Pollution is no longer just an urban problem, thanks to the proliferation of wildfires during the summer and emissions from factories and even vehicles. Together these trends have bolstered demand for air filters.
Global spending on air filters will surpass $20 billion by the year 2021, according to TechSci Research, citing consumers’ growing awareness of deteriorating air quality.
While this spending includes air filters that attach to heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in homes, vehicles, businesses and industrial settings, there’s also rising demand for standalone air filters.
Different Types of Air Filters
The latter have grown in variety to inlcude five different types of air cleaning technologies, as classified by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Taking time to research different models before buying will help you choose something that will actually help you breathe easier.
While you’re researching different types of filters, you could take other steps to reduce indoor air irritants, like Consumer Reports suggests. These measures include:
- Frequent and throrough vacuuming using a vacuum that has a high efficiency particulate arrestance (HEPA) filter on it;
- Putting exhaust fans in your kitchen, bath, and laundry areas;
- Not storing chemicals, solvents, glues or pesticides near your living area;
- Proper maintenance of all heating and cooling equipment, including changing their respective air filters regularly; and
- Banning all smoking indoors, along with minimizing the use of candles and wood fires.
Doing all of these things might save you money, especially if you find that your air quality has improved to the point where you don’t need to buy an air filter.
At the very least, you might be able to run the air filter less often, or at a lower setting that uses less electricity.
These efforts are much more effective ways to save money on improving your indoor air than any attempt to buy a lower-priced air filter, with one possible exception: You might be able to find a high-rated filter second hand, but then you’d have to suss out the seller’s true motive for getting rid of the device and test it yourself before buying.
Although some people complain about whether product reviews reflect reality, you’ll want to set aside that kind of cynicism when researching air filters. Read reviews before buyig.
Lower-rated devices include those that ironically emit lung irritants: while ozone binds with dust, smoke, pollen, germs and mold, the gas can cause chest pains that can make you feel like you’re not getting rid of any pollution at all.
While portable air filters are likelier to generate ozone (either using ionizer technology or an electrostatic precipitator), even non-portable filters bundle ozone production with other types of filtration without offering a way for you to turn off the ozone generation.
Another thing to watch for: While HEPA filters can capture ultrafine particles, they accumulate on the filter itself, requiring periodic cleaning that might just overexpose you to the very things you were trying to keep out of your airspace.
Some people avoid this by simply replacing filters instead of trying to clean them, but this can get expensive, depending on how frequently the filters get replaced. Find out how often the average user replaces the filter and how much new filters cost.
All of these challenges in finding an effective and affordable air filter might warrant consideration of other strategies for breathing cleaner air.
A much lower priced alternative that tends to appear in emergency preparedness kits is the anti-pollution mask that also doubles as protection against smoke and hazardous fumes. Apparently this option can feel uncomfortable in addition to possibly generating funny looks from others.
One other option might be simpler, in addition to more natural: Getting houseplants can infuse more oxygen into the air while reducing carbon dioxide and possibly other pollutants, depending on the type of plant you get. People with allergies to plants, pollen or mold might not be able to go this route, however.
As you can now see, deciding what to do to purify indoor air clearly isn’t something that you can do rapidly and succeed. Impulse purchases of air filters without doing the research first might turn out badly. Try to pace yourself and you’ll have better luck finding something that will help you breathe easier.
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