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Air Purifiers For Odor Elimination

Jul 10, 2008
Do smoky cigars, lingering pet odors, or strong fumes pollute the air in your home? Although odors and foul smells are a natural part of life, they don't have to be a part of your indoor air!

Anyone with small children, pets, or a smoker in the house knows all too well that room deodorizers and air fresheners only mask the smell temporarily and don't solve your real air cleaning needs. In fact, many of them release toxic chemicals into the air (not good!). To gain fresh, clean air, the odors in your home must be neutralized and cleaned completely. Odors like strong cooking smells, chemical fumes, and tobacco smoke are particularly dangerous for people suffering from asthma and allergies. As the air reaches the lungs, these bothersome odors and fumes trigger allergic reactions.

When deciding which air purifiers will be most effective against household odors, first consider the amount of air each air purifier can effectively process. The CADR, or Clean Air Delivery Rate, is used to measure the overall effectiveness of an air purifier and is tested and certified by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).

As air cycles through the air cleaner, the CADR measures the volume of air actually moving through the system, and the percentage and size of the particles being removed. CADR tests for pollutants like tobacco smoke, dust and pollen. These tests determine, in cubic feet per minute (CFM), how effective the air cleaner is at removing specific pollutants.

CADR results are recognized as accurate and impartial measurements by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the American Lung Association. Although some manufacturers use the air exchange rate to qualify their air cleaners, it is not comparable to the CADR tests. Air exchange rates only indicate the total volume of air that is processed by the air purifier in a given time and does not account for the particles being filtered or the overall effectiveness of the air purifier. Ensure that your air purifier has been tested and certified by the AHAM for optimal CADR results to guarantee that you will receive an air cleaner that has the ability to remove airborne contaminates, odors, and fumes.

Air purifiers utilize various methods of filtration for neutralizing and cleaning the awful odors in indoor air. Activated carbon filters are the most widely used type of filter to remove gases, odors, and chemical toxins. The carbon that is contained in activated carbon filters is basically charcoal. When charcoal is treated with oxygen, millions of tiny pores between the carbon atoms are created, enabling the activated carbon to adsorb odorous substances from gases or liquids.

The term "adsorb" refers to the process by which the material attaches itself to the charcoals by way of chemical attraction. Large surface areas with tiny pores of activated charcoal attract odors, gases, and chemical toxins, and the pores trap these impurities. As the carbon filter becomes full with airborne contaminants, the charcoal becomes less effective, requiring replacement. Impregnated carbon filters contain an additional chemical (a chemisorbent), allowing them to eliminate Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) as well as odors and fumes.

Many AllerAir air purifiers are especially equipped to remove VOCs, offensive odors, smoke, and smog. With an optional UV light to kill bacteria and sterilize the air, AllerAir air purifiers are comprised of an all-metal housing that does not produce off-gassing or ozone. AllerAir air purifiers offer heavy-duty air cleaning for industrial or residential settings.

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters, by definition, are required to filter at least 99.97% of all airborne particles as small as 0.3 microns, including dust, pollen, and pet dander. However, the size, material, and construction of the HEPA filter media will determine the amount of particulates that will be filtered. If the filtration media is too small, some ultra-fine particles like foul odors and chemical fumes can be missed.

To tackle odor control, HEPA air purifiers usually combine the HEPA filter with additional filtration systems. Manufacturers like Austin Air combine the HEPA filtration technology with their own carbon/zeolite filter to effectively remove airborne pollutants and lingering odors and smells. The carbon/zeolite filter is impregnated with potassium iodide for enhanced removal of chemically reactive gases, providing your home with air that's free of allergens, toxins, and odors.

Charged Media filters are also effective against nasty odors. Through the use of electrostatic energy and synthetic fiber filters, many charged media filters can collect particles as small as 0.1 microns. The media filter, made from synthetic fibers, is charged through the manufacturing process and attracts airborne contaminants electrostatically before trapping them inside the fibers of the filter.

However, charged media filters lose their charge frequently and become less effective after every use, requiring a filter replacement to regain efficiency. In fact, some charged media filters emit ozone, a dangerous lung irritant that pollutes your air and should be avoided by allergy and asthma sufferers.

Some charged media filters like Blueair air purifiers offer optional smoke, odor, and gas removal filters. Known for their stylish and sleek design, Blueair air purifiers offer low energy consumption and easy-to-replace filters. With either a Smokestop filter or a particle and gas filter, Blueair air purifiers remove 99.97% of particles at 0.1 micron, and they don't emit ozone.

Like charged media filters, electrostatic precipitators use electrostatic charges to safely clean air and neutralize odors. As air is pushed through many static prone fibers, electronic cells charge airborne particles and capture them inside of collector plates. As electrostatic precipitators don't require filters, you don't have to worry about replacing the filters. Simply wash the collector plates and insert them back into the air purifier for fresh, clean air.

Although some electrostatic precipitators emit dangerous levels of ozone, the Friedrich electrostatic air purifier emits only a trace amount, and it's the best deal for your money. Friedrich electrostatic air purifiers have been tested and certified by the AHAM to outperform 99% of competing air purifiers at removing pollen, dust, and tobacco smoke. Proven effective against aerosols, odors, and fumes, Friedrich air cleaners provide an affordable solution to your polluted air.

So if you're trying to rid your home of disgusting odors, noxious gases, or foul fumes, don't spray air fresheners that will only contribute to your indoor air pollution. Instead, freshen your air with a quality air purifier. Your nose will appreciate it!
About the Author
Scott Smith is an expert on indoor air quality and air purifiers at achooallergy.com.
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