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How to Buy the Right Air Purifier

With the rise in air pollution, the demand for air purifiers has increased manifold. But with plethora of options available and no set well-defined standards, selecting the right Air Purifier has become a tedious task.

With the rise in air pollution, the demand for air purifiers has increased manifold. But with plethora of options available and no set well-defined standards, selecting the right Air Purifier has become a tedious task. Surfaces Reporter has brought on board some of the manufacturers of Air Purifiers who have shared their expertise on how to select the best Air Purifier.

“If you have allergies such as asthma, have pregnant women in home, small kids, elderly with respiratory problems thenyou may consider buying an air purifier designed for such relief - HEPA based Air Purifiers, popularly known as High Efficiency Particulate Air filters.” “Stay away from any technology in a purifier that emits ozone.”

Someone’s pain is someone else’s gain. This fits aptly in the recent scenario of increasing air pollution and subsequent rise in demand for air purifiers. In fact, given the worsening situation Air Purifiers are becoming a necessity just like water purifiers. As per a recent World Health Organization (WHO) report, half of the world’s 20 most polluted cities are in India. Gwalior in Madhya Pradesh and Allahabad in Uttar Pradesh are at the 2nd and 3rd spot while Delhi is at 11th. Interestingly smaller cities from India dominate the list.

And, these are from the data that has been collected in 2012 and going by the trend it is safe to assume the level of pollution has only increased in the last four years. The acute case of Air Pollution was on display this Diwali in Delhi when smog covered the entire city for over a week and emergency measure had to be taken. Consequently, a 50% rise in demand for AirPurifiers were reported in Delhi-NCR during that period as per a ASSOCHAM survey.

However, being a relatively new commodity in the Indian market and with plethora of options available, consumers are bound to get confused. What makes the situation even more difficult is that manufacturers don’t follow standardized set of specifications to be listed. Surfaces Reporter has studied the nuances of the different models of Air Purifiers available in the market and sought from the manufacturers to help its readers in buying decision.

Things to keep in mind

A simple online search throws you plenty of options from reputed as well as not so well-known brands in Price ranges anywhere between Rs 8,000 and Rs 1,00,000. There are a lot of different factors to consider when buying an air purifier, from the cost, to the design, but the most important is how effective the purifier will be for you.

Here are the key parameters for deciding on the right Air Purifier for you.

Size of the Room

This is the most important factor affecting the choice of Air Purifier. It is imperative that an air purifier should be able to filter the air in the room several times in a single hour. Marzin Shroff, CEO, Eureka Forbes Limited opines, “It is extremely important to opt for the right purifier. The type and size of air purifier one needs depends upon the size of room to be cleanedalong with the level of pollution/pollutants at home and humanhealth conditions.”

The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) and the effective area covered are the two most important information, that the manufacturers provide which will help you selecting the right purifier for the room size. The US-based Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM), the organisation behind the development of the CADR, recommends that filters should be used in rooms whose volumes, expressed in cubic feet are equal or smaller than the filter’s CADR rating multiplied by 12.

So assuming the height of the room at 10 ft (which is the average height of Indian homes), for a 450 sq ft room the CADR should be at least 375 (450*10/12). For a 15ft x 12 ft room, the CADR should at least be 150 (15*12*10/12). Now these are the absolute minimum and prescribed for the US market which is less pollutant than India. Plus these are measured at max speed. A study undertaken by Airveda has recommended opting for at least 50-100 CADR higher for best results.

Dr. Mahesh Gupta, Chairman, KENT RO Systems Ltd said, “Air purifiers come with a CADR levels which means the capacity m3/hr and also accordingly suggests the room size For example, we have KENT Alps air purifier which come with 400 m3/hr CADR Capacity and is ideal for an area of upto 430 sq feet. That means you can purify area of your living room and lobby with this purifier ideally. So, before buying just consider the room size where you are planning to keep the device.”

Purification Process

The popularity of air purifiers is growing steadily. But, there are few things you need to consider before buying an air purifier to help you find the right air purifier for your needs. “For instance, if you have allergies such as asthma, have pregnant women in home, small kids, elderly with respiratory problems then you may consider buying an air purifier designed for such relief - HEPA based Air Purifiers, popularly known as High Efficiency Particulate Air filters,” adds Gupta.

Air purifiers should have a special multi-stage filtration process that locks in particles at every stage. Initial filters capture larger particles like dust, molds, pollen, etc, while final filters capture smaller bacteria and gaseous contaminants in the air. While purchasing an air purifier, one needs to ensure that it can capture indoor carcinogenic, ultra-fine particles to ensure availability of fresh air.

Rakesh Kaul, President and Chief, Consumer Business, HSIL Ltd informed, “Different filters such as HEPA filter, ionic filter and activated carbon filter, have different purposes to fulfil. An air purifier should have all 3 major filters. A true HEPA filter helps to eliminate 99.9% of particles (from the air within a specific space) that are the size of 0.3 microns or larger. It does not capture gases or odours. That is why an Activated Charcoal filter is normally used in conjunction with a HEPA filter. Activated Carbon filter absorbs formaldehyde, benzene & other harmful gases. UV lamp eliminates mold spores, bacteria, viruses & pollen spores.”

Kaul further added that most filters are replaceable and should be changed within the recommended time period by the manufacturer. The air purifiers also need to be cleaned every two weeks due to the high level of pollution. However, experts suggest avoiding ozonisers. “Stay away from any technology in a purifier that emits ozone. According to EPA, (US Environmental Protection Agency), even relatively low amounts of ozone can cause chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath and throat irritation. It states that ozone air purifiers can be hazardous to health,” cautioned Shroff.

Budget

The prices for air purifiers can range anywhere between INR 8,000 and 1 lakh depending on the filtration system and size of the air purifier. Therefore, it is important for consumers to survey the market for the best possible options available within their budget & need. If in a similar price range, opt for the one with higher CADR or more filters. On what are the features that a consumer should look for in an Air Purifier, Syed Moonis Ali Alvi, General Manager Purifier Business, Panasonic India informed, “The filtration capacity needs to be matched to the room size. It should have built-in humidifier; a dedicated water tank will add humidity as and when needed. Other than these filter replacement indicator, Sleep Mode for quiet operation and Child lock (to keep children’s safety as a priority) features are desired.” But then again some of the smart or cosmetic features may be done away with you are on a really tight budget.

Technologies offered for the Indian Market

KENT RO uses a combination of purification systems as well as a set of filters. Gupta informed, “The three stage filtration process  gives you an excellent level of Air Purification. Kent Air-Purifiers uses tested and trusted a unique designed Primary filter acting as a first line of defense removes large and visible pollutants such as large particle dust, cobwebs, debris, human and pet hair, the Activated carbon filter removes any smell odour including smoke, foul smell, pet smell, and Anti-bacterial coated ‘HEPA’ (high efficiency particulate arrestor) developed with superior Japanese technology, catches and traps carcinogenic particles such as bacteria, pollen, allergens, mould, dust etc.”

Alvi of Panasonic added, “Panasonic air-purifier’s have two types of air-filters - Composite Air Filter and HEPA air-filter. The Composite Air Filter consists of three kinds of technology—Super alleru-buster, Green Tea Catechin and Anti-bacteria Enzyme and can inhibit 17 kinds of virus, bacteria and allergens up to 99%. The HEPA air-filter can remove 99.7% particles from the air. Our Air purifiers have filter replacement indicator which indicates the filter needs to be changed once the filter life is over. The Air-Filters comes with life up to 10 Years.”

 Powered by Puri 5 technology, a five stage filtration process in every model irrespective of the price band, ‘moonbow’ offers. Kaul informed, “The importance of 5 stage filtration lays in its ability to sieve away unsafe levels of particulate matter, also known as particle pollution or (PM) up to 2.5 micrometer in size in air. There are several sources of PM 2.5 size particles; dust, cooking, automobile emissions, forest fires, agricultural burning to name a few which impacts our daily breathing process. And, their contribution is on the rise. This is where ‘moonbow’ air purifiers with their inbuilt modern technology will make the difference.”

Eureka Forbes range of Dr. Aeroguard and Aeroguard air purifiers come with filters that are replaceable. Shroff added, “Eureka Forbes offers 9-stage filtration process. Under normal operating conditions, the life of the filter is 3000 hours. Considering the use of 8 hours daily, the filters will last anywhere between 8-12 months, depending on the air quality and the environmental conditions.”

In a nutshell, studying your requirements (like room size, the level of pollution, odours etc) thoroughly before venturing out to buy an Air Purifier would be of immense help. Further, rationalising your expectation with the tentative price band you have in mind, will help you narrow down your search. Then comparing the filters, CADR and effective area covered will help you to select the purifier that will meet your requirement. However, given the lack of well-defined standards and testing for the Indian market, it will be wise to stick to well-known brands. If you have any suggestions, please write to us at press@surfaces.in.

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Surfaces Reporter is India’s 1st magazine specialized on “products & materials” for architecture & Interiors! The prime objective of Surfaces Reporter magazine is to contribute positively to the Indian material industry, with unbiased information & awareness initiatives.

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