Choosing the Right In-Room Air Cleaner: Essential Tips for Healthier Indoor Air


Indoor air quality significantly impacts our health, particularly in light of airborne diseases like COVID-19 and measles. The right in-room air cleaner can be a game-changer in such scenarios, purifying the air and reducing the risk of disease transmission.

This guide aims to walk you through the process of selecting the most suitable air cleaner for your space to improve indoor air quality, ensuring a healthier indoor environment for homes, offices, and other indoor settings.

Watch the following video to learn all about In-Room Air Cleaners: Why they work, and what to keep in mind:

Video training: In-Room Air Cleaners: Why they work, and what to keep in mind. from IBEC on Vimeo.

Understanding the Threat of Airborne Diseases

Airborne diseases pose a significant challenge due to their ability to linger and travel through the air. Microscopic viruses responsible for these diseases can remain active in the air for an extended period of time, sometimes hours, without the aid of sunlight to deactivate them or wind to dilute their concentration. This prolonged activity makes indoor spaces especially vulnerable to the transmission of airborne illnesses.

By understanding how airborne diseases behave, we can better prepare our defenses, with in-room air cleaners playing a crucial role in this battle.

The Importance of In-Room Air Cleaners

In-room air cleaners serve as a critical line of defense in purifying indoor air. They operate by filtering out harmful airborne particles, such as dust, pollen, smoke, and even viruses..

The benefits of using these devices are manifold – from reducing the concentration of airborne viral particles to improving overall respiratory health and alleviating symptoms of allergies and asthma. They are an essential tool, especially in spaces where people spend extended periods of time.

Step-by-Step Guide to Selecting an Air Cleaner

  • Assess Your Needs: Consider the size of the room where the air cleaner will be used. Measure the length, width, and height to determine the total cubic feet.
  • Understand CADR Ratings: The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) is a key factor in choosing an in-room air cleaner. It indicates the volume of filtered air an air cleaner delivers, with higher ratings suggesting more effective cleaning. CADR ratings are determined using the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) test procedures.
  • Selecting the Right Size and Filter Type:
    • Choose According to Room Size: Ensure the air cleaner’s CADR rating matches your room size. The suggested room size typically assumes a ceiling height of up to 8 feet.
    • Filter Considerations: Opt for an air cleaner with filters capable of removing small particles, such as smoke, as these are similar in size to many virus particles.
  • Estimating CADR for Smoke: If a specific CADR rating for smoke is not listed, you can estimate it by multiplying the general CADR rating by ⅔. This estimation helps understand the unit’s effectiveness against smoke-sized particles comparable to many airborne viruses.
  • Calculating Air Changes Per Hour (ACH):
    • For non-medical use, aim for approximately 5 air changes per hour.
    • If the air cleaner lacks a CADR rating, calculate the airflow rate needed:
      • Determine the room size where you plan to use the unit by multiplying the room’s length, width, and height.
      • Multiply by how many times per hour you want to clean the air in the room. Remember, 5 air changes per hour is a good baseline. 
      • Divide this amount by 60 minutes. This will be the target airflow rate you want for your space.
  • Optimal Placement: Position the air cleaner in a location where it can effectively circulate air, keeping it unobstructed.
  • Regular Maintenance: Follow the manufacturer’s filter replacement or cleaning guidelines to maintain the unit’s effectiveness.

Navigating the Market and Making Smart Choices

When purchasing an in-room air cleaner, it’s crucial to opt for proven and reliable technologies. Be wary of new products that haven’t undergone independent testing or lack credible reviews. Remember, not all lab-tested results translate effectively into real-life scenarios.


Supplemental Air Quality Strategies

In addition to using in-room air cleaners, consider enhancing air circulation through natural ventilation or fans. However, be cautious about the direction of airflow to prevent spreading contaminants from one person to another.

Selecting the right in-room air cleaner involves understanding your specific needs, the technology behind these devices, and the best practices for their use. By following this step-by-step guide, you can make an informed decision that will contribute significantly to a healthier indoor environment. Remember, the cleaner your indoor air, the lower the risk of airborne disease transmission.

For more insights and resources on indoor air quality, visit Commit to C.A.R.E’s Indoor Air Quality Tools.

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About us

The Commit to C.A.R.E. provides free resources and tools for businesses to safeguard their employees and communities from infectious diseases.

All tools developed under this project have been created with the needs of a nonscientific and non-medical audience in mind.

El Compromiso C.A.R.E. proporciona recursos y herramientas gratuitos para que las empresas protejan a sus empleados y comunidades de enfermedades infecciosas.

Todas las herramientas desarrolladas bajo este proyecto han sido creadas con las necesidades de una audiencia no científica y no médica en mente.