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Time to Clean the Air in your Home?

Allergies and asthma are the most frequently mentioned health concerns recognized when considering the installation of an air purifying or filtering system with your HVAC system or using standalone systems in your home.

These systems also can help overexposure to ozone, which adversely impacts the cardiovascular system, and radon, which can cause cancer. Health experts have even done early studies showing that such systems may diminish the risk of dementia in older women.

While both types of devices remove impurities, the one filters the air while the purifier sanitizes it.

Some main concerns are:

  • Pet dander
  • Dust/dust mites
  • Pollen
  • Smoke/odor
  • Biological contaminants
  • Chemical pollution (from cleaning products, furniture, building materials)
  • Mold

For instance, an air cleaner filters pollution from smoke, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) or other gases, while an air purifier kills viruses and other pathogens that sicken people or sets off allergies. An air cleaner can filter out spores, but a purifier deactivates them. (The terms often are used interchangeably, though.)

Consider your surroundings and needs when deciding which system might best serve your purpose. Do you have a smoker in the home? Do you live in an area with a lot of wildfires? What pollutants (pesticides, for example) may you and yours be exposed to?

The Cleveland Clinic points out that systems benefit young children and older people the most, while also benefiting people with chronic lung diseases or compromised immune systems.

If you’re interested in a whole-house solution, depending on what your current system is able to handle, you might need some ductwork and are looking at $500 to $1,000. To professionally install an electronic air filter the cost can range $1,000 to $4,000.

Cost will be dependent on the type of filter, the size of the unit and the features included.

A standalone device may best fit your needs. If you want to try out just one, put it in the room where you spend the most time. It should be placed in an open area where it is unobstructed by furniture or anything else that would block air flow. Do not place in corners. Wall units also are available.

You should look for one that uses HEPA filters, which remove at least 99% of airborne particles with a 0.3 micron size. You’ll need to remember to replace filters every six to 12 months.

CNET.com currently recommends Honeywell’s Home Allergen Plus 300 XL (around $199 on Amazon) as its top choice. Other recommendations that take into consideration space and/or aesthetics:

  • Blueair Blue Pure 211 Plus Auto (large rooms)
  • Coway Airmega AP-1512HH (small rooms)
  • Blueair Blue Pure 411 Auto (best budget)
  • Coway Airmega 400S (entire house)
  • Levoit EverestAir Smart True HEPA Air Purifier (large spaces)

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