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Should I Buy an Air Purifier from Costco, Walmart, or Home Depot?

Should I Buy an Air Purifier from Costco, Walmart, or Home Depot?

Keeping the air in your home fresh and clean is a necessity, especially if you live in the city. There are more air pollutants and particulate matter around cities and towns due to increased commerce and transportation activities.

As a result, you can expect a lower air quality in the cities than in countryside locations or suburbs. Breathing in toxins, particulate matter, and contaminants can cause various health problems, especially in people with respiratory issues like asthma and allergies.

However, you're not much better off in the suburbs. If you have a lawn, pathogens like mold lurk in the grass and soil, overwintering in piles of leaves and other spots around the yard. When summer shows up, the pathogen releases mold spores into the air. They wander into your home looking for a place to settle and spread.

The only real way to ensure you're breathing in pure air with no contaminates is to sell your home and rely on an air management system to clean the air. However, some machines are better than others. Performance varies dramatically depending on the model, manufacturing brand, and capacity and functionality of the device.

When people go out to purchase their first air purification system, they typically do so at a big-box retailer. If you have no experience with air purification systems, you might not know what you're looking at in the store or online.

This post unpacks the best air purification machines available through Costco, Walmart, and Home Depot, some of America's largest big-box retailers.

How Do I Know If the Air Quality in My Home Is Healthy?

Before we start, it's important to note that air purification systems serve two purposes.

  • Keeping contaminants out of the air (Preventative).
  • Remediating the air after contamination (Restorative).

If you have a mold infestation or high levels of dust mites in the environment, the filter isn't going to be the right solution to the problem. Sure, the filter will have some immediate effect on helping remediate the air in the room.

However, unless you remove the source of the problem, it will continue. For example, if you have mold growing in the walls, an air purification system isn't the solution – removing the mold is the immediate solution.

An air purification system serves a role as a preventative by removing mold spores from the air if they enter the home before they have a chance to settle. They also play a restorative role in helping to filter the air after removing the source of the problem, such as the mold.

Some homeowners might not be sure if they need an air purification system for their homes. If that's the case, hire MI&T to complete a test on the air quality in your home.

They can detect mold and any other air contaminants in rooms, issuing you with a full report of their findings. Contact the service center and book your inspection today.

Why Do I Need an Air Purification System for My Home?

So, why do you need an air purification system anyway? What are the top issues associated with low air quality? Did you know that studies show that the average air quality inside the home is around five times lower than outdoors?

An air purification system for your home is becoming an essential device, especially for urban living environments. Here are the top pollutants, contaminants, and particles air purifiers help to remove from the air in your home.

Mold Spores

Mold waits in the soil, lawn, and rotting garden materials for the summer months to arrive. As the weather warms up, the mold becomes active, releasing its spores into your home. If those spores find a dark, damp space, they'll start to grow and spread spores.

Some varieties of mold, such as black mold, release mycotoxins in the spores, creating severe adverse health reactions in people exposed to the spores. Mold spores in the air create a musty smell in the room, and sensitive individuals may experience allergy attacks and upper-respiratory problems.

An air purification system in your home means you can seal the doors and windows, allowing the system to filter new air it brings in from the outside or recirculate the air in the room on very bad air quality days. As a result, the mold spores in the air never enter your home.

Wildfire and Cigarette Smoke

If you have issues with smoke in your home, you'll need to search for a model with a carbon filter and a True HEPA filter combination. These filters scrub smoke out of the air by passing it through a HEPA filter to remove the particulate matter and then through a carbon scrubber to remove the smoke.

For Allergens

Pollen and dust are external allergens entering the home through open doors and windows. Like mold spores, they are microscopic and lightweight, floating easily in the air. Pollen floats into the house and sticks to surfaces, including your clothing and bedding. You'll come in contact with it and rub it into your face unconsciously.

Dust settles everywhere, including on the flooring and in the carpet, reducing the air quality in the room. An air purification system allows the sealing of your home to prevent these contaminants from entering the living space.

Pet Dander and Dust Mites

By controlling the air inside your home using an air purification system, you can reduce the amount of pet dander and dust mites in rooms. The filter removes this particulate matter from the air, with HEPA filters removing up to 99.97% of all airborne contaminants.

VOCs

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are in many household cleaners, personal care products, clothing, and even furniture in your home. VOCs like benzene, toluene, and formaldehyde can present respiratory problems in sensitive individuals, and they also offer a cancer risk later in life.

An air purification system requires the use of a carbon filter to remove these toxins from the air. Look for hybrid models offering a combination of HEPA and carbon filter technology.

What are the Most Popular Air Purifier Brands At Walmart?

Holmes Personal Space Air Purifier

This affordable and compact air purification system is ideal for taking with you anywhere you go. The purifier comes with a multi-stage filtration unit, removing particulate matter from the air. However, tit's important to note that this model; is not a HEPA filtration unit.

This model includes an ionizer function, but we don't recommend you run this function. It's an affordable and somewhat functional model, but you won't get the same performance out of it as you would with more powerful devices.

Honeywell HPA300 True HEPA Air Purifier

This model is a hybrid system featuring a carbon pre-filter before the HEPA stage filtration system scrubs the air clean of particles.

This unit is a solid choice, and it's capable of cleaning the air in rooms as large as 485 square feet. This model could be the best overall choice for an air purification system in this review.

Holmes HEPA-Type Air Purifier

This "HEPA-type" air purifier is a cost-effective alternative to other portable air purification systems on the market. However, the HEPA-like filter is a marketing term, and this means that it's not a true HEPA filter.

As a result, you can't expect the same air quality management as you get with more expensive purification systems. This model is suitable for use in rooms up to 180 square feet. The filter also comes infused with baking soda to remove bad odors from the air.

What are the Most Popular Air Purifier Brands At Costco?

Winix C535 Air Cleaner with PlasmaWave Technology

The dual hybrid unit utilizes carbon and HEPA filter technology to remove particles and scrub the air clean of gases and smells.

However, some user reviews state that this model may produce ground-level ozone emissions. If you purchase it, make sure you don't use the ionizer function (more on that later).

 

Blueair Classic 403 HEPASilent Air Purifier

This portable model is the size of a computer tower and a great compact option to take on vacation. The Blueair Classic is suitable for rooms up to 370 square feet.

The company offers you its unique "HEPAQuiet" technology that runs the machine at nearly unnoticeable audio levels.

 

GermGuardian AC9200FL True HEPA Air Purifier System

This hybrid system comes with HEPA filters and activated carbon filters to remove VOCs and odors from the air and all particulate matter down to 0.3-microns in size.

This portable model is suitable for rooms up to 378 square feet. We recommend going with the version without the ionizer.

What are the Most Popular Air Purifier Brands At Home Depot?

IQAir HealthPro Plus Air Purifier

The Readers Digest rates this model a "Best Buy," with the IQAir Healthpro Plus utilizing the brand's proprietary "HyperHEPA technology."

Dyson Pure Hot + Cool Link Air Purifier

Suitable for use in rooms up to 400-square feet.

Selecting the Best Air Purifier Model for Your Home

When choosing the right air purifier for your home, you might feel a sense of overwhelming. With so many good choices from so many leading retailers, which one is the right model for your home?

Choosing a system to match your needs is important, and you have three options for your air purifier.

HVAC Systems

HVAC systems are whole-home air management systems that control air quality through a central air filter and distribution system. It's the ideal choice for the home but the most expensive option. The HVAC system sits in your roof or outside the walls, drawing in the fresh air, which it filters and distributes throughout the home using ducting.

Air-Conditioning

An air conditioning unit is similar to an HVAC system in that it removes impurities from the air while drawing in air from outdoors. The difference is that an air-con unit typically has a design for single-room use. It relies on an exterior and interior unit for operation and most often remains fixed to the wall or window frame. Both air-con units and HVAC systems require professional installation and wiring.

Portable Units

The portable unit is ideal for use in multiple rooms around the home. You get the advantages of single-room air-conditioning to control the air quality, with the flexibility of movement between spaces for all-home cooling experiences. Portables are less expensive than air-cons or HVACs, and you can take them with you on vacation. However, they lack the power and efficiency of HVAC and single-room fixed systems.

For the purposes of this post, we'll be looking at portable units. Portables are the most affordable and popular form of air purification systems. 

Air Filtration Units

Now that you understand the types of air filtration units let's look at the filter components.

HEPA Air Systems

The HEPA filter is the gold standard of air filtration. However, there is no government-approved standard for manufacturing these filters for the consumer market. Therefore, you'll find dozens of brands offering "HEPA-like" filters that don't have the same efficiency as a true HEPA filter.

True HEPA filters remove up to 99.87% of all particulate matter from the air. Provided they have a good fit and seal to the housing of the air purifier; they provide excellent remediation of the air passing through the filter fibers. HEPA filters remove particles down to 0.3-microns in diameter.

If you're looking for the best filters, check that your prospective model carries the "UL" logo. These machines have true HEPA filters, and the certification is available on all leading brands.

UV-C Light Traps and Filters

The only issue with HEPA filters is that they cannot effectively remove pathogens like bacteria, fungi, and viruses from the air. These biological contaminants are so small that they sometimes slip through the fibers, ending up in the air. They can also collect on the inside of HVAC ducting, where they grow and spread.

A UV-C or UV-A light trap attached to your filter system helps to sterilize biological contaminants in the filtered air as it re-enters the room. The light trap kills organisms quickly, ensuring that there is less chance of these contaminants recirculating in the air supply in your home.

According to studies, UV-A light is superior to UV-C light in the time it takes to kill biological organisms and pathogens in the air. UV-A light also doesn't contribute to the formation of ground-level ozone by the air purification system and the light trap.

Carbon Filter Systems

Volatile Organic Chemicals (VOCs) are a class of liquids that evaporate fast at room temperature when exposed to air. An example is the chemical formaldehyde, a VOC that's present in almost every home in the world and in a variety of consumer and industrial products.

VOCs in the air inside your home can create allergic reactions and irritate the upper respiratory tract. An example would be painting your nails in the living room while you watch a movie. Everyone in the house can smell the acetone in the nail polish remover as it starts gassing off into the air.

A carbon filter/HEPA hybrid air purification helps remove the particulate matter through the HEPA filter. The carbon filter then removes the VOCs and bad odors that the HEPA system didn't manage to capture.

Ionizers

An ionizer is typically a part of a portable air purification system. The system produces negative ions that latch onto contaminants in the air, pulling them to the ground and to the walls. The particles stick to the floor and walls, and you wash them away with your routine home maintenance practices.

However, there is plenty of evidence showing that these ionizer systems also release heavy ozone levels into the room as a byproduct of producing ions. Ozone is an atmospheric structure containing three oxygen molecules. When it occurs on the surface of the earth, we call it "ground-level ozone. "

Ground-level ozone is a severe respiratory irritant and harmful to your health. Therefore, we recommend avoiding ionizer systems in your air purifier.

In Closing – Choose the System that Matches Your Needs and Budget

When deciding on the right air purification system for your home, make sure you reflect on the information in this post before finalizing your purchase. Choose the system that's right for your home or your living space. Whether it's an HVAC system, an air conditioner, or a portable, know the capabilities of the machine before you invest your hard-earned money in it.

For the best results with your purchase, get an air inspection for your home before buying your air purifier. The consultants at MI&T have plenty of experience discussing the right type of air management system you need for your home, apartment, guest house, or commercial building.

While they don't specialize in removing mold, they'll find it in your home and make recommendations on removing it safely yourself.

With MI&T, you're getting a top-quality service with an unbiased opinion. We don't contract with any removal companies, so you know we don't have a profit incentive in discovering mold in your home.

Call our service center and book your air quality inspection today.

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