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The Air You Breathe Is The Health You Keep

A buyer’s guide for air purifiers

Very often we fail to realize that the thing we are most in contact with is the air we breathe. It is true we don’t have control over the air we breathe outdoors, but it is equally true that we can breathe better air indoors, where we spend most of our time. In fact the average American spends about 90% of their day indoors – for us in the UAE, this figure is definitely going to be much higher! This air, present indoors can be cleansed and made fit to breathe with the aid of a good air purifier.

Indoor air treatment is vital for healthy living, particularly for children, babies and pregnant women. Most coughs, colds, sneezing, watery eyes and nasal congestion are commonly caused by airborne allergens such as mold & fungal spores, pollen, dust mite allergens, etc. – but sufferers are usually entirely unaware that these are allergies. Buying an air purifier is now a household essential for anyone with children, where someone in the family suffers from Asthma or breathing-related allergies, or for the health conscious. Whilst a good air purifier isn’t cheap, it’s certainly more cost effective, less hassle and less worrying than the medical treatment associated with Asthma and allergies.

So, of the many air purifiers on the market today, how do you know which one is best for you?

20 questions to ask yourself when buying an air purifier:

1. What’s your reason to invest in an air purifier?
Do you have any children, infants or expectant mothers in the household?
Do you or your family suffer from Asthma or breathing allergies?
Do you have any immune compromised patients in your family?
Are you concerned about your family’s health?
Does living in an air conditioned environment worry you?

2. Do you have mold issues?
Mold is very common in UAE homes due to our climate and is definitely a health hazard as well as being unsightly. Mold infestation is particularly noticeable during the summer months when the heat and humidity peaks. Apartment buildings are more vulnerable to mold issues and the likelihood of having mold increases with the age of the building and the longer you have stayed there.

3. Where do you want to put your air purifier?
Whichever air purifier you decide to buy, you will need one unit per room – central solutions are very expensive; can be ineffective due to duct contamination and simply not possible if you live in rented accommodation. So ask yourself where do you and your family spend most of your time at home? The best place to put your air purifier is in your bedroom because this is where you sleep and during those sleeping hours, your body is recovering from the day’s ravages and repairing itself.

4. What’s your room size?
Don’t forget to measure the volume of your room – Height x Width x Length = Volume. Most air purifier manufacturers will state coverage area in terms of floor space – square meters or feet, but remember that standard GCC ceiling height is 3.07M whereas in Japan it is closer to 2.3M and in Europe it is 2.5M, so your air purifier’s capacity may be overstated.

5. What is the maintenance requirement?
We live busy lives and time is always at a premium, so the last thing you want to do is have to clean one of up to 10 filters and other parts every month by washing, vacuuming and then air drying. Some even require you to add water every few hours. Remember to check the cleaning routine in terms of hours of usage – if you are using your air purifier 24 hours a day, you’ll need to clean it 4 times more often than if you were using it for just 6 hours a day. Don’t forget that if you don’t follow the suggested cleaning routine, your air purifier could actually be worse for you than if you didn’t have one! Lastly, read the fine print – some air purifiers will soil adjacent walls or objects with fine black soot that you’ll have to regularly clean too.

6. What parts need to be changed, how often, and how much do they cost?
Air purifiers using filters, catalysts, chemicals and/or UV bulbs require changing regularly, and again, the interval for replacing them depends on your usage. Are they readily available and in stock? Can you buy all of them easily from where you bought your air purifier, or do you have to find the distributor and order them specially? Will the distributor still stock the parts in a year or two? Can you pay for them with a credit card or does the distributor only take cash?

7. What is the electricity consumption for 24/7 usage?
If you are buying an air purifier, surely you want to use it 24 hours a day to ensure maximum efficacy, but is your air purifier designed for 24/7 usage and what’s the cost of the power consumption? Check the differing power consumptions for differing ‘speed’ settings – why do you need different settings for constant use?

8. What’s the total 5 year cost for your air purifier?
This is a key question – what may seem like an expensive unit in the shop, may turn out to be the most cost effective over 5 years when you consider consumables, replacement parts and power consumption over 5 years. You should expect your air purifier to last at least 5 years, or else factor that into your cost.

9. How much noise does the unit make?
The best place to use an air purifier is in your bedroom, so is it silent? Or else it will disturb your sleep, especially models with multiple ‘speed’ settings. Try the model at maximum speed and then decide if the noise will disturb you.

10. Is it tested by accredited independent labs in real life conditions?
Check the manufacturer’s tests for their unit, especially the fine print. It’s great to get “99.9 percent” removal rate but that’s not very convincing when the test was done in a laboratory in a 1M3 box! Has the unit been tested in real life circumstances such as a home, hospital, office or hotel? Are there any such tests for the UAE? After all, living in the Swiss mountains is very different to downtown Dubai.

11. Are there any customer testimonials?
Does the Manufacturer provide details of satisfied customers and are they real people? Numbers of units sold doesn’t necessarily mean customers are happy and satisfied, indeed, air purifiers rank as one of the highest in terms of customer dissatisfaction for consumer appliances. Are there any customer testimonials for the UAE?

12. What safety standards does the unit have?
Is the unit compliant to stringent European and US standards for electrical safety, fire risk, chemical composition, etc. or does the manufacturer just rely on dubious marketing marks?

13. Where is it made?
Just like your fridge, washing machine or TV, there’s a big difference in quality depending on where the model is made – Europe, US, or China?

14. What is the guarantee period?
Given that you should expect your air purifier to last at least 5 years, what’s the guarantee period and is it honored internationally or just in the UAE?

15. What’s the anticipated life of the unit?
As with any other home appliance, your unit should last at least 5 years, especially as you are less likely to change your air purifier as frequently as your TV. Does the model look like it could last 5 years or more?

16. What’s the size of your air purifier?
Less is more, especially as room sizes in new homes are shrinking. Is it readily portable or is it too heavy to move easily? What if you move or leave the country – can you take it with you?

17. Is it safe for children?
Remember those European and US safety standards. Does it produce any ozone, ions or chemicals that would be harmful to children? Does it produce something that is many hundreds of times more than naturally occurring? What about lead and other poisonous chemicals used in plastic or paint finishes that led to the recall of so many Chinese-made toys – your unit should be EU RoHS compliant.

18. Has it been tested on animals?
We’re against animal testing, and if the technology of your air purifier has required animal testing then there’s something very dubious about it!

19. Aesthetics?
Does the model go with your decor? How does it look? Is it bulky and boxy?

20. Customer friendly?
Lastly, you might want to consider availability – Where can you buy it? Is it readily available? What kind of outlets sell the brand you are considering – hospitals, clinics, pharmacies, electronics shops or supermarkets? And what’s the customer service and after sales service commitment?

Article courtesy of Mother, Baby & Child Magazine



2 Responses to “The Air You Breathe Is The Health You Keep”

  1. Jacqui says:

    What a great article. What’s missing is an evaluation of air purifiers on the market in the UAE according to your criteria. Have you done the evaluation? Could you share the results?

  2. Sunil says:

    I have checked many air purifier brand in UAE and seems all are same. Only price varies, some say that it has hepa and some says nano technology etc.. I feel that the suction power is very important in air purifier and if there is a humidifier then it’s a good deal as per the climate of UAE.

    I strongly advise to check the functions and technology used in it and also the filter cost and how long they will work for. Ask them to remove the filter and show you how much strong they are.


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