Don't bother if...
Making it easier
Assessing the health of the house
Criteria for air cleaners
Breathing is a key system for our body, so the air should be the best quality. If we free our body from dealing with pollutants, then it can devote its energy to running the other systems in our body better.
Indoor air can be 2-5 times more polluted than the air outdoors. The American Medical Association estimates that as many as half of all illnesses reported are due to or aided by indoor air pollution. The airborne particles in your home can lead to allergies, fatigue, and illness.
Anything that clogs our upper and lower respiratory systems should be eliminated. Allergies and the histamines generated tax our systems and can lead to damaging inflammation that is chronic - but our bodies have these systems only for short term handling of invaders. Note that the smallest pollutants get the farthest into the lungs, damaging your immune system and causeng inflammation. (Be sure you know what the effects of inflammation are. Enter it into the search engine on this site for a solid, but quick, overview.)
Morning congestion is reduced, and allergy symptoms are lessened.
DON'T BOTHER IF...
If you don't change or clean the filters regularly then the filtering won't work! You must "tickle" it in your calendar system at least every quarter to clean all the filters in your house (and once a year probably to change your water filter).
MAKING IT EASIER
As in the theme of the site and its sister Live8020.com, something without maintenance is often more workable, as many people will not spend the time to maintain things unless it is easy and convenient. Therefore, a washable, reusable element can make sense, as long as it doesn't impair the cleaning power. However, see the comments on air cleaners.
One for each room you're in for a long period of time.
Measure of effectiveness: CADR, clean air delivery rate. 250 = adding 250 cubic feet of clean air each minute. 250 cubic feet = 1/3 of a 10 x 10 room with 8 foot ceilings. Learn about this: www.cadr.org/consumer-tips. Ratings by brand.
The recommended CADR for a 10 x 12 room with an 8' ceiling (960 cubic feet, see chart below) is 80 (or 1 CADR per 12 cubic feet.. A 12 x 15 room with a 9' ceiling is 1620 cubic feet, so a CADR for that room would be 135.
Although you can move air purifiers from room to room, doing so is counter-productive. When you move air purifiers from one room to another, it allows the air in the rooms of your home to keep getting dirty.
Bedroom is #1 priority, as you're guaranteed to be in it 8 hours plus.
Any other space you're in for a long time deserves an air cleaner, too!
Room size in cubic feet:
Dimensions Sq ft 8 9 10
10 x 10 100 800 900 1000
12 x 15 180 1440 1620 1800
20 x 20 400 3200 3600 4000
HVAC system filters:
Replace filter every 3 months! Use higher quality allergen remover. (Don't remove paper frame around it!) Electrostatic air filters outperform the non-electrostatic. One with a microparticle performance rating (MPR) of 1000 or better is recommended. MERV rating of 10 or higher. Washable ones cost $54 and have a MERV of 5.
A great vacuum can get rid of the pollutants. Thought depending on your use, it is generally recommended to change your vacuum bag once a month and to never allow it to become more than 1/2 filled (so it doesn't re-release particles into the air). Use a vacuum cleaner with a microfilter bag or HEPA.
Avoid dust, mold, and bacteria build-up by wiping down surfaces in bathrooms, bedrooms, and the kitchen with a diluted bleach solution.
Similar to air pollution (mites) bedding should be washed weekly in hot water, but the more critical part is to have allergen free barriers on the mattress and pillow covers.
Replace wool or feather bedding with synthetic materials.
Carbon Monoxide Detector; Radon Test
Necessary if there are any combustion appliances. A reliable battery is necessary. Insist on detectors that meet the CAN/CGA 6.19 standard or the Underwriters Laboratories (UL) 2034 standard.
Have a humidifier or dehumidifier that measure the humidity. Should be between 35 to 50%.
Lots. Increases oxygen and remover pollutants.
Clean your nasal passages
Use the neti-pot or similar to clean the nasal passages so they are more effective at pulling out the pollutants before they get to your lungs. See Sinuses. Use saline sprays to keep your nose from drying up and not being able to capture pollutants.
ASSESSING THE HEALTH OF THE HOUSE
Airplane, really, really bad!
Buy the nose masks from a travel store (or TravelSmith or Magellan's).
A clean air generator that is relatively cheap is what I use in an airplane. Travel Person Air Purifier @ $59.90.
Dusty Or High Smog
In India, the pollution is terrible from the cars. In Egypt, the dust in the valleys was smothering and coated my nose. I wished I'd have had a nose mask.
CRITERIA FOR AIR CLEANERS
Low maintenance (just wash off filtering): Oreck, but poorly rated. Ionic Breeze, but poorly rated.
For ease of care and price, low enough to buy 2 for a larger room: Honeywell 50250 Pure HEPA Round Air Purifier, $165, 250 CADR, 390 sq. ft., 77% to 99% air cleaning. Vacuum the filters instead of replacing. Safe on ozone. Good choice.
Air Oasis 3000 cleans to 3000 sq. ft., costs $499.99 (on sale for the moment at $100 off), and the replacement cell costs $79 every three years. Good choice.
Ecoquest FreshAir, 3000 sq. ft., vacuum to clean filters, ozone plates must replaced annually for 39.99. Also requires the replacement of a RCI cell every 3 years.($99.95). A price of $220.00 over 3 years. High ozone device, so possible problem. Price $499 to $600. High ratings from users.
An electrostatic precipitating air purifier is not as effective as a HEPA filtered air purifier because it captures less dust and particulates. An air purifier that can clean an average sized bedroom 12 to 15 times per hour or clean the air in a family room 6 to 8 times per hour will do a great job of keeping your two main living spaces clean of dust and allergens.
HEPA air purifiers with true HEPA filtration are well worth the investment to keep your breathing space clean, comfortable, and allergy free.
Only use established common brands, as you'll likely need to find replacement filters later. Note the price of the filters. Buy extra set when you buy the unit.
Since a good one can be costly, try EBay.com.