Contact: Jill Notini
202.872.5955 x318
jnotini@aham.org

TIPS FOR USING AN AIR CLEANER TO MANAGE WILDFIRE SMOKE


WASHINGTON, D.C. (September 28, 2020)
– Many people who live in areas affected by wildfires are utilizing room air cleaners to counter some of the effects of smoke on indoor air quality. When used properly, air cleaners can remove smoke, particulate matter and other pollutants caused by fires. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers recommends these steps to ensure that air cleaners operate as effectively as possible.

If you already own an air cleaner:

Change the filter regularly: Your air cleaner’s use and care manual will recommend how often to change your air cleaner’s filter. These recommendations are based on the manufacturer’s testing, but can vary depending on how often you use the filter and the level of pollutants in the air.  Extended operation in an area affected by heavy smoke may require more frequent filter changes. If the filter is changing color or if the level of air coming out of the air cleaner drops, it could mean the filter should be changed. Keep extra filters on hand, especially during wildfire season. Some air cleaners do not require filters, relying instead on an electrostatic precipitator (ESP), which charges particles and attracts them to a plate. Clean the plates regularly. Check your use and care manual for specific cleaning instructions.

Clean the outside of the air cleaner: Some manufacturers recommend using a vacuum to remove dust from the outside of the air cleaner. Vacuum or gently clean the dust from the outside of the air cleaner when you notice a buildup. An air cleaner that is dirty on the outside is likely dirty on the inside, so make this part of the process when you are replacing or cleaning the filter.

Vacuum regularly: Do a thorough cleaning of the area and vacuum regularly to remove particles so they are not kicked back into the air. 

Give your air cleaner space to operate: It might be more convenient to place an air cleaner against a wall and in a corner, but that will restrict airflow and reduce performance. Move the air cleaner toward the center of the room or to an area free of obstructions and run it on high to allow it to filter more air.

Are you shopping for an air cleaner? Here is how to make the right choice:

If you are shopping for an air cleaner, you will likely come across models that use different types of technologies to clear the air. More important than the method the air cleaner uses is whether the air cleaner is appropriate for the size of the room in which it will be used. Look for the AHAM Verifide® Mark and the air cleaner’s Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) on the air cleaner packaging. The mark means the air cleaner has been independently tested for its ability to remove tobacco smoke, pollen and dust and meets CARB ozone limits. The suggested room size for the air cleaner will be noted prominently on the label. Under normal circumstances, you could choose an air cleaner with a smoke CADR two-thirds the size of the room in which you will use the air cleaner. However, those in areas heavily affected by wildfire smoke should select an air cleaner with a smoke CADR that matches the room size. For example, an air cleaner with a smoke CADR of 200 would be appropriate for a 200 square-foot room in an area affected by smoke. 
 
 

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The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) is the trade association representing manufacturers of major, portable and floor care home appliances and suppliers to the industry. AHAM is headquartered in Washington, D.C. and maintains an office in Ottawa. AHAM is the single voice providing the home appliance industry and its customers leadership, advocacy and a forum for action — developing and implementing credible solutions for public policy, standards and business decisions. You can visit AHAM’s web site at http://www.aham.org or follow us on Twitter @AHAM_Voice and @AHAM_Policy.