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Cigars 201: Air Purifiers

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Air Cleaner and Purifier for Indoor Cigar Smoking

One of these puppies might be able to bring your cigar smoking indoors at home

Today’s Cigars 201 lesson is on air purifiers. Take notes, if you want to keep your sanity in your own home.

If you wish to smoke indoors at, say, your house, and you want to ensure domestic tranquility among other members of your household, you may want to think about buying an air cleaner/purifier.

Air purifiers are electric machines that are used to eliminate harmful particles or contaminants from the air.  Different types of cleaning units use different processes to achieve their goals, but the results are generally the same: Cleaner air. When used in your home, air cleaners/purifiers will help to clean the air that you and your family breathe. And cigar smokers will not have to deal with a room that has that stale

Many consumers think they know what to look for, when it comes to air cleaners and purifiers. They might end up purchasing a low-cost machine or the one that looks the best. While not overpaying for a machine and aesthetics are nice, don’t base a decision on those factors. That’s why we put together this lesson for our Cigar 201 series.

Room or Whole House?

This one’s pretty simple, actually. Many cigar smokers want to set up a dedicated room for their enjoyment of the stogie. Maybe even incorporate cigar enjoyment into the proverbial “man cave” (sorry, ladies, can’t think of a better term for that kind of room). In this case, a room air purifier is all you need. Well, it’d be more accurate to say you’ll need an air cleaner, a well-sealed room, plenty of leather furniture and almost anything besides carpet as a floor covering, but I think those other things are implied.

Some smokers, though, will want to be able to enjoy their sticks throughout the house. Others may want to just have cleaner air throughout their home, especially if a family member has allergies, or if a lot of pets live in the home. In this case, a whole-house purifier would likely be the best move.

We can also see some households wanting both, especially for the home with a cigar smoker and other family members who have allergies caused by air-borne pollutants. With seemingly more people having allergic reactions to the environment as they get older, a combination room/whole house solution might be the best prescription for cleaner air throughout the entire household.

As you’d expect, a whole-house system is more expensive than a room cleaner. So keep that in mind if you’re the “Tim the Tool-Man Taylor” type who loves to overbuy and believes that the word “overkill” is the same as “effective.”

The Process

Here’s where Google(link) is your friend. There’s no one definitive resource to which to point you, unfortunately. You’ll need to Google them, and talk to people who sell these units, to determine what’s best for you. Just keep one thing in mind: Some Websites pass themselves off as independent “resources” for air-purifier information, when in reality they’re nothing more than shill sites for whatever specific model they’re selling.

For the best information, first go to a manufacturer Website and get the raw data you need. Then head to a major retailing site (Amazon, Overstock, etc.) to read reviews of the units. Later, decide if you’re going to buy from an online retailer or from a local store or HVAC person.

If you’re looking at a room unit, you shouldn’t have to go to an HVAC professional to buy one. But if you’re looking at a whole-house system, you’ll definitely want to call one. It might make sense to replace other things in your ventilation system at the same time you install a whole-house system, and the HVAC pro would know about these things.

One other resource you may want to tap is Consumer Reports. While their car reviews tend to be a bit boring—I mean, c’mon, they made the Ford Mustang sound as exciting as someone describing whole grain bread exiting from a toaster—they have the best reliability data in the business. And you don’t need to read an exciting article to learn about air cleaners and purifiers. A one-year subscription to their Website and some research time there might save you both money at the time of purchase, and heartache down the road.

Features

When looking for an air purifier, you should really find one that uses a HEPA filter. Although they are expensive, HEPA filters are often the best-performing, as they must meet specific regulations.

Some filters will need to be replaced, while others just need to be cleaned. If you need to replace the filter in the air purifier you want, you’ll need to determine when that filter needs to be changed and exactly how much it will cost.  This is extremely important, especially if you are shopping on a budget.

Pitfalls with filters include:

  • Some need to be replaced in as little time as a couple of months
  • Filters may end up costing more than you originally paid for the air purifier; be suspicious of especially low-priced units, as selling filters is how manufacturers of these models make their money

You’ll probably want to stay away from these types of cleaning machines, as they’ll clean out your wallet as they’re scrubbing your air.

Ozone and Air Purifiers

Lots of debate exists about the need for air purifiers to make ozone as a cleaning aide. Those who manufacture ozone systems, of course, extol ozone’s virtues. On the other side, you have those who not only think ozone doesn’t add anything to the air-purification process, the gas can actually harm humans.

Also beware that some “air purifiers” are nothing more than ozone generators, and do not have features like HEPA filters.

For its part, the US Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) says:

Available scientific evidence shows that at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone has little potential to remove indoor air contaminants. …

There is evidence to show that at concentrations that do not exceed public health standards, ozone is not effective at removing many odor-causing chemicals.

While those are just the highlights, the EPA has a lot more to say about ozone and indoor air cleaners. Here’s the specific EPA page to read up on the entire report.

Do you have an air purifier? Room or whole house? How’s it working for you? Let us know your experiences in the comment section below!

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