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Many people spend more than 90% of their time indoors. Studies indicate that the air within homes and other buildings is often more polluted than the outdoor air. Also, some groups such as the elderly or chronically ill are more susceptible to the effects of indoor air pollution. Air cleaners can help with creating a healthier environment.
Air cleaners are rated on a variety of factors such as for example Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR, it is a measure for how well air has been cleaned) and energy usage. Higher performance air cleaners use HEPA filters. The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) has formulated requirements for testing air cleaners in the AHAM AC-1-2013 standard. That standard is used worldwide by independent laboratories to verify air cleaner performance ratings. Test results can be reviewed on the AHAM’s online searchable directory.
This standard prescribes a number of tests with dust, cigarette smoke and pollen to determine the CADR for each. It also lists recommended equipment in Annex A such as the model 3400A Fluidized Bed Aerosol Generator for test dust generation, the model 3074 Air Supply System, and the model 3321 Aerodynamic Particle Sizer. Many laboratories use the model 3340 Laser Aerosol Spectrometer to measure the decrease of high concentrations of the airborne particles over time. This instrument detects and sizes all particles from 90 nm to 7.5 µm.
Some countries such as China (GB/T 18801-2015) and Canada (NRCC-54013) have established local standards for air cleaner testing that also permit other instruments to be used such as for example the model 3330 Optical Particle Sizer.
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