Three Things to Know about Air Purifiers for Smokers
Cigarette odor, meet your match.
Cigarette smoke can be one of the most pesky scents to remove from indoor air, so you need an air purifier with a filter system that’s strong enough. On their own, HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters can remove 99.97 percent of all particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter, and they can also extinguish the physical element of smoke from the air, but they can’t do much about the stench. To retain all the benefits of a HEPA filter and get rid of the overpowering smell of tobacco, you’ll need a multi-filter system that includes both a HEPA filter and an activated charcoal filter (also known as an activated carbon filter).
Since the human body is most vulnerable to particles that are under 0.5 microns in diameter, HEPA filters are highly recommended for people who suffer from allergies. Pollen, mold, pet dander, dust mites and bacteria are no match for HEPA filters because they are all large enough to be trapped by them. Most fumes, however, have microns that are smaller than 0.3 microns, so an air purifier needs an activated charcoal or carbon filter as backup.
Activated charcoal and carbon filters contain small absorbent pores that react chemically to pollutants that go through it. The bonding action traps the pollutants, clearing odors, chemicals, smoke and gases from the indoor air we breathe. Good as they are at kicking out unwanted scents, they are rarely used on their own to purify air and generally work in tandem with other kinds of filters.
Unless they are damaged, permanent filters don’t need to be replaced, but they must be cleaned every three months or so, depending on usage. The life cycle of replacement filters, on the other hand, varies. Most activated charcoal filters should be changed after 3,000 hours – or 125 days – of use, but if you cook and fry often, you might need to replace them after three or four months. When used in homes, HEPA filters can last up to two years, but may need to be changed twice a year. It’s best to follow what your instructions recommend. For those who have trouble keeping track of time, some devices will warn you when it’s time to replace a filter.