Measuring Area Coverage For An Air Purifier

measuring-a-roomResearching air purifiers can lead to a lot of confusion about what you actually need… In this article, I will explain the main things you will need to consider in measuring your area coverage.

The first thing to take into account is how large the area is that you need to decontaminate. Everything else you need to consider is second to this factor… If you do not get this right, it can lead to bad experiences with functionality, noise and energy costs.

Click on the chart below to skip ahead to read an individual question, or continue on to read the whole review.

How Do I Figure Out The Area I Need To Decontaminate?

bedroomAn air purifier measures the amount of space it can cover in square feet. This is, of course, an approximate figure. There are many different factors that need to be taken into account when sizing your area. But for now, let’s focus on just the amount of space that needs to be decontaminated.

I am assuming for the sake of this article, that you will be placing the air purifier in the bedroom.

As we know, the bedroom is where the most contaminants are foundand where we spend the most time. So it makes sense to have this space as our ground zero…

You can use a number of methods to measure the area of your bedroom. But for the sake of saving time, I will give you the average figures in square feet. A small single bedroom will be around 150-200 sq-ft, a medium sized bedroom will be 250-350 sq-ft, and a large bedroom will be 350-450 sq-ft. These are of course averages so the sizes may vary depending on the design of your home. In my opinion, Austin Air Purifiers are the best value for money for area coverage. 

What Difference Does Clutter Make?

clutterYou may not know that the objects in the room will affect the efficiency of your air purifier. The basic rule is, the more objects there are, the less effective the air purifier will be. This goes for both humans and furniture.

When an area is stated for an air purifier, this assumes that the room will have zero people and furniture… misleading I know!

Humans, pets, and building materials can be a big source of contaminants for the home to name a few… Just being in the room can cause problems for allergies or asthma. Dust mites feed on our dead skin cells. So the more people in the room, the more food for them! As well as this, smoking in the home can be a problem. So you have to factor in how many people are regularly in the room. A single room will have much less contaminants than a 14 bed dorm…

The more furniture you have in the room, the less effective the air flow will be. Therefore you need to factor this into your sizing also. The aim should be to place your air purifier in a space that is not blocked by furniture.

No one will be able to give you an exact figure on how much the furniture or people in the room will affect the air purifier. You just have to use your own personal judgement…

How Will Noise Pollution Be Affected?noise

All air purifiers will make some noise. This is the reality of the way they are designed. The best air purifiers will use a HEPA filter which will affect the ambiance of the room. Some will make more than others, and some are designed specifically to function quietly. How large a factor this is, depends on how sensitive you are to noise.

The noise is usually the first thing people mention when they complain about an air purifier. Some are noisier than others. However, one thing is the same amongst all air purifiers… the lower the setting, the less noise it will make.

You can simply leave an air purifier on a lower setting if it can cover a larger area than you need to decontaminate. For example, if I have an air purifier that covers 500 sq-ft and I have a 200 sq-ft room. In this case, I can leave it on a medium or low setting which will make much less noise.

You will need to have an air purifier that covers a larger area if you want to have a quiet environment. Simple as that. There are other benefits of a larger area coverage that will be discussed later. If you are particularly sensitive to noise, the Blueair Air Purifier range is designed specifically for low noise levels.

What Are The Energy Costs?

electricityThe next thing to take into account is the energy costs involved. Again some air purifier brands are better than other with energy consumption. But they all WILL consume energy! And like with the noise, the lower the setting, the less energy your air purifier will use

So this is another reason to look at an air purifier that covers a larger area than you need. The higher settings will eat up the electricity and you will pay for this later on. There are effective air purifiers that use the same amount of energy as a light bulb. But there are also others that will use a lot more! So take this into consideration.

What Is CADR?

A confusing term that you will see in most products is the CADR. This stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate. It is a measure of how effectively the air purifier can recycle the air. You will read it as a figure anywhere from 80 to around 400.

CADR is tested by AHAM (Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers).smoke

This figure indicates how many cubic feet per minute the machine can decontaminate. Say a machine is rated at 300 for smoke. This figure means that it can decontaminate the area by adding 300 cubic feet of clean air per minute. You get the idea…

Air purifiers are given 3 separate CADR ratings. One for smoke, one for dust, and one for pollen. They are usually very similar. For example, 250 for smoke, 250 for pollen and 260 for dust. If you are targeting only one of these, it is important to check this rating!

You should note that these figures are not completely accurate! It again depends on what is in the space you are trying to clean. But it is generally used as a way to compare air purifier efficiency.

There are some companies such as Austin Air Purifiers that do not participate in CADR testing. That does not necessarily mean that they are a bad product. They feel that the CADR testing is not an accurate measurement of performance.  

Final Thoughts?

If you get nothing else out of this article, understand that you need to cover more area than is required! As you have read, clutter and people can affect the area coverage. The machine will inevitably make more noise if you have the machine on a higher setting. The same goes for increased energy. So my advice is simple. Measure your area effectively, then look at air purifiers that will cover a larger space. You will save on electricity, noise and durability!