The impact of Australia’s ongoing bushfire crisis on air quality not just in regional areas but also in Australia’s capital cities, Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, and even our nation’s capital, Canberra, which have all experienced the worst air quality in the world this bushfire season, has brought to light a number of really important things about air purifiers.
We have been faced with unprecedented demand for our air purifiers systems, selling out for the first time in our 17-year history. As we do everything we can to keep up with this demand, we have been saddened to hear story after story that highlights the lack of awareness about air purifiers and air quality.
Here are three things we’ve observed based on experiences and questions from our customers, that we hope will help you avoid making the same mistakes and understand the value of your air purifier well after bushfire season is over.
1. The air purifiers you buy in most stores are not effective at filtering bushfire smoke out of the air.
This is because air purifiers are only as good as the filters. In desperation, we’ve heard many stories of people going to stores to buy whatever they had left in stock and then called us in frustration when they realise they are ineffective for smoke.
A Google search on air purifiers can be anything but helpful with so many models all looking much the same; a rectangular plastic box with a couple of vertical panel filters, some lights on the front and a particle sensor which promises to adjust the speed of the air purifier based on air quality in the room.
The reality is the majority of air purifiers are designed for dust and allergen removal, not smoke. They may reduce the particle concentrations but they do not have high capacity activated carbon filters with only grams instead of kilograms. With the carbon filter being the primary filter required for smoke adsorption and filtration. Without this type of filter, you are still left with gases (carbon dioxide, nitrogen dioxide and volatile organic compounds) from the smoke vapour in your home.
It’s also important to know the air quality sensors incorporated in many air purifiers are generally inaccurate, providing "good" readings when there are still relatively high levels of PM or VOC's. The sensors are very low cost and have a short operation life so you end up with a system giving you readings you can ignore. In addition to this air quality sensors should not be incorporated into air purifiers as the air near an air purifier should be better than anywhere else in the room. A better option is to use a freestanding air quality monitor.
2. Air purifiers that are made from materials like plastic off-gas chemicals and contribute to poor air quality in your home
This can be a serious issue for people who are particularly chemically sensitive and it's unfortunate we hear stories of people suffering as a result of the air purifier they have purchased. Our air purifiers are made from safe materials (steel and aluminium) that won’t off-gas in your home.
3. There is a much bigger, ongoing problem with air quality that many people don’t understand
Unfortunately, even when bushfire season is over, air quality in our cities is a growing problem due to population growth – this is because PM2.5 particulate matter from bushfire smoke is also emitted by motor vehicles and makes its way into our homes. Coal-fired power stations are another contributor to poor air quality.
If you are wondering about whether you will still get used and value out of your air purifier once summer is over, the answer is absolutely yes – particularly if you live in a large city or near main road or motorway.
To learn more about the effects of motor vehicle pollution, click here:
For more on the effects of particulate matter, click here:
Our air purifiers also filter out VOCs (from paints, building materials, furnishings, etc.) and mould volatile compounds, both are a common problem in homes.
We hope this information helps you make the best decision for your household on the best air purifier system for you.