What is CADR?
CADR stands for Clean Air Delivery Rate - A rating that indicates the volume of filtered air delivered by room or portable air cleaners. The higher the number, the better!
The Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) is an organization that verifies the testing results of home appliances such as refrigerators, room air conditioners, humidifiers and room air cleaners. Since 1967, they've used outside labs to test products, and today you'll find AHAM certified ratings on a variety of appliances. This makes comparing products easier for you.
The AHAM seal (usually found on the back of an air cleaner's box) will list three CADR numbers - one for tobacco smoke, one for pollen and one for dust. The CADR indicates volume of filtered air delivered by an air cleaner. The higher the tobacco smoke, pollen and dust numbers, the faster the unit filters the air.
Many of the newer homes today with weather-tight construction and not enough ventilation, have higher levels of unhealthy air than some older, draftier homes. It is easier to notice and describe bad air quality than to describe good air quality.
Follow AHAM's 2/3 Rule:
You'll always want a unit with a tobacco smoke CADR at least 2/3 your room's area. For example, a 10' x 12' room -120 square feet - would require an air cleaner with a tobacco smoke CADR of at least 80. If your room size is smaller, the unit will simply clean the air more often or faster. If you have ceilings higher than 8', you'll want an air cleaner rated for a larger room.
For more in-depth information, the following technical document is available for download:
Understanding the Scope of the Air Cleaner Standard and the Related AHAM Industry Certification Program.
Tips to keep your home Healthy:
Change your vacuum bag at lease once a month and never allow it to become more than half-filled. This will prevent particles from being released into the air.
Avoid dust, mold, and bacteria build-up by wiping down surfaces in bathrooms, bedrooms, and the kitchen with a diluted bleach solution.
Decrease the amount of surface area where dust particles can collect by eliminating as much clutter as possible.
Remind yourself to change your air cleaner filter by marking the date on your calendar. This will help maintain the unit's performance and reduce airborne allergens in your home.
About Air Cleaners
Air cleaners are designed to make living spaces more comfortable. They reduce air pollutants that contribute to the poor indoor air quality, and many filter common allergens like dust and pollen - a great benefit for people suffering from asthma or allergies. If you're considering a room air cleaner keep these characteristics in mind:
They're portable. Many room air cleaners can go with you. If your den and your bedroom are similar sizes, you can move your air cleaner to the room you're in.
They're efficient. Some room air cleaners provide more filtering power than whole home units.
They're versatile. Different air cleaner manufacturers offer different featers, styles and filtering technologies to meet different consumer needs.
Air cleaner filtering technologies
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air, and like the name says, these filters are designed to remove 99.97% of all airborne pollutants 0.3 microns or larger from the air that passes through the filter (these include tobacco smoke, household dust and pollen).
These ultra-HEPA filters are designed to trap 99.999% of all air-borne particles 0.3 microns or smaller from the air that passes through the filter (these include tobacco smoke, household dust and pollen).
Electrostatic units filter the air using static electricity have a static charge on the filter to allow airborne particles to "stick" to the filter, just like static-charged clothing sticks together.
These air cleaners create opposite charges on the metal plates or wires in a "filter" assembly. They attract the dust, pollen, smoke and other particles to the plate or grid wire that contains an opposite charge. The assembly can be washed of the particles and used again.
Ionizers may be combined with other technologies, including different types of filters. Ionization units emit a small charge to the airstream which cause particles to adhere to the filter or other surfaces by a magnetic-like attraction.