(NC) On average, people spend about 90 per cent of their time indoors. Indoor air can contain all kinds of particles, including dust, pet dander, and chemical pollutants and smoke entering from outside, or produced indoors by using incense, smoking or cooking. A portable air cleaner, more commonly referred to as an air purifier, is one way to help improve indoor air quality in your space.

Air purifiers work by removing very small particles in the air. Designed to clean a single room, air purifiers remove particles by pulling the air through a filter.

If you’re considering purchasing a unit, follow these tips for choosing the best one:

  • Look for a unit tested by Consumer Reports or certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).
  • Check the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). As a general guideline, the smoke CADR should be equal at least two-thirds of the room’s area. If your room has higher than 8-foot ceilings, or if the outdoor conditions are extreme (from wildfire smoke, for example), consider a higher CADR.
  • Consider an air purifier with a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter, which can trap smaller particles than a non-HEPA filter can. Some devices also include an activated carbon or other absorbent filter to remove gases such as volatile organic compounds.
  • Follow manufacturer instructions for placement and operation to ensure good airflow. Generally, higher fan speeds and longer run times will increase the amount of air filtered.
  • Consider selecting a unit with a lower noise rating.
  • Avoid air purifiers that produce ozone, such as electrostatic precipitators and ionizers, as ozone can impact your health. Air purifiers that use UV light or photocatalytic oxidation also produce ozone and are not effective at removing harmful particles from the air. If you choose an electronic air purifier, make sure it is tested and produces low levels of ozone. The California Air Regulatory Board lists units that have passed testing for ozone emissions.

Don’t forget to clean or replace the filter as recommended by the manufacturer. Find more information on keeping a healthy home at canada.ca/healthy-home.

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