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How to Choose a Home Air Purifier

Updated on November 23, 2017
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I like to share information that makes life more joyful and meaningful. My main interests are health and general wellness in body and mind.

My Newly Installed Home Air Purifier


Why Need An Air Purifier

This article was brought about from my search for information about air purifier. Eversince; I had not the slightest idea why I should want an air purifier, let alone to choose a home air purifier. Then the situation changed. My son is not in the best of health. Apart from other medical problems, he had a serious lung infection recently and landed him in the ICU for 11 days, and many weeks of subsequent recuperation. Both his lungs are now very weak. So the idea of getting a home air purifier comes to mind. I hope that with an environment of cleaner and purer air, my son will be able to breathe easy and his lungs be strengthened in due course. The big question is : How to choose a home air purifier?

Personally, if not for my son’s condition, I don’t think I would invest in a home air purifier. I don’t think the air quality is so bad that I need to purify the air in my home. I can always go walk in the park with lush greeneries, fresh and clean running streams and plenty of shady trees. But I must admit that in my location air quality has been deteriorating because of the air pollution caused by a neighboring country. My beautiful island used to be under clear sky and refreshing clean air. But very sadly, not now. Everyday, the sky is hazy because of the billions of minute smoke particles being blown from that neighboring country that unceasingly burns its land in the name of cultivation clearing. We call this type of air pollution, “haze”. That is why I need to invest in a home air purifier for my son, given his weak lungs.

Try holding your breath for one minute, and most likely you will not be able to last that long. Our body needs continuous air supply through our lungs to oxygenate our blood. Without this vital air, we are dead. If our environment is clean and healthy, the air around us will be likewise clean and fresh. The quality of our live really depends on the quality of the air we breathe.

Now, coming back to the home air purifier. A home air purifier will certainly help those with breathing problems or those sensitive to polluted air. People who are affected by allergies or asthma problems, or like my son who is recovering from lung surgery, an efficient home air purifier will certainly help them to breathe easier and improve their quality of life.

In order to know how to choose a home purifier, we need some basic information about what is inside an air purifier.

Two Different Views Of My Coway Home Air Purifier: Model AP-1009CH


Understanding Air Purifier Technology

An air purifier is simply a gadget that sets to reduce the concentration of airborne pollutants and allergens in a designated area. The amount of pollutants removed by an air purifier will differ, depending on the specifications of the particular unit. Basically an air purifier consists of a fan blower to suck in the air passing through layers of specialized filters and disperse the purified air from the unit back to the room area.

Let us examine the main features of the air-purifier.

The fan or air blower: This is basic technology. An effective air purifier should have a powerful fan in order to effectively suck in the air through the various layers of filters and subsequently powerful enough to blow out the purified air.

Pre-filter: Pre-filter is the first line of the filtration process. Its main function is to trap larger particles such as all sorts of dust and hair. Pre-filter is washable or can be vacuumed, and is relatively cheap to replace. With the elimination of the coarser particles in the air, the activated carbon filter and main HEPA filter will last longer without constant replacement.

Activated carbon filter: The main function of activated carbon filter is to neutralize odors and trap unwanted chemicals and gases. This filter is placed after the pre-filter. It is usually combined with zeolite or potassium iodide to optimize toxin removal. Activated carbon filter is not washable and must be replaced periodically.

HEPA filter: This is the most important part of an air purifier. HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air (or Arrestance). HEPA filters are used in medical cleanrooms throughout the world. HEPA filter removes at least 99.97% of 0.3 micrometer particles. This means it effectively removes most airborne allergens and pollutants in the room, giving the room a clean and fresh atmosphere. The HEPA filter is placed after the pre-filter and the activated carbon filter. It is the final line of filtration and all air which passes through this HEPA filter should be almost 100 purified. The US Department of Energy specifies this HEPA filter requirement for any effective air purifier.

Other supplementary technologies: There are other supplementary technologies which are either outdated or not very effective, even detrimental to health. These include electrostatic, ultraviolet light (UV), plasma, and ionizer. Ionizer emits ozone which is an extremely dangerous lung irritant, and this technology should be avoided, especially for household use. So please choose a home air purifier without the ionizer function.

Delivery Of My Coway Home Air Purifier

Fresh from the box!
Fresh from the box! | Source
Coway technician installing the new unit.
Coway technician installing the new unit. | Source
Taking out the first filter, the prefilter.
Taking out the first filter, the prefilter. | Source
Reattaching the 3 filters.
Reattaching the 3 filters. | Source

What Are Your Priorities

It is important that you identify what your priorities are for wanting to install a home air purifier. This may sound silly; of course we want an air purifier to purify the air we breathe within a designated area. As different brands and models of home air purifier have different filter quality and fan power, we need to consider our primary reason so as to be able to choose the most appropriate unit. If you just want a home air purifier to do a general job of purifying the air, then an average quality unit will suffice.

Others may want a unit to specifically solve a problem. These are the three general priorities:

  1. Those who are looking for solutions to solve allergies, asthmatic and other breathing problems.
  2. Those who may want to remove smoke odor and unwanted gases.
  3. Those who may just want to remove dust and coarser particles like pet dander, fur and hair.

For category 1, the home air purifier should have a high quality HEPA filter.

For category 2, the home air purifier should have a high quality activated carbon filter.

For category 3, the home air purifier should have a high quality pre-filter.

Other Considerations To Ponder

Here are some common considerations to ponder when choosing the appropriate home air purifier:

  1. Brand reliability. It is always prudent to buy from a reliable manufacturer.
  2. Size of the room. Buy one that is sufficiently powerful enough to purify the air in your room.
  3. Styling and design. Make sure the unit is aesthetically pleasant and compliment your room décor.
  4. Easy filter change. Make sure it is easy to change the filters.
  5. Useful indicator lights. This will ensure the correct settings for the unit.
  6. Mobility of the unit. Make sure that the unit is easy to move around.
  7. After sales service. This is an important factor to consider, especially availability of filter replacements and parts, periodic servicing, warrantee commitment and general backup services.
  8. Price. Last but not least, the price range that you are willing to commit.

My Final Choice

From my research into the home air purifier, I found that all the recommended brands in the United States are not available in my location, except one, Coway. I suppose I can purchase them through the internet sites like Amazon, but I would rather buy one from my local store. The most popular brand for home air purifier in our location is Coway from South Korea.

I visited the Coway show center and decided on one of their mid-range models. I was surprised that the company encouraged customers to rent instead of outright purchase. After a bit of consideration I decided to rent from them instead of buying outright. Renting covers free periodic servicing by the Coway technicians and free replacements of parts and filters as and when required. Take a look at the photo showing the unit in my home.

Hope I have made a good choice and my son can breathe easy.

What Air Purifier Companies Won't Tell You

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