Tips for identifying best home air purifiers as Bay Area wildfires worsen air quality

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- With an earlier start to the fire season, many people are trying to find the right air purifier to help clear the wildfire smoke within their homes. Although the demand is high for these products, health experts say you should do your research before buying the first one you see on the shelves after they're replenished.

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"Make that investment knowing that you're investing in your family's health and wellness," said Steven Scheer, president of San Francisco-based Brondell, which makes state-of-the-art air purifiers for at-home use. "Some of the real small machines, while they might have an attractive price point and are probably better than nothing, might not really be able to do the job in a larger room in your home."

As you shop around, high efficiency particulate (HEPA) air filters are great at filtering particulate matter. But with the smoke, an active carbon filter could also be helpful.

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"Even if you have your doors and windows closed, (it) doesn't mean you have good indoor air quality," said Dr. Mary Prunicki, director of air pollution research at the Sean N. Parker Center for Allergy and Asthma Research at Stanford University. "We want to make sure that we're keeping our immune systems functioning as optimally as possible."

Health experts say you should look at the rooms you spend the most time in and plan your purchase accordingly. For most people, that would be their bedroom, so it would be important to purchase an air purifier that can run overnight and provide enough coverage in that space.

Prunicki added, "If the fires get even worse, at least you have an option that doesn't involve leaving your home and going to a clean air shelter."


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