What is an Effective Air Cleaning Device? A Review

Publication Type

Journal Article




The use of portable air cleaning devices in residential settings has been steadily growing over the last 10 years. Three out of every 10 households now contain a portable air cleaning device. This increased use of air cleaners is accompanied by, if not influenced by, a fundamental belief by consumers that the air cleaners are providing an improved indoor air environment. However, there is a wide variation in the performance of air cleaners that is dependent on the specific air cleaner design and various indoor factors. The most widely used method in the United States to assess the performance of new air cleaners is the procedure described in the American National Standards Institute (ANSI)/Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) AC-1-2002. This method describes both the test conditions and the testing protocol. The protocol yields a performance metric that is based on the measured decay rate of contaminant concentrations with the air cleaner operating compared with the measured decay rate with the air cleaner turned off. The resulting metric, the clean air delivery rate (CADR), permits both an intercomparison of performance among various air cleaners and a comparison of air cleaner operation to other contaminant removal processes. In this article, we comment on the testing process, discuss its applicability to various contaminants, and evaluate the resulting performance metrics for effective air cleaning.


Journal of Occupational and Environmental Hygiene



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