Let the buyer beware. That is certainly good advice for anyone entering the air purifier market. Quality, durability, and effectiveness vary widely. Price is no indication of quality or suitability. As for government standards, you’ll find no cop on the beat. At least in the US, no agency claims authority to regulate the industry.
With an anything goes, Wild West air purifier market it’s not hard to make a costly mistake. The following list will help you avoid seven common mistakes consumers make when they buy air purifiers.
Costly Mistake #1: Failing to Realistically Address One’s Health Needs
Do you know what you need? Most people who buy air purifiers expect a health benefit but never consider what is required.
Consider this, particles in the 2.5 to 10 micron range deposit in the nose and throat causing sinus irritation and allergies. How effective is the air purifier you’re considering at removing these particles?
Particles smaller than 2.5 micron, especially smaller than 0.1 micron, are known as lung penetrating. These are the most damaging and are linked to increased heart disease, heart attack and stroke.
While many best-rated air purifiers remove larger particles they are poor performers at removing these smaller, more dangerous particles.
Costly Mistake #2: Failing to Assume Responsibility for Air Quality
Far too many consumers buy air purifiers as a cure all for health and air quality problems without taking any other action.
I’m sure you’ve already heard the oft-quoted line about how the EPA says indoor air is two to one hundred times more polluted than outdoor air.
While marketers use that statistic as a reason for you to throw money at them, I want you to look at it another way. Ask yourself, Why the wide variance in pollution levels? What are the people doing that results in hundredfold more polluted air while others have less heavily polluted air?
More importantly, what can you do to clear the air in your home?
Costly Mistake #3: Not Taking Ozone Seriously
Ozone has fresh, after-the-rainstorm smell. And cyanide has a pleasant almond smell. And arsenic has a tasty garlic flavor. Don’t be fooled!
Most consumers buy air purifiers for real health benefits. Often they have chronic breathing problems. Exposure to ozone is the last thing they need.
Ozone exacerbates asthma and other breathing difficulties. It also increases sensitivity to allergens, so even healthy persons suffer more by exposure.
A 2004 EPA study found increased ozone concentrations were directly related to premature deaths. The study found that lowering outdoor concentrations of ozone by a mere 10 ppb (parts per billion) would result in some 4000 fewer premature deaths each year.
Yet ozone generators sold as air purifiers can increase indoor ozone levels by 300 ppb! How many may have paid the ultimate cost, their very life, by using these machines?
Ionic air purifiers should also be considered with caution. While not emitting such high levels of ozone as ozone generators, they nevertheless do produce ozone as a byproduct of normal operation. Do you really need this?
Costly Mistake #4: Choosing the Lowest Cost Air Purifier
Many who buy air purifiers mistakenly air sanitizer machine consider only the price, not long-term cost or value.
Cheap air purifiers typically have higher maintenance costs. One of the “dirty little tricks” is to sell a cheap air purifier and then rob the customer with high priced replacement filters.
These air cleaners may also have poor prefilters that allow rapid clogging of the main filter, forcing you to regularly replace the filters.
Cheap air purifiers also have cheap motors prone to early failure. Cheap ionic air purifiers have cheap electronics, ionizing wires and pins that fail all too quickly.
Always consider long-term performance and cost.
Costly Mistake #5: Believing the Room Size Estimates in the Advertising
Consumers almost always buy air purifiers that are under sized because air purifier marketers overstate the area that can be cleaned.
For instance, they base their estimate on the maximum fan speed. Additionally, they estimate as little as one air change per hour (ACH).
Effective cleaning requires 4 to 6 ACH. This should be accomplished with the air purifier operating on its lowest setting. That way noise is not an issue and you have surplus capacity available.
Clean air delivery rates (CADR) and air changes per hour should be taken with a grain of salt. Better still; calculate for yourself how much air is supplied when run at the lowest setting. Will it give you at least 4 ACH in the room where you need it?
Costly Mistake #6: Failing to Consider Routine Maintenance
Most consumers buy air purifiers without ever considering the true maintenance needs. Certain infomercials have misled the public into believing that filter maintenance is a laborious, messy and expensive chore.
HEPA filter air purifiers of superior quality and value may need a filter change only once every five years and take no more than ten minutes.
On the other hand, ionic air purifiers are presented as needing little more than a quick wipe or toss into the dishwasher.
But let’s dig deeper. In as few as three days ionic air purifier efficiency can become less than 20% resulting in very poor air cleaning.
To maintain efficiency regular cleaning is necessary. Many consumers complain that the plates are hard to disassemble and reassemble, are hard to clean between and don’t always fit in a dishwasher.
What is the five-year cost of running the collector plates through the dishwasher every second or third day? What about the time cost? How does a ten-minute filter swap once every three to five years compare to the time spent removing and cleaning a collector grid three times a week?
Costly Mistake #7: Considering Only Popular and Prominent Air Cleaners
Many consumers buy air purifiers they’ve seen on TV, often as a result of some infomercial. Sharper Image took advantage of this fact to such an extent they secured 25% of the air purifier market at the height of their product’s fame.
But saturating the airwaves with radio and TV spots, infomercials, print ads and celebrities costs millions. Who really pays for this? You do, that’s who. How much of an air purifier’s cost is tied to the hype? How much to its design and engineering?
Your best air purifier value is in those manufacturers that specialize exclusively in air purification, not in high profile marketing companies whose specialty is cleaning out your wallet.