Air Purifier Maintenance
Air purifiers & air purifiers for large rooms can be of great benefit to you, especially if you live in a relatively polluted place, or happen to suffer from allergies or a respiratory problem like asthma.
HEPA vs. True HEPA
There is a variety of air purifiers on the market, HEPA air purifiers (High Efficiency Particulate Air) generally being regarded as the most effective – HEPA filters are these days are even fitted on vacuum cleaners. However, it is important to know that there is a difference between HEPA and True HEPA air purifiers. True HEPA air purifiers catch 99.97% of particles, some as small as 0.3 microns. HEPA air purifiers catch 99% of particles, up to 2 microns or larger. Depending on your needs and your budget you might want to invest in the more comprehensive True HEPA model. Smart air purifiers also allow you the luxury of controlling your air purifier remotely, via your smartphone or tablet. You can control it on the way home from work, for example, rather than leaving it on all day. It takes about 45 minutes to 3 hours to reach maximum effectiveness.
There are three types of purifier filters that different models of air purifiers tend to use: permanent, washable, or disposable. Maintaining them is essential, otherwise you are not getting the best out of your purifier.
- Permanent Filters – These should never be washed with water because this will harm the filter. You’ll usually have a pre-filter which should be taken off and cleaned. A soft-bristled brush is best, and a damp sponge can wipe each side of it. The activated carbon filter can be gently vacuumed so that dust is removed. Next, use a small handheld vacuum cleaner attachment to clean the HEPA filter. Whatever you do, don’t jab or prod it but allow the suction to go to work. Finally, reassemble, first putting the HEPA filter back, then the activated carbon filter, finally the pre-filter.
- Washable Filters – Take care to note the specifics of the manufacturer’s instructions, eg. wash with or without soap, with hot or warm water. Rinse the pre-filter, or gently brush; it will usually hold the lion’s share of debris, so ensure you’ve covered the surrounding floor adequately. Next, rinse the HEPA filter, indoors or outdoors, depending on the size of your model. Make sure you avoid high-pressure water and use your fingers to gently massage out any noticeable dirt. After it is totally dry, reinstall.
- Disposable Filters – These are easy; just throw away or recycle, then insert a new one. Most are recyclable, these days; however, even ‘permanent’ filters will need replacing eventually. Generally, this will need to happen when you notice it becoming worn and discolored.
Allergy Proof Your Home
Air purifiers are great, but you can also help maintain them, extending their lifespan, by ensuring various things are implemented in your home, paying particular attention to your bedroom. Why? Well, assuming you spend most your working day not in your home, you spend roughly one-third of your time asleep in your bedroom, so this should be your central focus.
- Bedding – You can use dust-mite-proof covers on mattresses and pillows, wash bed-sheets and blankets at least once a week, and consider using synthetic fabrics instead of feather or wool.
- Flooring – Going carpet-free is best, due to dust-mites. Failing that, regular vacuuming with a HEPA filter vacuum cleaner, choosing a low-pile over the high-pile carpet, and regular carpet shampooing with a carpet cleaner will all help.
- Curtains – Use plain cotton or synthetic fabric, and washable curtains – easy compared to replacing your carpets.
- Windows – Rely more on air-conditioning during pollen season (April, May). Ensure mold and condensation are regular removed and have double-glazed windows installed in order to better control temperature variation, especially if you live somewhere that gets very cold.
- Furnishings – Avoid upholstery if possible; metal, wood, leather are best.
- Clutter – Dust books and other knick-knacks and memorabilia, if you have a lot. Wash pets regularly, if you have any. Open windows in the morning, vacuum daily, and keep your bedroom minimalistic.
Doing these things should relieve some of the burden on your air purifier and extend its lifespan. If you go out to work then you can get away with using it for only part of the day, which will also help to extend its longevity.
- Air Purifier Maintenance Guide – Achoo! Blog – AchooAllergy