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During the cold season, the quality of air in Bangkok ranks among the most polluted in the world. Given the quality of air purifiers have become an indispensable device to Bangkok residents to protect themselves from the harmful particles in the air.
But purchasing one can be confusing and many people end up using air purifiers incorrectly.
Read this article to learn what factors you need to consider when buying air purifiers and how to use them properly.
- What to Remember When Buying and Using air purifiers
- What You Need to Breathe Clean Air
- Breathe Safe with WE DO AIR
For years, air purifier companies have been manufacturing air purifiers that are needlessly complicated and overpriced. The truth is that air purifiers are simple machines: they basically consist of a fan and a filter. And that’s all we need to reduce or eliminate dangerous particles in the air.
As big air purifier companies usually don’t make huge profits from making simple filters with simple technologies, they use clever marketing gimmicks to trick you into buying fancy-looking machines with pointless add-ons like ionizers which, according to scientific findings, have little-to-no effect.
Unfortunately, most people don’t know the science behind purifiers, hence, they easily overspend on something that doesn’t deserve a high price tag. When buying an air purifier, don’t forget one crucial thing: marketing gimmicks will trick you into spending more without giving you what you need in the first place: clean air.
The bottom line is that you only need the fan and the filter.
What to Remember When Buying and Using air purifiers
Air Purifiers are supposed to do one job: remove air contaminants and improve air quality.
Whether an air purifier is beautiful or ugly, modern or old-fashioned, neither its design nor brand are good indicators of its performance and reliability.
If you are thinking about buying an air purifier, we recommend paying the greatest attention to the following indicators.
Focus on CADR, Not Square Meter Recommendation
One of the first considerations when buying an air purifier is whether it’s sufficient for the size of the room where it will be installed.
Normally, manufacturers help by providing an official square meter recommendation. Although useful in some cases, note that there is no standard for this metric and each manufacturer may provide different information.
And since square meter recommendations can differ, we recommend to focus on the Clean Air Delivery Rate per hour (CADR m3/hr) instead. This information reveals how many cubic meters of air will be cleaned within 60 minutes.
The higher the CADR rate, the better the performance of the air purifier. If the CADR is not clearly displayed in the shop or on the product description, ask the seller.
Knowing the CADR lets you easily determine the air purifier that’s best for you.
Here’s an example: If a room’s size is 40 sqm and has three-meter high walls, you can calculate that the cubic meters to be about 120 . Therefore, an air purifier with a CADR of 315 ㎥/hr can provide 2.63 air changes in 60 minutes.
This is usually enough to get rid of all dangerous pollutants within a short time, but because different people have different demands, some might ask for five air changes per hour.
Hence, they need an air purifier with twice the performance — they need a machine with a CADR of 600 ㎥/hr.
Know the Manufacturers’ Tricks
Keep in mind that all official square meter recommendations and CADR values always refer to the maximum performance of the air purifier.
If you switch your device to lower modes, the CADR decreases as well and the cleaning process takes longer.
Xiaomi, for example, advertises their 2s model as having a CADR of 310 ㎥/hr. This cleaning rate, however, cannot be enabled on the device itself, but only via the app.
Questionable Noise Levels
Some manufacturers emphasize their air purifiers’ reduced noise levels in advertisements. Although reduced noise levels are a good feature, note that in most cases, these apply only to the volume at the lowest level.
So if you see a purifier that has a “whisper quiet” feature, rest assured that it’s only partially true. On their highest mode, some air purifiers can be extremely loud.
With that in mind, on very polluted days, you are most likely to turn up your air purifier to its maximum performance. To avoid surprises, ask the store staff to “soundcheck” the device before you purchase it.
Nothing is more annoying than a noisy purifier that keeps you awake at night.
While you sleep, you depend on good air quality; otherwise, you inhale harmful particles for 6–9 hours at a time. An air purifier on a low and quiet mode might be pleasant but perhaps not sufficient for an adequate air filtration.
Depending on your room size and the degree of indoor pollution, you might need a stronger-performance air purifier.
Many manufacturers have reacted to this problem by developing air purifiers with a so-called auto mode that corresponds to an integrated air sensor.
Yes, this feature sounds great, but it may eventually make things even worse.
Beware of Air Purifiers with an Auto Mode
We don’t see what we breathe, hence, integrated air quality sensors in air purifiers that display the current level of pollution greatly help, right? No, they do not. They are actually quite harmful due to the following reasons.
Inaccurate Air Indicator
Accurate and precise air readers definitely exist but we’re talking about a complex technology that works with laser-based light scattering to individually count particles. These devices cost between THB 4,900 and 9,000.
You can be certain that an air purifier costing just THB 4,000 doesn’t use high quality technology to measure the air quality.
Why Integrated Sensors Give You the Wrong Information
Inferior monitors inside an air purifier are only one part of the problem. The position of integrated sensors is the more critical issue. The sensor is located in the air purifier itself and the air, for sure, is always clean there.
Regardless of whether the air purifier is running at the lowest or highest level, the air quality right at the air purifier itself is always cleaner than air at the other end of the room. So, if you set your air purifier on auto-mode, the machine will always follow the sensor’s incorrect information and automatically set itself on low-performance mode or it may even deactivate itself once it detects the air to be good.
Insufficient filtering due to an incorrect mode may eventually result in serious health consequences, especially on very polluted days.
Simply put, although your air purifier is switched on, it won’t function properly and the quality of the air you breathe will be inconsistent. This is why we never recommend using the auto mode and trusting integrated sensors.
What You Need to Breathe Clean Air
There are numerous air purifiers out there and due to an information and marketing overload it can be hard to decide which one to buy.
That said, the process behind air purifiers is really quite simple. As mentioned earlier, all that an air purifier needs to function properly are a fan and a filter. Knowing that key detail might make it easier for you to make a decision.
Pay Attention to CADR
What’s important is that you pay attention to the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR). This metric can be trusted as it’s tested and certified by the necessary independent authorities. But don’t forget that the advertised CADRs only apply to the highest modes.
Check Noise Levels
You also need to make sure that you can tolerate your chosen air purifier’s noise levels, especially when it is set on high. On highly polluted days, you will need a strong-performing air purifier to clean the air in your premises.
We recommend setting the air purifier on high one or two hours before you go to bed. And shortly before going under the blanket, select a lower and quieter level.
If you follow these settings, chances are that the air will remain healthy overnight, while your sleep won’t get disturbed by a loudly rotating fan.
Don’t Trust Auto Modes but Get an External Air Quality Monitor
Last but not least, never trust auto modes and integrated monitors. These functions may work reliably in machines that will be developed in the future, but the ones that have been manufactured recently aren’t completely reliable. These types of machines will only lead you to falsely assume that the air purifier is working optimally and is effectively cleaning the air in your premises when in fact it isn’t.
If you want to make sure that you are getting rid of all indoor pollutants, then you definitely need an external air quality monitor.
We recommend to place it a few meters away from your air purifier to ensure that the room is being properly cleaned.
You can adjust the speed level of your air purifier as necessary and see how it affects the air quality.
Breathe Safe with WE DO AIR
If you seek reliable control over your air quality, you need a powerful air purifier and a precise monitor as well.
WE DO AIR is the official partner of Smart Air and Kaiterra in Thailand. While Smart Air (a social enterprise based in Beijing) produces highly effective, low-cost, and no-nonsense air purifiers without a high price tag, Kaiterra is one of the leading manufacturers of high-class air quality monitors.
Smart Air’s latest release, The Sqair, is the most cost-effective air purifier in the world. With a CADR of 315 ㎥/hr on high, it cleans a 40-sqm room in just 25 minutes. In addition, it is cheaper and quieter than the competition. See the graphic below.
The Sqair comes with a HEPA filter that needs to be replaced around every six months. It costs 590 THB. The Sqair can also be equipped with an additional carbon filter for 490 THB, which will last for three months.
As only people with a high concentration of volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in their rooms (chemicals like formaldehyde, paints, smoke) need carbon filters, we let air breathers choose whether they want to get a carbon filter. In most homes, VOCs are very low, that’s why a HEPA is usually sufficient.
A recommended addition to the Sqair is the Kaiterra LaserEgg, which displays the air quality at all times. It is small and handy and can be taken anywhere. The battery lasts up to eight hours.
With the Kaiterra app, you can check the air quality at home even you’re out. Apple users can even connect the LaserEgg to their Home Kit.
You can get all of them from Lazada.