When Shopping for Air Cleaners, Understand These Labels

Posted On: October 10, 2013

Looking to breathe a little more easily? Air quality can make a big difference in the health and comfort of everyone in the house. Air cleaners advertise a host of often confusing options and ratings. Understanding these labels is the key to buying a system that fits your needs without paying for features you may want to avoid.

CADR, or “Clean Air Delivery Rate,” is one factor to look at when considering an air cleaner. It rates the maximum square footage in which an air cleaner is effective against dust, pollen and tobacco smoke. While it isn’t the only significant rating to keep in mind when comparing air cleaners it’s one important piece of the whole picture. Higher numbers mean faster filtration, but not necessarily more thorough cleaning.

You might see the term “HEPA filter” on vacuum cleaners, but many air cleaners use the same technology. It stands for “High Efficiency Particulate Air” filter. Like most filters, these require periodic changes to keep clean air flowing, and they often cost more than air cleaners labeled “HEPA-type.” However, HEPA filters must meet certain standards to earn the label, which can mean a greater reliability. If you want to know your air cleaner is removing the great majority of airborne particulates, a HEPA filter’s the right choice to make.

The “Asthma and Allergy Friendly” certification has come into use recently. This series of standards was developed by an independent review panel, and adopted by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation (AAFA). Products with this certification reduce, and not just redistribute, allergens.

Some air cleaners advertise ozone (or electrostatic) generation to remove the sources of odors. When selecting a unit, you may wish to consider the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s information on ozone generators. Ozone can irritate lungs, and may cause unpleasant respiratory symptoms.

Ernst Heating & Cooling is committed to helping educate homeowners in Hamel, Alton, Edwardsville and other southwest Illinois communities about air quality and other home comfort matters. If you still have questions, or would like more information about HVAC options for your home, please contact us.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Hamel, Alton, Glen Carbon, Highland, Greenville, and Troy, Illinois and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about air cleaner shopping and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide. 

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