Smoke Damage >> How To Remove Smoke Smell

Most people buy air purifiers to ease asthma or allergies. But despite product claims, there's little definitive medical evidence that purifiers help relieve respiratory symptoms. Some may pose a threat even to healthy users. Electrostatic precipitators are the most heavily promoted purifiers, How To Remove Smoke Smell accounting for about half of the models sold. 

Oreck and Sharper Image versions are best sellers, How To Remove Smoke Smell despite their lackluster air-cleaning performance in our tests. Electrostatic precipitators trap particles by applying an electrical charge to them as they pass through the unit and depositing them on plates or filters.The process creates some ozone as a byproduct. 

While ozone in the upper atmosphere protects us from the sun's ultraviolet rays, ground-level ozone is an irritant that can aggravate asthma and lessen lung function. Another type of purifier, ozone generators, How To Remove Smoke Smell are a growing part of the market. They create large amounts of ozone by design and claim to use it to purify the air. 

We rated two such models Not Acceptable because in our latest tests they reached up to 20 times the voluntary ozone standard based on the limit set by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for medical devices. (See "Not Acceptable: Ozone generators," on the facing page.) The FDA, though, How To Remove Smoke Smell doesn't consider air purifiers a medical device.And the ozone emissions of home air purifiers aren't regulated by any federal agency. 

But as we went to press, California banned ozone generators for most uses, How To Remove Smoke Smell effective 2010. Air purifiers that draw air through fabric filters are among those that do the best job of removing dust and smoke from the air without producing any ozone. Top rated models such as the Whirlpool Whispure, $230, performed better at their lowest, quietest speeds than many others did at their higher, noisier settings. 

But simple steps such as those mentioned in First Things First could improve air quality enough so that you don't need a purifier. Other findings and How To Remove Smoke Smell issues: Ozone is a growing concern. No standard exists for acceptable indoor ozone levels generated by a nonmedical device. Underwriters Laboratories (UL) certifies electrostatic precipitators using the FDA limit of 50 parts per billion. 

But that limit is under scrutiny. "Fifty parts per billion is by no means universally accepted in the scientific community as being a low enough benchmark for ozone," says Richard Shaughnessy, Ph.D., director of the University of Tuls's Indoor Air Research Program and How To Remove Smoke Smell the author of an analysis prepared for the Consumer Product Safety Commission on research pertaining to the current limit.

A recent study of outdoor air in 98 urban areas, led by Michelle L. Bell, assistant professor of environmental health at Yale University, How To Remove Smoke Smell indicated that even low levels of ground-level ozone were associated with increased risk of premature death. Ozone has other risks. Studies increasingly suggest that ozone creates other irritants as it reacts with household products such as scented cleaners and air fresheners. 

Among these irritants are formaldehyde, a carcinogen; acrolein, a toxic irritant found in cigarette smoke; How To Remove Smoke Smell and ultrafine particles. "Picture ultrafine particle behavior the way you see cigarette smoke behave in a lighted room," says Charles J. Weschler, Ph.D., a researcher at the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey. 

"They hang in the air for a long time. The concern is how easily the ultrafine particles are inhaled before they can settle." Germ-cleaning claims are oversold. Many air purifiers claim to rid your home of airborne bacteria and How To Remove Smoke Smell viruses in addition to dust, pollen, and smoke. We ran tests on five portable air purifiers that made those claims. 

While our tests confirmed that they reduce germs in the air, How To Remove Smoke Smell so should any air purifier that effectively removes dust and smoke. Still, germ removal isn't a good reason to buy an air purifier. "The limited effectiveness of the home air purifiers may give people a false sense of security," says Edward J. Septimus, M.D., an infectious disease expert at Methodist Hospital in Houston. 

"Stick with the basics instead: Wash your hands with soap and water for at least 15 seconds and cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze and cough." Ozone testing is in flux. Even the UL ozone test is under review as UL and industry and consumer groups, including Consumers Union, How To Remove Smoke Smell the nonprofit publisher of CONSUMER REPORTS, search for a better way to measure the ozone some purifiers emit.

"You can get any results you want depending on how you run the current UL test," says Shaughnessy, How To Remove Smoke Smell who is on the committee revising the standard. In the past we used the UL ozone test, among others. But because of concerns about the UL approach, we tested ozone producing purifiers using our own test in an airtight, unfurnished room.

While that won't exactly reproduce the levels in your home, given the increasing concerns about even low levels of ozone, How To Remove Smoke Smell it's useful to have this worst-case scenario of ozone buildup in a room. IF YOU BUY AN AIR PURIFIER Consumers Union continues to urge the CPSC to set indoor ozone limits for all air purifiers and mandate performance tests and labels disclosing the results. 

CU also urges the Federal Trade Commission to investigate air-purifier ads to determine the validity of health-related claims. If you're set on buying one, How To Remove Smoke Smell keep these points in mind: Consider whole-house models. Forced-air heating/cooling systems circulate so much air that they can overwhelm portable purifiers.

Whole-house purifiers are a better How To Remove Smoke Smell option. Better products range from $10 to $30 for do-it-yourself filters to $1,000-plus systems that have to be installed by a pro.The latter are more effective at removing dust and smoke. DIY furnace filters do nearly as good a job of removing dust but aren't as good at removing smoke. 

Buy a whole-house model with a filter rather than an electrostatic precipitator, How To Remove Smoke Smell which produces some ozone. Portables: Bigger is better. Portable air purifiers work best at high speeds but are quietest on low. Run the unit on the higher, louder setting when you're not in the room, and turn it down to low when you're nearby. 

Or buy a model certified for a larger area.We believe a clean-air delivery rate (CADR) above 350 is excellent, and How To Remove Smoke Smell one below 100 is poor. Look for CADR figures with an Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) logo. Only those were confirmed by AHAM.

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