At home, ventilation can do a decent job of keeping indoor air pollutant-free. The problem is, allowing air from the outside also introduces a few pollutants. For example, tobacco smoke, car exhaust, or wildfire smoke.
What Is the Best Way to Get Rid of Pollutants Indoors?
EPA experts agree that air purifiers might help to get rid of indoor contaminants, especially when source control or ventilation options are insufficient. If you have never used an air purifier before, you probably have a few questions.
How many air purifiers do I need? Should I run the air purifier 24/7 or not?
In this post, we’ll discuss the 7 best ways to use an air purifier to get the most out of it.
Learn more about indoor air pollutants, their sources, health effects, and how to get rid of them.
1. Keep it away From the Walls in a Flat Place
If this is your first time buying an air purifier, you probably are wondering, which is the best location to place a purifier? You need to know that the location of your air purifier matters a lot.
Most air purifiers have front air intakes and side intakes with the outlet at the top. It’s crucial to ensure the location you pick for your purifier must not have objects blocking the air intakes or outlet. Place the air purifier at least 15 cm from the nearest object, including walls.
With no objects blocking the air intake and outlet, the purifier can draw in more air. By doing so, it can trap and remove allergens and microorganisms before distributing fresh, clean air in the room.
It’s essential to place the purifier on a flat surface such as the floor, dresser, or table. Whether it has a stand or caster wheels, a flat surface provides stability and ensures better performance.
Besides having no objects that block the purifier, the best location should not be humid. Experts recommend the room have a relative humidity of less than 85%.
Avoid placing the air purifier outdoors.
2. Keep Doors and Windows Closed
Air purifiers are for use indoors. It’s essential to keep the windows and doors closed. As earlier said, ventilation can help in the removal of stale air and pollutants indoors. But it can introduce new pollutants indoors, such as wildfire smoke and car exhaust, or remove the clean air distributed by the purifier.
You need to know that air purifiers work best in closed spaces. As such, they can trap and remove allergens and microorganisms in the confined space faster and efficiently. They also distribute fresh, clean air in the confined space for you and your family to enjoy. If you have to open the windows, make sure the purifier is cleaning the air in another room.
3. Keep it ON all the Time
It is recommended that you run an air purifier 24/7 at lower speeds. Most air purifiers have an auto mode feature. This feature works together with the air quality system.
If the air quality sensors detect an increased level of pollutants in the air, the purifier will run at the highest speed. Most purifiers have 1 to 3 fan speeds. By selecting the highest fan speed, the purifier cleans the room faster.
The air quality system is continuously monitoring air quality. If it detects no pollutants in the air, it will set the purifier to the lowest speed. At this speed, the air purifier will run whisper quiet. It will also consume less energy, unlike at the highest fan speed.
By consuming less energy, it saves you on energy costs. You need to know that most air purifiers are Energy Star certified. Even at the highest speed, they still consume less power saving you money.
4. Maintain Filters Regularly
The most common filtration systems found in modern air purifiers have two to five filters. They include multiple pre-filters, True or medical grade H13 HEPA filters, and activated carbon filters.
If the air purifier has a washable pre-filter, you can toss it in your laundry machine at least twice a month or after every ten days. You can also vacuum it according to the manufacturer’s instructions.
While the filters provide an excellent service of trapping pollutants, they do have a short lifespan. Most filters have a lifespan of 6 to 12 months, but it depends on usage. If clogged, they will have a low CADR.
To know when to replace a filter, check the filter status indicator. If it turns red, replace the filter following the manufacturer’s instructions. After replacement, reset the filter status indicator.
To keep the purifier’s body clean, wipe dust and debris using a microfiber cloth. Avoid using wet cloth.
5. Keep the Dust Sensor Clean (if any)
Many air purifiers come with a built-in dust sensor. This sensor works by monitoring indoor air quality. If the sensor detects an increased level of dust and other pollutants, it runs the purifier at the highest fan speed.
Due to its sensitivity, the lens of the dust sensor gets covered with dust and debris. In the summer, when pollution is high, clean the dust sensor at least twice a month.
For days when pollution is low, clean it once a month. Failure to clean the dust sensor will lower the performance of the purifier. How you may ask. It will be unable to detect the level of pollutants in the air. As such, the unit will not run on auto mode, cleaning the air efficiently.
Besides cleaning the dust sensor, keep it dry.
6. Use Extra Fans to Boost the Air Circulation
Every air purifier has a clean air delivery rate, room coverage, and air exchange rate specification. This is mainly dependent on the number and type of filters. For example, a portable purifier with a pre-filter, True HEPA filter, activated carbon filter, and two to three speeds is ideal for small rooms.
You may come across models with multiple filters that include a pre-filter, two HEPA, and activated carbon filters. Such units (wall-mounted or floor models) can have three to five fan speeds. As such, they are ideal for large rooms.
While air purifiers work hard to clean indoor air and eliminate contaminants, certain areas may not enjoy this benefit. This is true around the corners blocked by objects such as flower pots and dressers. To ensure all the air in the room gets processed by the purifier, you need extra fans.
Place the fans in the areas where the purifier’s cleaning efficiency does not reach. These fans will blow the unfiltered air towards the purifier and ensure all the air gets cleaned.
7. Common Practice (Dos/Don’ts)
Before cleaning the purifier or replacing the filters, disconnect from the power outlet. Otherwise, the unit may electrocute you while maintaining it.
Most air purifiers have the child lock/pet lock feature. While away from your home, make sure to turn on this feature. It helps to ensure that your kids or pets do not tamper with the settings. While at home, supervise your kids to ensure they do not play with the purifier.
Avoid placing any objects such as books, vases, and others on top of the unit. Not only will you be blocking the air outlet that distributes clean air in the room. But the object may press different controls and change the performance of the unit. Also, the object may introduce foreign objects via the outlet.
Instead of you and your family breathing in the fresh air. You’ll end up breathing in contaminated air.
Avoid placing the air purifier in an enclosed space where explosive, flammable, or toxic gases and substances are present. These substances can damage the unit or compromise its performance.
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An air purifier contributes a lot to the quality of indoor air at home and the office. If used in the right way, it can keep you and your family safe. In fact, it can eliminate the occurrence of asthma and other respiratory illnesses.
Besides trapping or removing pollutants from the air, purifiers can improve the quality of sleep. This will improve your quality of life and productivity at work.
Remember, always follow the manufacturer’s instructions before operating or maintaining an air purifier.