Stay-at-home orders as a result of COVID-19 have many across North America looking for ways they can improve their comfort. More people are baking at home, and sales of bread makers, pasta makers and electric rotisseries have surged as Americans cook at home and de-stress with comfort food. And with so many people spending so much of their time inside, indoor air quality has also taken on increased importance.
This time of COVID-19 stay-at-home and lockdown orders has been stressful for many of us, meaning we have extra reasons to steer clear of the discomfort and potential health issues that can arise from poor indoor air quality. It’s also spring, when many would normally head indoors to seek relief from their seasonal allergy symptoms. As allergy sufferers know, however, those pollutants can often find their way indoors.
A room air cleaner can help you reduce 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 inconvenience 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.
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.
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.