Dealing with Polluted Air[ work in progress ]
- The PurpleAir sensor network has higher resolution data than other sources. Find the sensor closest to you.
- This Dylos sensor ($200) measures particulate matter. It's expensive, but others are wildly inaccurate.
Keep the following in mind when shopping for an air purifier:
Here are some recommended models:
- The business model of many purifiers, especially the less expensive ones, is to get you constantly buying their air filters. Its a lot like the printer industry.
- The marketing for all air purifiers, even the good ones, overstates how big of an area they can handle. Ignore any numbers about how many sq feet the purifier can cover. Different manufacturers use different methodologies to calculate that - its not even comparable across models. Only pay attention to how many cubic feet per minute it can process. This is often reported as CFM or CADR. Even those numbers are somewhat gamed but we have to work with the information we have.
- Despite what they may claim, the majority of air purifiers do not meaningfully handle chemical pollutants.
- Austinair HealthMate ($600). 400 CFM. Includes a 15 lbs carbon filter to also reduce chemical pollutants. This model doesn't need the filter replaced for roughly 5 years. I've actually owned one for that long and can vouch for it.
- AirMega 400 ($565) Effective but doesn't help remove chemical pollutants. 400 CFM.
- If the above models are too expensive, then the Coway AP-1512 ($206) is good. 200 CFM.
Air Masks (Respirators)
The most important quality of a good respirator is that it forms a seal with your face. It doesn't matter what kind of respirator you get if you're just breathing air that goes around it. Respirators don't work with beards.
Get a mask with a filter rated N95, N100, or P100. N100 or P100 are better.
If you're willing to look like darth vader, this facemask ($20) will do a good job filtering the air you breath (if you get it to seal to your face). Make sure you get the right size. The medium and large fit me. The small size fits my 4 and 6 year olds.
Types of Pollutants
Home Air Quality Experiments