Air Cleaner Labeling: Look for This Information When You Shop
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Air Cleaner Labeling: Look for This Information When You Shop


Need to purchase a new air cleaner for your Portland area household? Selecting the right air cleaner can significantly improve your indoor air quality by reducing the dust, allergy and asthma triggers that build up throughout the seasons.

Not every air cleaner is the same, however. Many products redistribute allergens instead of reducing them, while others can actually make your symptoms worse. Often marketed as air fresheners, these “cleaners” generate ozone while in use. Ozone is a known lung irritant and can trigger and exacerbate respiratory problems.

For an air cleaner that actually improves your indoor air quality, look out for these three ratings or factors while shopping around:

Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

CADR describes the percentage of particles removed from a given space as measured by the cubic feet per minute (CFM) of air flow through an air cleaner’s filter. In other words, CADR illustrates how quickly an air filter can remove contaminants. It rates the following three contaminants: smoke (10 to 450), dust (10 to 400) and pollen (25 to 450). The higher a CADR value, the faster the air cleaner can filter the given contaminant.

High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA)

You might recognize the name HEPA from the type of filter used in vacuum cleaners to trap dust. Today, HEPA filters can also be found in stand-alone air cleaners and installed inside central heating and cooling systems (although they usually necessitate substantial system modifications to ensure smooth airflow). Air cleaners with HEPA filters are highly effective at trapping pollen, dust, dander and other trigger contaminants, though mid-range household air filters (MERV 8-12) also do a good job, without impeding airflow.

“Asthma and Allergy Friendly”

Put forth by the Asthma and Allergy Foundation, this new certification label was designed to highlight products that significantly reduce known allergens. To receive this certification, a product must undergo a strict evaluation of its air filter’s capacity per defined space, the fiber’s shedding potential, and the effectiveness of its seals.

For more information on choosing the best air cleaners for your household, or to learn about other ways of improving indoor air quality, please our HVAC experts at (503) 266-1249.

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