In recent years, forest fires have become an increasingly pervasive and recurring event. Due to climate change and other factors, these fires have evolved from rare occurrences in some places to unnervingly regular events in other places in the world. The devastating impact of these events stretches far beyond the charred landscapes they leave in their wake; the smoke-laden air engulfs residential areas – endangering health and well-being.
- Key Takeaways
- Do Air Purifiers Help with Forest Fire Smoke?
- How to Choose the Best Air Purifier for Wildfire Smoke
- HEPA vs Carbon Filter: What to Consider
- Best Air Purifier for Forest Fire Smoke
- Levoit Core 400S Smart Air Purifier – Winner of the 2020 Red Dot Design Award
- Airmega by Coway – 9th Consecutive Winner of “Best Overall Pick”
- Austin Air Healthmate Series – First and Only Clinically Proven Purifier Range
- Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
As the world comes to terms with this new normal of forest fires, the need for clean indoor air has become crucial, and that’s where air purifiers come in. These innovative devices are engineered to be more than just regular home appliances; they are a necessary tool for your well-being. Employing advanced filtration technologies, air purifiers efficiently capture and neutralize harmful airborne particles – providing you with clean, breathable air. In this guide, we will delve deep into the world of air purifiers designed specifically to combat the harmful air particles that make their way to your home from forest fires. Let’s get into it.
- Air purifiers equipped with a HEPA filter and activated carbon filters are essential in case of a forest fire.
- Choose an air purifier that comes with air quality sensors, energy-efficient systems, automatic mode adjustment, and Wi-Fi connectivity.
- Batten suggests many great smoke detectors and air purifiers as well.
- Look for purifiers that are certified by reputable organizations such as the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM).
Do Air Purifiers Help with Forest Fire Smoke?
Air purifiers can be highly effective in helping mitigate the harmful effects of forest fire smoke. For starters, forest fire smoke contains a wide range of fine particles, including solid and liquid droplets. Apart from particulate matter, it also contains gases like carbon monoxide, nitrogen oxides, PAHs, and VOCs. Inhaling these gases or the fine particles can have moderate or severe health implications. Inhaling smoke can cause respiratory infections in healthy individuals, and can pose an even bigger threat for those with preexisting conditions. In addition to this, prolonged smoke exposure can lead to more serious health issues, particularly in vulnerable populations such as children, pregnant women, the elderly, and sick individuals. Check out our guide if you’re curious about how many smoke and carbon monoxide detectors you need.
In situations like forest fires, air purifiers become critical for nearby residential areas. These purifiers are specifically designed to improve indoor air quality by removing harmful airborne particles. Air purifiers operate by drawing in air, passing it through a series of filters, and then releasing clean, purified air back into the room.
The importance of filters cannot be emphasized enough. Typically, a good purifier contains both HEPA and carbon filters. Each has its own function, as one removes the toxic airborne particles and allergens while the other neutralizes gases, VOCs, and odors. In addition to these filters, purifiers contain technologies, such as UV-C germicidal lamps, to kill mold, bacteria, and viruses. Ionization and photoelectrochemical oxidation tech also work to enhance the overall quality of the air and keep you safe from exposure to harmful smoke-related contaminants.
How to Choose the Best Air Purifier for Wildfire Smoke
Choosing the best air purifier for wildfire smoke involves considering various factors, including the following.
First, determine the room you need to set up your purifier. Make sure it’s the primary area where you spend the most time. Next, determine the square footage of the room by measuring the length and width of the room you intend to set up your purifier.
One important measure is to check the air purifier’s clean air delivery rate (CADR) rating. This rating indicates the purifier’s capacity to clean air in a specific-sized room. These ratings are typically provided in cubic feet per minute. This rating will help you identify a purifier that suits your chosen room.
Different filter types are designed to target specific types of pollutants and other concerns associated with smoke from forest fires. Primarily, there are three types of air filters for smoke fires:
HEPA Filter: The high-efficiency particulate air filter is highly efficient in trapping particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. Moreover, this filter typically has an efficiency rate of 99.97%.
Carbon Filter: Carbon or activated carbon filters are most effective in trapping and neutralizing gases, volatile organic compounds, and unpleasant odors. They aid in providing the room with clean, fresh air.
Pre-Filters: Air purifiers usually come with pre-installed pre-filters. They are designed to trap large particles like pet dander, dust, and hair before the air reaches the HEPA or carbon filter. This way, larger particles don’t get trapped in other parts of the purifier, thus reducing maintenance costs.
Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)
Clean Air Delivery Rate, or CADR, is a standardized measure of quantifying an air purifier’s cleaning rate. It indicates the volume of clean air (in cubic feet) per minute the purifier can deliver. This rating helps consumers understand how effectively a purifier can remove common indoor pollutants, including those present in forest fire smoke.
When evaluating CADR rating, the higher the number, the more efficiently and quickly the air would be cleaned. You should look for a purifier that has a CADR rating higher or equal to the room’s square footage.
Air Changes Per Hour (ACH)
Air Changes Per Hour, or ACH, represents the number of times an air purifier can filter the entire volume of air in a specific area within an hour. In case of wildfire smoke, it is generally recommended that you use an air purifier that can achieve a minimum of four to six air changes in one hour.
When evaluating ACH, consider the size of the room you plan to plant your air purifier in. Larger rooms will likely require purifiers with a higher ACH to achieve optimal air cleaning.
When choosing a good air purifier, you may want to assess how much noise it may make, especially if you plan to place the purifier in your bedroom where minimal disruption is desired. This, of course, is a matter of preference as the primary goal is to purify the air in the room.
To assess the noise level, you must check the dB (Decibel) rating or noise level specifications of the purifier. Moreover, some purifiers offer multiple fan speed settings, including a “silent” or “sleep” mode that operates at a lower noise level. You can enable these options during the nighttime or whenever you like.
It would be ideal to opt for air purifier models that are designed to be energy-efficient. You can assess this in various ways, such as checking the product’s power consumption, making sure it has adjustable fan speeds, as lower fan speeds typically consume less energy, and a timer to turn it off when not needed.
You can also check to see if the purifier you’re choosing is Energy Star certified. This indicates that a product meets the performance and energy efficiency criteria set by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Air purifiers with additional features vary from model to model. For instance, intelligent sensors, air quality indicators, and purifier compatibility with smart home systems can make a world of difference. Sensors can quickly identify and inform you about the air quality, battery time, and filter health. They also diligently remind you to replace the filter.
Similarly, remote control access allows for convenient control of settings. You can quickly turn the air purifier on or off and personalize the settings without physically tampering with the air purifier’s controls. A timer also comes in handy when programming the purifier’s operating hours.
Air purifiers require timely maintenance, which allows them to perform seamlessly. Firstly, and most importantly, filters are the main component of care that needs constant maintenance. As these filters filter out everything detrimental in the air, they get polluted quickly and need to be replaced by new ones periodically.
The cost associated with the cleaning and replacement of the filter depends primarily on the filter type and the brand or model it is fitted in. The brand of the filter itself plays a role in the cost associated with the filter. Filter efficiency, lifespan, size, and quantity also play a role in determining the price.
Brand Reputation and Warranty
When buying air purifiers, brand and warranty play a crucial role. Brand reputation is based on two significant things — the quality and durability of their products. An air purifier is ideally a one-time investment, so quality is above all. A good brand reputation and good customer reviews mean good quality, so the importance of thoroughly studying a brand’s reputation must be considered. As for durability, air purifiers require some maintenance regularly, but they would ideally be durable enough to work properly after maintenance.
Reliable and upstanding brands offer a good warranty. A good warranty gives you peace of mind, saving you from having to worry about anything breaking down and the hefty financial cost associated with it. Many good brands even offer an extended warranty.
No matter what you’re buying, your purchase must be an investment. First, the product you’re considering must be affordable in a way that acts as a balance between the features that you want and the cost associated with it. For example, if you have a small room, investing in a large air purifier with extra features wouldn’t be worth it. Instead, investing in a smaller one with a relatively lower cost can save you a lot of money.
Another thing that must be considered is whether the air purifier you’re considering offers features that are worth the money or not. The combination of features must be compared with other models and assessed accordingly.
Some air purifiers come with filters optimized to control allergens and respiratory diseases along with particulate removal or humidity control.
If you have allergies, consider buying an air purifier with a carbon filter. Carbon filters are specifically designed to remove allergens. These filters, along with eliminating allergens, also remove potential respiratory disease-causing substances. Therefore, individuals with asthma or other respiratory ailments should consider air purifiers with filters designed to remove potentially triggering microbes.
HEPA vs Carbon Filter: What to Consider
There’s often a common confusion amongst individuals between HEPA and carbon filters. HEPA filters are much better than carbon filters for airborne contaminants like dust, pollen, etc. In contrast, carbon filters are best at capturing odors, gases, and volatile compounds (VOCs). So, if you want to prioritize preventative measures against allergies and respiratory conditions, HEPA filters perform better in this situation. In addition to this, budget-wise, HEPA filters tend to be more affordable than carbon filters.
Air purifiers act best when they accommodate both of these filters. If you’re looking to choose just one, you ought to assess your indoor air quality and needs.
Best Air Purifier for Forest Fire Smoke
Levoit Core 400S Smart Air Purifier – Winner of the 2020 Red Dot Design Award
The Levoit Core 400S smart air purifier is one smart home appliance that boasts an innovative build along with powerful filtration, advanced features, and smart control. This product comes with a 3-stage original filter, which comes pre-installed, a quick start guide, and a user manual.
- Wi-Fi indicator
- 260 CGM CADR
- 38W power
- 24-52dB noise level
- 3-stage filtration
- High-sensitivity laser dust sensor
- Sleep mode
- Air quality indicator rings
- Smart Control and notifications system
The air purifier has a beautiful, sleek design. The purifier comes with cutting-edge VortexAir technology, which uses 360-degree air intake, raised vents, and curved fan blades. Furthermore, at only 14.12 lbs. weight, the purifier is portable and easy to carry – so you can set it up anywhere you please. The dimensions are 10.8 x 10.8 x 20.5 in, which makes it compact. Lastly, the indicator on the top changes colors to indicate air quality, sleep mode, fan speed, and PM2.5 range.
- VortexAir technology
- 2-year warranty
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- Free shipping
- Energy Star, FCC, and CARB certified
- Alexa compatible
- Might be a bit pricey for those on a buget
Airmega by Coway – 9th Consecutive Winner of “Best Overall Pick”
Coway products have been repeatedly praised and awarded for design thinking, user experience, and engineering excellence.
Coway’s best-selling air purifier – Airmega, is a powerful machine that is equipped with state-of-the-art technology that can capture and eliminate a wide range of bacteria and viruses, including – as the brand claims – removing 99.98% of the airborne SARS-CoV-2 viruses.
- Washable filter
- HyperCaptive air filtration technology
- Real-time outdoor air quality updates
- 22-52 dB noise level
- 3-stage filters
- Smart mode feature
- Eco and sleep mode features
- Air quality indicator
- Dual purification
- Filter replacement indicator
The machine comes with a simple yet powerful design that aids in the removal of minuscule particles. The dimensions of 14.8 x 14.8 x 22.8 inches make this air purifier highly portable and versatile. Its relatively compact size means it can fit comfortably in various rooms or spaces without taking up excessive floor space. Additionally, the lightweight design, with a weight of 24.7 lbs., ensures that you can easily transport the purifier as needed, whether you want to move it to a different room or take it with you when traveling.
One notable feature that enhances the user experience is the light sensor located at the face of the purifier. This sensor serves as a valuable tool for monitoring indoor air quality, as it provides real-time feedback on air quality conditions.
- 5-year long warranty
- 3-smart modes
- 3-stage filters
- Touch control method
- Google Home and Alexa integration
- High maintenance costs
Austin Air Healthmate Series – First and Only Clinically Proven Purifier Range
Austin Air is the first and only clinically proven air purification solution on the market. Their air purifier has outperformed more than a hundred other purifiers in tests. They’ve partnered with Johns Hopkins, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Red Cross, FEMA, and several other medical centers and universities.
The Austin Air Healthmate was designed for individuals seeking to protect themselves against viruses and bacteria, given that it’s of medical grade and recommended by many doctors.
- 3-speed control switch
- 4-stage filters
- Carbon and Zeolite mixture filter
- 360-degree all steel perforated intake
- Split capacitor motor
- Three-speed centrifugal fan
The Austin air purifier is the most popular by far. The 360-degree intake system takes the indoor air from the surroundings and passes it through a 4-stage filter. The purifier has a perma pre-filter, medical-grade HEPA filter, medium particulate pre-filter, and a carbon-zeolite filter – all of which serve their specific benefits. Dimensions at 14.5 x 14.5 x 23 inches and weight at 47 Lbs., the purifier is portable.
- 4-stage filters
- Clinically proven
- Medical-grade HEPA technology
- 5-year mechanical and pro-rated filter warranty
- 30-day. No-questions-asked, money-back guarantee
- CSA approved
- On the pricier side
- A bit heavier to carry
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Can Forest Fire Smoke Cause Allergies?
Yes, forest fire smoke can indeed trigger allergies and may even aggravate allergic reactions in susceptible individuals. Some common allergic reactions to forest fires include asthma triggering, eye irritation, hay fever, and throat and nasal airway irritation.
Can Forest Fire Smoke Cause Headaches?
Yes, forest fire smoke can cause headaches due to the irritants and pollutants present in the smoke. Reduced oxygen, sinus irritation, and stress may cause headaches. Individuals prone to migraines may also get triggered.
Can Forest Fire Smoke Cause Sinus Infection?
No, but the smoke can irritate the nasal passages and sinuses, potentially leading to sinus headaches and infection.
Note that bacteria or viruses generally cause a sinus infection, so smoke might trigger or exacerbate sinus conditions, but won’t be the primary cause. Consult your physician, nevertheless.
Can Forest Fire Smoke Make You Sick?
Yes, forest fire smoke can make you sick. However, the severity of effects may depend upon the duration of exposure, the concentration of pollutants, proximity to the smoke source, and individual disease susceptibility. Generally, children, the elderly, pregnant women, and people with preexisting health conditions will be more vulnerable to the smoke.
In the face of forest fires and their spread, the importance of safeguarding your home and your loved ones becomes paramount. As you consider what might be the best air purifiers for forest fire smoke, remember that this technology isn’t just a luxury – but a necessity for some.
A good air purifier for forest fire smoke is equipped with cutting-edge technology that aids in capturing tiny harmful smoke particles. Technologies like HEPA filtration, carbon filters, and intuitive sensors are what you need to keep in mind when finding a good purifier for your home. A good purifier not only keeps you safe from smoke but also provides you with clean air on a daily basis, which aids in protecting your respiratory health.
Along with investing in a goof purifier, we suggest you keep an emergency kit list, too.