers also come with some questionable extras.
Many of them claim to produce ozone to destroy pathogens, which sounds impressive, but the California Air Resources Commission has warned them.
Ozone is a respiratory irritation that causes health problems.
A 2008 ARB report said that "the introduction of any amount of ozone into indoor space may lead to an increase in the content of formaldehyde, superparticles and other contaminants.
"In fact, if you are in California, you may not even be able to order these types of devices on Amazon.
Many purifiers claim to use activated carbon filters to reduce VOCs or volatile organic compounds.
"In fact, very few of them do this . "
"It depends on the quality of the activated carbon filter.
"In order to be effective, the activated carbon filter must reach at least 5 pounds in order to produce any statistically significant effect," he said.
Most of them contain only a fraction of them.
The maintenance of your air purifier should be minimal.
Although many manufacturers recommend checking every six months, most HEPA filters are designed to run continuously for one year.
If you have quite a few deposits on your filter or you just want peace of mind, just replace it.
In addition to purifying the air, there are additional precautions if you live in smoke --
Or you care about contaminants.
Many of these tips are common sense: close your windows and avoid spending too much time outdoors so as not to bring particles into your home.
"I would also recommend some simple work such as washing sheets and pillowcases.
You don't want to spend 8 to 10 hours on the sheets full of smoke, "said Mr. Heffernan said.
If you're planning on vacuuming, remember that vacuuming can also produce dust and smoke, so mopping the ground can be a better way.
Finally, if you're using a paper mask or want one so you can smoke outside --
Adjacent areas, keep in mind that most areas have limited utilityP. A.
Noted in its guide.
In order to provide adequate protection for smoke particles, you need a mask assessed as N95 or p100 by the National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health.
These ratings indicate that masks or respirator blocks 95 to 99.
9% particles 0.
3 micron or larger.
"So if you're going to be outside and you want a mask, you need a certified mask . "Heffernan said.
"There will be no harm to a piece of paper, but it should not give you a false sense of security.