Best of AHAM Allergy Advice

 

Caution Sign – Pollen Season Ahead

Spring is here, and allergies are right around the corner, if not already knocking at the door. Luckily, you already have a secret weapon at your disposal! Your appliances can help remove some of the allergens from your home and reduce your symptoms. We’ve gathered our top allergy prevention advice to help you through the seasonal allergy storm:

Looking for allergy relief? Your humidifier or dehumidifier could help!

Learn how these appliances can help you fight allergies.

Your Appliance Spring Cleaning Checklist

Keep your indoor air pollutants to a minimum with your vacuum, clothes washer and air cleaner.

Physicians share their allergy prevention advice

Two experts share their advice on allergy relief.

Room air cleaners: Your ally against allergens

Air cleaners can help to remove allergy-causing pollutants from your home.

Tips for Managing your Child’s Allergies

AHAM’s tips for helping your little ones breathe easier.

 

Induction Cooking is Heating Up

 

The recent proposal by the U.S. Department of  Energy for extremely stringent energy standards that would effectively eliminate most existing models of gas ranges has many home cooks up in arms at the thought of losing their favorite cooking method. But it has also drawn more attention to a newer alternative: induction cooking. Once considered a high-end appliance feature, more models of induction cooking ranges, cooktops and portable models are now available for cooks who are interested in making the switch. The percentage of electric surface cooking units and electric ranges that include induction is still relatively small, but has risen steadily in recent years. According to AHAM factory shipment data, induction ranges make up less than 5% of all electric ranges, but the number has grown 40% over the past year. In 2022, induction cooktops made up about one-third of all electric cooktops, a 6% increase over the previous year. Induction is heating up!

So how does induction cooking differ from gas and electric? Unlike gas and electric ranges, induction ranges use a magnetic field to transfer heat directly into the pan. Because of the direct heat transfer, there is no loss of heat, and what you’re cooking heats up faster!  But only the pan, and what’s in it, will get hot. Not having hot cooking elements reduces the potential that nearby materials can ignite while cooking, according to the National Fire Prevention Association. Also, it’s unlikely that the burners will be accidentally turned on, since they won’t heat without the proper cookware on the burner, the NFPA says.

Induction burners will only work with cookware made of magnetic metals, such as iron or stainless steel. Most cookware is compatible – look at product packaging or marketing if you have any questions.

Hint: Cookware packaging will normally state if the cookware is compatible with induction surfaces. Cookware with a flat bottom will get you the best results.

Induction also offers more precise temperature control. You can even cook delicate items like dairy or chocolate for long periods, without worrying about fluctuations in temperature. It will take some practice, though, as induction cooking gets you to your desired temperature faster than gas or electric. Water, for example, will boil in about half the time. You’ll need to get used to the faster heating times.

The design of induction ranges, and the fact that they don’t get hot during cooking, can also lend itself to easier cleaning. Since the burners don’t heat up, spills aren’t going to burn onto the cooktop. (Though gas and electric ovens are also easy to clean, if you do it right.)

6 Ways to Reduce and Remove Allergens in Your Home

Spring’s warm breezes, blooming gardens and milder weather are welcome. The allergies that often come with them? Not so much. But don’t let the threat of seasonal sneezes cool your spring fever. Here are six ways you can use your appliances to reduce and remove allergens from the air, floor and furniture in your home:

Wash it out: Pollen doesn’t just spread by air. It also attaches to your clothing, and your clothes washer can help remove it before it becomes airborne again, this time in your home. Washing your bed linens regularly in hot water can also kill dust mites, another common source of allergies.  Also, don’t underestimate the build-up of allergens in your hair from spending time outdoors.  Be sure that you wash your hair frequently during allergy season.

Dry your laundry indoors: You have just washed the pollen out of your clothes. Using a clothes dryer over an outdoor clothesline will help keep it off. Line-dried laundry and linens can pick up pollen or other allergens while outdoors and bring them back into your home.

Vacuum everything: Pollen and allergens can end up just about everywhere—carpets, rugs, hard surfaces, furniture, drapes, and mattresses. Vacuum all of them to remove as much of the allergens as possible. A portable vacuum with a HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) filter has the capability to remove more than 99 percent of allergens with particles larger than .3 microns. That includes pollen and dust mites. If you are using a portable vacuum that requires a bag, use micro-lined, two-ply vacuum bags to stop the allergens from being kicked back into the air while vacuuming. Central vacuums capture dirt and pollutants that are carried through a home’s exhaust system to a central container. In most cases, they are installed in a garage or basement, and don’t require a HEPA filter to remove allergens.

Clear the air: Like vacuums, many models of room air cleaners also use HEPA filters to filter allergens and other pollutants from the air. In fact, a HEPA filter can help reduce pollutants in the air by up to 50 percent, though that depends on  how the unit operates. Look for the unit’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), which notes the suggested room size for an air cleaner and is the most helpful metric for comparing air cleaner performance. CADR provides ratings for the air cleaner’s ability to remove smoke, dust and pollen. And CADR is evolving. Soon, consumers will also be able to compare air cleaners for their ability to remove microbiological pollutants like viruses, bacteria and mold, and household chemicals. Not sure where to start?  Visit AHAMVerifide.org for more about how to choose the proper air cleaner for your room. Change the air cleaner’s filter regularly and position your air cleaner near the center of the room, away from walls, to maximize airflow and performance.

Cool the air: When the temperatures warm up, keep the windows closed and the AC on. Air conditioners don’t just cool the air, they contain filters that can help remove allergens.

Keep the indoor humidity in check: Dust mites aren’t seasonal, but they tend to thrive in humidity A dehumidifier may make it tougher for the mites to survive.

Why you should stop pre-rinsing your dishes today

Sustainability as a holiday tradition has taken its place alongside twinkling lights, celebrations with families and friends and presents under the tree. A 2021 Accenture survey found that steps toward sustainability – making homemade gifts, secondhand shopping and not using traditional wrapping paper – had emerged as serious holiday season trend in the U.S. In Canada, people are working to reduce food waste on food waste, seeking ways to use less energy at home, and looking for information about more sustainable shopping choices this holiday season.

It’s clear that many are looking to make less of an environmental impact with their holiday celebrations. If you are among them, one easy way to use less water is to stop pre-rinsing dishes before you load them into your dishwasher.

If you consider the number of dishes and utensils that go into an average-sized dishwasher load, those quick rinses can add up to serious water savings.

But habits can be hard to break, and a few questions might be running through the minds of habitual pre-rinsers right now, like…

Is my dish too dirty for the dishwasher?

Scrape the excess food off your dishes, ideally into a food waste disposer. A dish is rarely “too dirty” for a dishwasher. When dishwashers are tested under AHAM’s test procedure, testers apply a mixture of egg yolk, creamed corn, oatmeal, instant mashed potatoes, ground beef, coffee, raspberry preserves, peanut butter and tomato juice. That’s almost certainly a bigger mess than anything served at your holiday party. Trust that your dishwasher to do the job for which it was designed.

Doesn’t hand-washing save water?

In the vast majority of cases, no. Washing a full load of dishes in the sink can use 10 or more gallons of water, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. A kitchen faucet runs at a rate of about 2.2 gallons a minute. Compare that to newer ENERGY STAR dishwashers, which use a maximum of only 3.5 gallons of water per cycle. Even newer non-ENERGY STAR models max out at 5 gallons of water per cycle.

Should I still run my dishwasher if it isn’t full?

Yes. Some models include “half-rack” or “half-load” settings for smaller loads of dishes. The dishwasher will still save water, even if it isn’t full.

Do I have to hand-wash pots and pans?

No. Place them face down on the bottom rack, where they are close to the full force of the water. Just make sure they are not blocking the spray arms.

I have four dishes left over and my dishwasher is full. Should I try to cram them in?

Put them aside until your next load of dishes. Overloading your dishwasher can interfere with the cleaning cycle. Remember, any water you use by hand-washing dishes will be in addition to the water used during the dishwasher cycle. Save yourself the water and the work.

I heard you can cook in a dishwasher. Since I’m saving water, should I try that to save energy?

No. It’s unsafe and is a bad idea for a number of reasons. Save your holiday cooking for your range, oven and other cooking appliances.

Thanksgiving Laundry: How to Remove Wine and Gravy Stains from Cloth Napkins and Tablecloths

Are you hosting a  holiday feast this year? If you have cloth napkins and tablecloths, chances are you’ll bring them out to use when you’re hosting guests, and chances are, they will be quite dirty at the end of the meal!  Cloth napkins are often considered a more sustainable option than paper since they rarely have to be replaced, and creative folding can make for fun presentation. However, cloth napkins and tablecloths also require proper laundering to last.

Many cloth napkins are made of linen, which is a more delicate fabric. That’s going to call for using your clothes washer’s gentle cycle. Washing cloth napkins may also take a little more thought and planning. With the variety of foods served during a typical Thanksgiving dinner, a single napkin could contain several different types of stains that need to be addressed in different ways.

We asked the experts at the American Cleaning Institute for advice on attacking food stains on cloth napkins and tablecloths. In general, linen and cloth napkins should be washed in the gentle cycle, in cold or lukewarm water.

Here are some tips on how to launder your cloth napkins and tablecloths so they’re clean and ready for the next big feast:

Oil-based stains: Thanksgiving favorites like turkey, gravy, butter and salad dressing could fall into this category. Pretreat them with a prewash stain remover before washing.

Fruit-based stains: Move quickly to treat stains from treats like cranberry sauce, apple cider and pumpkin pie. Run it under cold water to remove anything excess and treat the stains promptly. Wash in lukewarm water.

Beverage stains: Drinks like wine, coffee, tea and soft drinks are a big part of the Thanksgiving feast, but also bring opportunities for splashes and spills. Soak or sponge the stain in cool water and pretreat with a liquid laundry detergent or prewash stain remover.

Food-coloring stains: Are you bringing out a colorful cake or dessert to put an exclamation point on your Thanksgiving feast? Sponge any stains left afterward promptly with cool water. If that doesn’t remove the satin, soak it in cool water for at least 30 minutes, then pretreat with detergent or a prewash stain remover.

Wax stains: Dinner by candlelight can also lead to wax on the tablecloth. Scrape the excess wax off with a dull knife. You’ll need your iron for the next step. Place the napkin or tablecloth on the ironing board with the stained section between paper towels. Press your warm iron to the paper towel, which will absorb the wax. Once the wax has been transferred, put the stain on a clean paper towel and sponge with a prewash stain remover. Let it dry before washing.

Laundering tips

A detergent that contains enzymes can be a big help when you’re trying to remove food stains, ACI says. According to ACI, an enzyme is a catalyst that can speed up biological processes, including the breaking down of protein, fat or starch stains. Pretreat the stains with a stain remover. Detergents with enzymes must be used at lower temperatures.

It can also be helpful to let cloth napkins and tablecloths air dry after washing, ACI says. This is because the heat from the dryer can set a stain and it can be difficult to see grease or oil stains when the fabric is wet. If you still see the stain, repeat the stain treatment and washing. Only store it once the stain is gone and it has fully dried.

Add an Air Cleaner to Your Back to School List This Year

Did you know the average person spends 90% of their time indoors? While that number may have been a little lower when summer vacation was in full swing, it’s time to head back to the classroom, and all those germs.

Your classroom necessities have probably changed a lot over the past several years as we’ve weathered the pandemic. As we approach a new school year that’s on track to be the most “normal” in several years, teachers and administrators alike are looking forward to a full slate of in-person classes, closer interactions with students and a return to extracurricular activities. Even with all these positive changes, air quality remains a top priority both at home and in the classroom. While pre-pandemic most people would cite air conditioning and heat as their must-haves for indoor comfort, air cleaners are now almost as ubiquitous.

Happy teacher helping her students in using computers on a class at elementary school. Focus is on happy girl.

Even though air cleaners rose to prominence during the pandemic, they’ve been around a lot longer, doing a lot more great things for the air we breathe indoors. They help filter allergens, which are found indoors at up to five times the level outdoors. The American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology recommend air cleaners to help alleviate symptoms of asthma, the leading cause of absenteeism for students. While air cleaners are not currently tested for an ability to remove bacteria, the EPA considers them an important part in reducing bacterial transmission.

This brings us to the big question: Do air cleaners remove COVID-19? Until recently, there was no universally-accepted way to measure an air cleaner’s virus removal rate. But now, with the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers’ (AHAM) latest standard, we can test the effectiveness of portable room air cleaners’ ability to remove microbiological pollutants including viruses, bacteria and mold. This standard was developed over a period of 18 months by a committee of public health professionals, academic researchers and leading appliance manufacturers.

This standard will soon be added to AHAM Verifide®’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR).  CADR currently measures how fast an air cleaner filters three commonly sized particulates: dust, pollen and smoke. These numbers are listed on the AHAM Verifide® seal, which can be found on the packaging of all AHAM Verifide® air cleaners. The higher the number on the label, the faster the air cleaner filters the air.

So when you’re looking for a new air cleaner for your classroom, make sure you’re looking for the AHAM Verifide® seal. Protect yourself and your students with clean indoor air.

Cleaning Your Appliances, Inside and Out

The benefits of keeping a clean home are well-documented, from reduced stress to fewer potentially illness-causing germs and even improved allergy symptoms.

Like a lot of household activities, cleaning saw its profile increased during the COVID-19 pandemic. A survey of consumers conducted by the American Cleaning Institute (ACI) in 2021 found that the use of cleaning products like disinfectant wipes and spray disinfectant increased. Ensuring health and safety became a driving force for increased cleaning, and 85% of those surveyed said they are likely to continue the cleaning practices and protocols they began during the pandemic.

Appliances, from dishwashers to clothes washers and dryers to vacuums, are firmly entrenched as valuable tools that make the cleaning process easier. But any cleaning routine should also involve cleaning your appliances, even those that do some of the cleaning for you. Cleaning your appliances can improve both their performance, appearance and energy efficiency. Finally, many appliances are considered “high-touch” surfaces. Think about how many times the handle on your refrigerator is touched every day. Each touch brings the potential to leave germs like viruses or bacteria, on the surface. These can be picked up by the next person who touches it.

Let’s take a look around the home and walk through some ways you can keep your appliances performing at and looking their best:

Refrigerator: Plan to clean your refrigerator when it isn’t as full, like just before you go grocery shopping, ACI recommends. Use warm, soapy water to wipe down the drawers (inside and out) and a multi-purpose spray to clean the walls, shelves and exterior. Twice a year, or following the recommendations in your refrigerator’s use-and-care manual, unplug the refrigerator and use a coil brush and vacuum to remove dust from the coils. Disinfect the refrigerator handle once a week, or more often if someone in the house is ill.

Oven and range: Cleaning your oven and range after every use will save you from a larger cleaning job later. Warm soap and water or white vinegar are generally safe choices for the range surface, though your manufacturer may recommend specific cleaning products. Don’t use cleaners with abrasive properties. Many ovens have self-cleaning features. Once the oven cools after the self-cleaning cycle, ashes and residue may be easily wiped away. ACI cautions against using oven cleaner on a self-cleaning or continuous cleaning oven, as the cleaner may damage the surface.

Dishwasher: Cleaning the dishwasher filter, which traps food debris rinsed away during wash cycles, is the most important aspect of keeping a dishwasher clean. Most filters are removable. For dishwasher exteriors, a soft cloth with diluted soap and water will usually do the trick. ACI recommends drying the finish with a separate towel afterward. Glass cleaner can be used to remove fingerprints from stainless steel.

Air conditioner: Dirt that is allowed to build up can affect the air conditioner’s performance. Use a plastic scrub brush to clean coils and vents periodically. Use the brush attachment on your vacuum to remove any leftover dirt. Also, be sure to wash or replace air filters in accordance with the air conditioner’s use-and-care manual.

Clothes washer: For a number of reasons, clothes washers can be fertile grounds for mold, mildew and odors. If your unit’s use-and-care manual does not offer specific instructions, run an empty hot water cycle containing one cup of chlorine bleach once a month to help prevent odor, mold and mildew.

Clothes dryer: According to the National Fire Protection Association, failure to clean a dryer is the leading cause of dryer-related fires. Clean the lint filter after every use, have the interior venting system cleaned once a year by a qualified service technician. Regularly clean any lint that builds up behind the dryer and any lint that is collected in and around the drum.

Portable appliance finishes: ACI recommends cleaning portable appliances with a nonabrasive, all-purpose cleaner and drying the surface afterward with a clean, soft cloth.

Vacuum: Check the brush roll periodically to make sure it isn’t blocked and nothing is wrapped around it. Change and clean the air filter, change bags and empty canisters as needed. Make sure the product is turned off and de-energized when cleaning.

Dorm Room Checklist: How to Buy an Air Cleaner for College Students

Millions of college students are headed back to campus and to smaller living quarters. Before the pandemic, any thought about the air in a dorm might have been limited to where to set the air conditioning or heat. As COVID-19 continues to affect our lives, students and their parents are looking ways to improve their dorm room’s indoor air quality. The right model of room air cleaner can help them get there.

While air cleaners are not tested for their ability to remove bacteria and viruses, the U.S. EPA has said that a room air cleaner can be part of the plan to reduce transmission. That’s especially important in college dorms, which had the reputation as fertile grounds for the spread of more run-of-the-mill illnesses like the common cold and flu long before COVID-19 came onto the scene.

Clean air is about a lot more than COVID. Allergy sufferers and those sensitive to air quality have long relied on air cleaners to remove triggers. According to the U.S. EPA, indoor air may carry two to five times the level of pollutants as outdoor air. Taking steps toward cleaner air is even more important in a small, shared space like a dorm.

If you are shopping for an air cleaner for a college dorm room or apartment, first understand that not every air cleaner is appropriate for every situation. Buy the wrong model and you might end up with an air cleaner that can’t handle the room size or is too loud for the space.  Fortunately, there is an easy way to compare models to find one that meets your needs.

Start by knowing the size of the room where the air cleaner will be used.  Once you know the size of the room in square feet (for example, a 10 ft. x 12 ft. room = 120 sq. ft.), search the AHAM Verifide® directory for models that have been independently tested for the reduction of airborne pollutants.  The AHAM Verifide® program uses a trusted test method called CADR or Clean Air Delivery Rate to measure the unit’s performance. More than 50 brands have undergone testing through AHAM Verifide®, so you are sure to find a product whose performance has been tested to AHAM’s standards.  So, call ahead to find out the size of your student’s dorm room, or bring a tape measure to move-in day to learn the square footage. That will help you narrow your choice. Compare air cleaner models here.

Aside from the CADR, consider the sound the air cleaner will make when it is in use. Noise can be an issue between roommates. Some air cleaner models will include a maximum noise level, indicating the number of decibels it puts out at its highest noise level.

CADR is evolving. In light of AHAM’s development of two new air cleaner standards, AC-4 (chemicals) and AC-5 (microbiologicals), consumers will eventually be able to use the m-CADR to compare AHAM-certified air cleaners’ ability to remove viruses, bacteria, mold, and the c-CADR to compare their ability to remove chemicals.

Tips to Keep the Clean Air Flowing

While space in a dorm room often comes at a premium, the air cleaner should be put closer to the center of the room rather than in a corner or against a wall. This will allow the air to flow more freely through the air cleaner.

Air cleaners don’t need much maintenance. Filters should be changed and cleaned according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Clean the outside of the air cleaner periodically to remove any accumulated dust and other pollutants.

The Evolution of Air Cleaners and CADR

For decades, allergy sufferers, pet owners and others have relied on room air cleaners for better indoor air quality and to help reduce symptoms. Air cleaners have a well-earned reputation as a must-have appliance for households that want to cut down on particulate pollutants like tobacco smoke, dust and pollen.

Over the past two years, however, the expectations for an air cleaner’s performance have grown. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, air cleaners have gained prominence as an important tool for reducing airborne viruses and bacteria. An AHAM survey of consumers in late 2020 found that 42% reported using their air cleaners more than they did prior to the pandemic, and almost half said they were taking steps to improve the air quality in their homes.

Even beyond the pandemic, awareness has grown about how certain chemicals affect indoor air. AHAM’s survey found that, in addition to viruses, smoke, dust and pollen, consumers were concerned about the effects of mold, chemicals and PM 2.5 (particulate matter). People who live in areas affected by wildfires also rely on air cleaners to mitigate the effects of smoke on indoor air quality.

The Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR—the rating given to air cleaners that have been tested under AHAM’s Air Cleaner test methods.   The AHAM Verifide® Program is the only program testing air cleaners in an independent laboratory, and providing confidence to consumers that an air cleaner meets performance claims. However, until now, consumers who were interested in using an air cleaner to address pollutants beyond smoke, dust and pollen did not have a consistent way to compare models. That is about to change.

It’s a new era for clean indoor air, and AHAM, industry experts and manufacturers are responding with new air cleaner test methods that will give consumers additional ways to compare performance for more clean air concerns, including an air cleaner’s ability to remove viruses, bacteria, mold and chemicals.

Microbiological pollutants

On the advice of indoor air experts and the recommendation of the U.S. EPA and the CDC, millions have enlisted air cleaners to help reduce the likelihood of COVID-19 transmission. While air cleaners don’t offer complete protection, the EPA did recommend them as part of a plan to protect against COVID-19. However, without a uniform industry standard for testing air cleaners’ ability to remove viruses, bacteria and mold, consumers had no objective way to determine which model would best serve their needs for removing microbiological pollutants.

In response to this new indoor air quality concern, a team of manufacturers, public health professionals and academic researchers, organized by AHAM, came together to develop AHAM AC-5-2022, the first air cleaner performance standard to measure removal of microbiological pollutants. Eventually, microbiological pollutants will be added to AHAM’s Air Cleaner Certification Program, and models tested under the standard will be assigned an m-CADR, which will inform consumers of that model’s capability to remove microbiological pollutants in a given room size.

Chemicals

Chemicals are present in every home. They’re often undetectable, but many can give off odors. Common sources include cooking, cleaning products, furniture, flooring and building materials. In addition, thousands of chemicals generated either indoors or outdoors can make their way into the home through the ventilation system or when people enter or exit. The vast majority are harmless, but some in high concentrations can cause health issues in people with sensitivities.

Air cleaners are made to remove many of these chemicals. But as with viruses, bacteria and mold, there was no uniform standard by which to test air cleaners’ removal of chemicals. Consumers who bought air cleaners to reduce chemical odors had to rely on manufacturers’ claims, and each manufacturer had different ways of testing. Consumers will soon have a way to easily compare models, as after three years of research and development, AHAM has published AHAM AC-4-2022, which will serve as an industry-wide standard to test air cleaners for chemical removal. Soon, air cleaners that complete chemical testing through AHAM’s Air Cleaner Certification Program will be assigned a numerical rating, c-CADR, for their ability to reduce chemicals in a given room size.

From pollutants you can see, like pollen and dust, to those invisible to the naked eye, air cleaners have evolved into the centerpiece appliance for anyone who wants cleaner indoor air where they live, work or learn.

Indoor Air Quality is an Essential Part of a Healthy Home

Pollen. Dust. Animal dander. Viruses and bacteria. The pollutants that affect indoor air quality are often too small to see, but the effects they can have on your health and wellness can quickly become too big to ignore. Spring and the pollen it brings is enough to make allergy sufferers think more about the air they’re breathing. But there are plenty of indoor air pollutants that should concern you even if you don’t have seasonal allergies. Those include wildfire smoke, PM 2.5 and microbiological pollutants like viruses, bacteria and mold.

Air cleaners have long been a trusted way for households to reduce pollutants like smoke, pollen and dust. Their potential role in filtering viruses from the air has been a hot topic of discussion since the COVID-19 pandemic began in 2020. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has said air cleaners could be part of a plan to reduce the risk of viral transmission indoors. And AHAM, after a year and a half of work by leading air cleaner manufacturers, public health professionals and academic researchers, has published the first official industry standard that allows manufacturers to test air cleaners’ ability to remove microbiological pollutants, including viruses, bacteria and mold.

Improving indoor air quality is part of keeping a healthier home environment. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency estimates indoor air may contain two to five times the amount of pollutants as outdoor air. No room air cleaner will remove all pollutants, but they can help you reduce indoor contaminants and allergens and make your home environment more comfortable in a time when many are placing new emphasis on staying healthy.

The right choice for cleaner indoor air

Many air cleaners can be purchased online. A little research in advance can help you learn what you need so you can avoid inconvenient online returns and unnecessary trips to the store. Take a measurement of the room where the air cleaner will primarily be used, and look for models rated for that room size. Enter the square footage into the AHAM Verifide® Air Cleaner Directory for a list of models appropriate for that room size. Each listing will also carry the manufacturer’s name, along with the air cleaner’s CADR – Clean Air Delivery Rate – showing its ability to filter tobacco smoke, dust and pollen.

Why you should trust CADR: Air cleaner models are assigned their CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate) based on the results of rigorous testing conducted by independent laboratories. During testing, the air cleaners are exposed to specific quantities of tobacco smoke, dust and pollen. After the air cleaner is run for a certain duration, the amount of each pollutant in the air is measured. The higher the CADR, the greater its ability to remove that specific pollutant.

Stay within models tested for the size of the room or rooms in which the air cleaner will be used. Choosing one rated for a larger room may use unnecessary energy and generate excess noise.

Staying healthy

In the midst of the coronavirus pandemic, many health-related conversations focus on avoiding the virus. It is important to understand that air cleaners are not tested in the AHAM program for the ability to filter and remove viruses. However, in regards to indoor air quality, approximately 20 percent of people suffer from allergy symptoms, and air cleaners can contribute to your overall health by helping you manage those symptoms.

Some allergists regularly recommend that their patients use air cleaners to reduce their allergy symptoms, based on their ability to remove common household pollutants like dust, smoke and pollen and outside pollution particles, known as PM 2.5. Dust, smoke, and pollen can trigger symptoms like cough, wheezing and asthma. PM 2.5 is a significant enough issue for those with breathing difficulties that it is tracked in air quality reports and monitored by the EPA. PM 2.5 is a serious concern in areas affected by wildfire smoke. People living in those areas often rely on air cleaners to mitigate the effects of smoke on indoor air during wildfire season.

Other tips for healthy indoor air

Once you have an air cleaner, run it continuously to maximize its effectiveness. If it is in the bedroom, place it at the height of the bed. Position the air cleaner near the center of the room so air circulation isn’t blocked by a wall.

Other appliances can also help improve indoor air quality. Vacuum carpets and rugs regularly to remove pollutants that may have settled there. Keep your windows closed, wash your hands and turn your ventilation hood on when you cook.