Clean up the house using an air purifier; to improve the quality of indoor air

We spend 70% of our time in confined spaces. To improve the quality of indoor air, air purifiers capture airborne pollutants and filter or destroy them.

Hard to imagine that the air we breathe is more polluted inside the house and outside, even in the city! Yet it’s true. Furniture, paint, flooring, appliances, or cleaning products emit many chemical molecules in the air.

The pets, dust mites and molds produce allergens, not to mention bacteria and viruses that spread infections.

In total, our interior contains hundreds of pollutants. According to the Observatory of the quality of indoor air (OQAI), all tested units are contaminated with formaldehyde, a carcinogen classified molecule, and some at higher doses the threshold value set by the World Health Organization (0.12 mg / m3).

Chemical particles, allergens, mold, as well as moisture or dryness of the air can promote or aggravate respiratory problems.

To address these concerns, appliance stores offer air purifiers intended to purify or clean the air in our homes. What are they worth?

AIR PURIFIERS WITH FILTERS

These devices operate with a mesh filter foam, carbon or fiberglass to hold the pollution. The presence of a HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filter is a quality index. It refers to filters able to retain very small particles such as mold spores, viruses and bacteria.

HEPA filters are classified according to their efficiency H10 to H14. The most effective units are also equipped with a charcoal filter to capture volatile organic compounds (VOCs), chemical pollutants from cigarette smoke, household products, the exhaust gas or the construction materials.

The purifiers’ filters can cover an area of ​​5-150 m2: 50 m2 for Viktor purifier 1 259 €, airnaturel.com; 60 m2 for the Z9122, Electrolux 2 199 €, boulanger.fr. The most sophisticated models combine several filtering systems and sensors that detect pollution levels and adjust the speed of filtration: PU2120F0, Rowenta 3 349 €, Darty.com.

The advantages are found in all price ranges, from 15 € to 700 €, and for all uses.

The cons: there may be significant differences in efficacy between the models, but also between manufacturers’ claims and reality. In addition, pollutants accumulated in the device can be released when a filter is disassembled for cleaning.Finally, some devices emit a buzzing sound a bit noisy (50 dB).

AIR PURIFIERS IONIZATION

These purifiers send ions that stick to the particles suspended in the air and amalgamate. These are then set on the floor or furniture.

These devices are often equipped with one or more additional filters: Air Purifier Natural Buldair 4, € 59.90, darty.com.For some, negative ions are used to increase the adhesion of the particles to the filters: Purifier Blueair 450 E with filters SmokeStop 5 638 €, blueairfrance.fr.

Advantages: ions improve the efficiency of the filters in the unit. The Blueair brand, which has patented a system coupling the ionization HEPA or activated carbon filters, saw its certified by the American Association of manufacturers of household appliances devices. This label is a guarantee of quality.

The drawbacks: it is difficult to know how many ions actually come into contact with particles suspended in the air. In addition, this type of purifier does not remove pollutants. We must pick up with a vacuum cleaner with a HEPA filter.

THE PHOTOCATALYTIC AIR PURIFIERS

The air is sucked in, pushed through nanotubes of titanium dioxide. Under the effect of ultraviolet rays, they destroy pollutants and transformed into water vapor and carbon dioxide.

Advantages: the process has been developed by a team from CNRS in Strasbourg. It destroys bacteria, viruses and chemical particles, 80% to 90% of tougher as carbon monoxide or acetone.

Cons: Always observe the instructions otherwise the photocatalytic reaction can emit chemical compounds including formaldehyde. The manual is complex: some filters should be changed every 15 days, others washed every month or replaced once a year … It seems difficult to follow these instructions to the letter.

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