So you think you need an air filter: Why testing is critical

Current China residents and China-bound households alike are becoming more aware that the air outside is polluted. A simple search on China and air pollution brings up hundreds of articles, many of them focusing on PM2.5 and efforts to monitor particulate levels in China’s major cities.

A natural reaction is to start looking for air filters: the air is bad, so let’s filter it! This well-intentioned approached can be fraught with error, ranging from plans to import air filters from countries where the electrical current is different, to looking for more affordable air filters without taking into account what the machines actually filter and how they perform (and hence why some may be more expensive).

Why should you test?

1) Indoor air quality is influenced construction materials, furniture, building occupant activities, and previous repairs made to a home or office — not just by particulate matter from outside.   Chemical emissions or volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are the most frequent problem we find and reducing them depends on selecting the right kind of filter.  A solution appropriate for your colleagues or friends home or office is not necessarily the right one for yours.

2) Outdoor air quality reports won’t tell you if your indoor office or home environment has airborne lead, VOCs, mold, or radon. As a result, you won’t know if your home in China is affected by these additional indoor air pollutants.  The US EPA found that levels of some pollutants can be 20-100x higher indoors than out.

3) Testing narrows down the most appropriate type of air filters for each space in your home. Avoid buying more air filter capability than you need (overpaying) or thinking you got a good deal on air filters when they may not actually address all the pollutants in a given space.

Air filters are a big investment, and one that many are understandably nervous to undertake. Testing is a critical step in the process to tailor solutions appropriate to your specific home or office to help you create the healthiest indoor environment possible.

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