Everything You Need To Know About AHAM & Air Purifier Standards
AHAM-certified air purifiers have been tested and rated by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. Why does this matter? AHAM is the gold standard for determining safety and performance. Consumers who know to look for AHAM certification understand that they are purchasing a superior air purification unit that is also energy efficient.
Reducing our environmental footprint is important to us at Oransi, which is why we value and seek out AHAM certification for our air purifiers. Since the biggest impact consumer products have on the environment is related to energy usage, choosing AHAM-certified air purifiers is one way you can help reduce your carbon footprint.
What Is AHAM?
AHAM is the abbreviation for the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers. AHAM is important because it is the organization that conducts Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) testing for air purification units.
To receive an AHAM air purifier rating, air purifier manufacturers must submit their products to AHAM for evaluation. This is a 100 percent voluntary process that has innumerable benefits for both the manufacturer and consumer.
AHAM is recognized by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as an approved administrative body for verification testing for the ENERGY STAR program. That means all products tested and receiving AHAM certification also meet ENERGY STAR standards.
AHAM air purifier standards are among the strictest available for testing the efficacy and efficiency of air purifiers.
Manufacturers of air filtration units do not need to be members of AHAM to qualify for its certification program for air purifiers. The only requirement manufacturers must submit are certified values to an independent testing lab. AHAM publishes all ratings in its directory, which provides clear performance criteria and ratings for consumers on every air purifier.
What Is CADR And Why Does It Matter?
AHAM-verified air purifiers include high-efficiency air filters and Clean Air Delivery Rates (CADR). Why does CADR matter? Without the ability to effectively move clean air through the room, an air purifier will not do a good job of improving your indoor air quality.
That is what CADR measures: the air purifier’s ability to push clean air into an interior space. AHAM-verified air purifiers all include excellent CADR ratings from a certified lab using industry standards.
CADR is a great starting point for evaluating the quality of an air purifier. AHAM ratings for air purifiers are based on cubic feet per minute (cfm) for dust, pollen, and tobacco smoke.
Because dust, pollen, and tobacco smoke particles are different sizes in the air, it’s important to review which CADR will help with your particular air quality concern.
Have a neighbor in your apartment building who’s a smoker? Use that CADR rate for your air purifier comparison. Is your child particularly susceptible to ragweed pollen in the fall? Use the pollen CADR to compare what purifier is best for your space.
CADR Range (Cubic Feet Per Minute)
10 to 400
25 to 450
10 to 450
These three rates provide AHAM with an objective measurement of how well an air purifier removes different particle sizes for these three key indoor air pollutants.
It’s important to note that not all air purifiers have a CADR measurement since the AHAM ratings for air purifiers are strictly voluntary. Some air purifiers are neither tested nor assigned a rating for this reason. It may not mean the air purifiers are inferior to other brands, but it can certainly make it more difficult to compare them. And with so many to choose from, why make things more difficult.
Oransi offers two AHAM-verified air purifiers:
- Oransi – MJR01
- Oransi – MD01
And all of our customers in the US enjoy free shipping with any order as well as our 10 year, no hassle warranty and friendly, US-based customer service.
Regardless of which air purification model you choose, be sure to choose one that can clean all the air in your room. Grab your measuring tape and determine the square footage of the room to ensure you purchase an air purifier with an adequate CADR rating for the space — that way you won’t be trying to boil the ocean so to speak.
Benefits Of CADR Ratings For Consumers
CADR ratings are an effective way for consumers to objectively compare air purifiers when making a purchasing decision. CADR provides a measurement specific to the size of particles an air purifier can filter. Whether you’re interested in eliminating the dangers of dust in your home or trapping nasty pollen and mold spores before they reach your lungs, CADR ratings provide a clear picture of what you can expect from an air purifier.
If pollen is your primary concern due to allergies, choosing an air purifier with a high CADR rating is the best option. Keep in mind that the unit may work well for pollen but may not handle dust or smoke as efficiently. Since AHAM provides CADR ratings for dust, pollen, and tobacco smoke, you can select an air purifier that aligns with your primary pollutant removal goals and see how well it will handle the other two.
Consumers can trust CADR ratings on air purifiers since they are assigned by a neutral third party under regulated conditions using a third-party lab for testing. CADR truly is an unbiased measurement of air purifier performance, which is why AHAM air purifier standards include CADR.
Disadvantages Of CADR Ratings
While CADR ratings are helpful, they do not provide the full picture of an air purifier. One of the biggest limitations of CADR is that the testing does not include gases, odors, or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).
These pollutants are common in homes and can negatively impact your health and well-being. These kinds of non-particulate contaminants respond well to carbon filters. Most air purifiers with CADR ratings use a combination of HEPA filtration and carbon filtration. This means they are effective against particulate and non-particulate contaminants in your home.
Air Purifier Standards: Ionic Air Purifiers Vs. HEPA Air Purifiers
Both ionic air purifiers and HEPA air purifiers are designed with air quality improvement in mind. But just because they are intended for the same purpose does not mean their performance is the same.
Ionic air purifiers and HEPA air purifiers work differently. There are two kinds of ionic air purifiers: electrostatic precipitators and air ionizers. Both options are filterless, which can be appealing to consumers because they can save on the cost of filter replacements. However, that advantage comes at a cost — ionic air purifiers are not as effective at trapping particulates as HEPA air purifiers. In fact, they can sometimes do more harm than good. Here’s why:
Electrostatic precipitators have negative- and positive-charged plates inside. Particulate matter is drawn by the magnetic charge and trapped on the plates. Instead of replacing the plates as you would with a filter, you must clean them to remove the contaminants once they are full. Even with freshly cleaned plates, filterless air purifiers do not trap small particulate matter as well as HEPA filters.
There is another problem with ionic air purifiers. They produce ozone, which is an indoor air pollutant. If you have asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or any other medical condition affecting your lungs, ozone can make your symptoms worse.
Ionic air purifiers rose to popularity in the 1990s but did not receive favorable reviews from consumers for these and other reasons. That is when the switchover to HEPA air purifiers began, making HEPA the most trusted type of air purifier in homes.
HEPA filtration technology was developed by the U.S. military during World War II to help protect soldiers from gas attacks. HEPA filters are highly effective at removing most airborne contaminants and particulate matter.
Truly, there’s no contest between ionic air purifiers and HEPA air purifiers. Hands down, HEPA air purifiers win in every rating category that matters.
HEPA Filters And AHAM Air Purifier Standards
Air purifiers with HEPA filters not only clean your air more thoroughly but also meet AHAM air purifier standards. There is a reason HEPA filters are used on airplanes. Bacteria and tiny airborne particles do not stand a chance against a HEPA filter. Even Tesla uses a HEPA filtration system it has affectionately coined the Bioweapon Defense Mode to reduce the impact of air pollution on public health.
HEPA is the acronym for High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing. This is an accurate description of what a HEPA filter does. It removes 99.97 percent or more of airborne particulate matter that is 0.3 microns or larger. Filters are measured at 0.3 microns because original testing equipment revealed this as the point most difficult for filters to capture and contain airborne particulate matter.
A micron is short for a micrometer. One micron equals one-millionth of a meter. A micron is too small for the human eye to detect, but not too small for a HEPA filter to capture. To be considered a real HEPA filter, it must meet the standard for trapping 0.3 microns or larger.
HEPA filters are made from one of two materials:
- Fiberglass (also known as glass fiber) has the highest filter efficiencies and the highest air flow resistance. This means it achieves the highest performance levels possible for a HEPA filter.
- Nonwoven fabric material, often polypropylene, is another material used in HEPA filters.
Be mindful of terminology when evaluating whether an air purifier has a real HEPA filter. Some brands use the phrasing “HEPA-type filter,” which is your first indication it is not a real HEPA filter.
Another way to tell if the air purification system has a real HEPA filter is by looking for a MERV rating. We talk about MERV ratings and what they mean in the next section.
What Are MERV Ratings And How Do They Relate To AHAM?
How do you know if you are using an air purifier with a real HEPA filter? MERV ratings are an excellent guide. MERV ratings have one job: they show the efficiency of an air filter. Choosing an air purifier with a high MERV rating ensures you have selected one that uses a real HEPA filtration system that can remove the highest percentage of airborne particles.
Many air purifiers use foam pre-filters, which range between a MERV 1 and MERV 4 rating. These are among the lowest-performing filters. We recommend an air purification system with a MERV 6 to MERV 8 rated pre-filter. This ensures you strike a balance between filtering capabilities and airflow resistance.
All Oransi air purifiers are rated between MERV 16 and MERV 18. This means they are guaranteed to remove between 95 and99.99 percent of typical particulate matter like fine dust, mold, and pollen.
How Does AHAM Relate To Air Purifier Standards?
AHAM’s independent testers follow the two-thirds rule when measuring CADR. What this means is AHAM expects an air purifier’s CADR to be equal to at least two-thirds of a room’s size.
For instance, if the room in which you intend to use an air purifier has dimensions of 10 x 12 feet — an area equal to 120 square feet — it makes sense to choose an air purifier with a minimum CADR of 80 for smoke filtration.
There is nothing stating you cannot choose an air purifier with a CADR rating that is higher than recommended for the room size. Doing so simply means the air purification unit will clean the air faster and with greater frequency.
A note of caution for rooms with ceilings higher than 8 feet: choose an air purifier rated for a larger room size. Higher ceilings affect airflow, so you will need to account for more than room square footage when choosing an adequately sized air purification unit.
AHAM Air Purifier Ratings Help Consumers
AHAM ratings for air purifiers are a great tool for consumers. AHAM-certified air purifiers have gone through rigorous scientific testing in an independent lab before receiving the coveted designation as an AHAM-verified air purifier.You can rest assured the air purifier you have chosen for your home efficiently removes the three common types of air pollutants – dust, pollen, smoke – that AHAM tests for and bases its CADR ratings on. All AHAM-certified air purifiers include a sticker on the back of the air purifier denoting its AHAM seal of approval.