Many municipalities and real estate owners are having to find solutions to indoor air problems these days. They are having to decide between repairing the premises, the temporary relocation of operations and air purification. A temporary solution utilising effective air purifiers is fast and cost-efficient, but do you know which solution would be optimal for your premises?
An expert supplier provides you with the right service for all premises and needs
Before starting the process of acquiring an air purifier, you should set the objectives for the acquisition: do you need a comprehensive service to solve an indoor air problem or would you like to own the air purifiers yourself? Acquiring air purifiers as a service is increasingly popular as this is a risk- and hassle-free option. If your area of responsibility is procurement and not the premises that air purification is needed for, find out the premise for the procurement from the person in charge of the premises; do you need air purifiers that meet certain criteria or a solution to a specific indoor air problem? Do you need expert service and a partner for problem solving in addition to air purifiers?
Things to note when comparing air purifiers
There is no question about the most important function of an air purifier, which is to clean the air. But how the air purifier does its job also matters. Not all air purifiers are the same, and it is important that their comparison focuses on matters that are relevant to achieving the desired results and the impurities that need to be removed from indoor air.
An air purifier can simply collect impurities from indoor air or also eliminate airborne microbes, such as viruses and bacteria. The air purifier's ability to also remove fine particles from air is crucial as there is evidence that shows that fine particles are the most significant reason for indoor air problems. If an air purifier only collects impurities, there is a risk that organic microbes can be released back into the air – in the worst case, the air purifier can provide a breeding ground for hazardous microbes. The better an air purifier's cleaning performance, the fewer devices are needed to clean the air.
The device’s ability to eliminate fine particles
Ultrafine particles that are smaller than 0.1 micrometres can enter the blood stream through the lungs and end up in organs. This is why it is important to focus the size of the fine particles the device is able to remove from indoor air rather than on how many per cent of particles the device eliminates. The purification performance of 99.98% does not provide any information on the size of the particles that are filtered from indoor air.
In addition to filtering fine particles, another challenge to clean indoor air is posed by volatile organic compounds (VOC). These gaseous compounds are removed from indoor air with an activated carbon filter that can be found in almost all air purifiers. An air purifier's ability to remove gases from air does not depend only on the quantity of activated carbon. The structure of activated carbon and its surface area are also important.
Device noise level
The noise caused by an air purifier is a significant factor especially on premises where people need to be able to concentrate on their work, such as class rooms and offices. When the procurement of air purifiers is being planned, the distance from the air purifier (for example, 3m) should be considered. The buyer of the air purifier should check the distance at which the quoted noise level has been measured.
Suitable models for the premises
There are floor areas within buildings where it is difficult, if not impossible, to place an air purifier. These include emergency exits and staircases. It is especially important to observe the instructions of fire authorities near emergency exits. Make sure that the supplier can provide, for example, a wall-mounted air purifier model that leaves the floor near emergency exits clear.
It is always a good idea to ask the supplier of air purifiers for a certificate on the device's technical properties, issued by an independent testing institute (such as VTT Technical Research Centre of Finland, a university or another expert).
Service or purchase?
Clean indoor air acquired as a service is a cost-efficient, flexible and easy alternative and especially well-suited for short-term needs and when it is unclear how long the devices will be needed for. Flexibility is important when it is not known what the exact schedule of a building’s repairs is, how well the repairs will succeed and when any new facilities will be completed.
Does the supplier guarantee the agreed results?
Clean indoor air can also be purchased with a guarantee. When you buy clean indoor air as a service, you can be certain that the newest and most effective air purifiers will be available for you. There are suppliers on the market whose clean air service comes with guarantee.
In the long term, it may be more economical to buy a device if you know it will be needed for a long time to come. It should be ensured that your own organisation has adequate resources to move the air purifiers, order maintenance and use the device correctly. A purchased device also needs maintenance, so find out whether the supplier can provide a maintenance agreement and how this affects the total cost of the purchase.
Note at least the following when acquiring air purifiers:
- What are the objectives and schedule for the acquisition?
- Could the schedule change in the future?
- Do we want an air purifier of a certain type or a solution for a problem? Do we want a guarantee for the end result?
- Is our organisation able to solve the problem or would a service with a guarantee be more economical when everything is taken into consideration?
- For the best result, demand that the air purifier cleans the air and eliminates impurities
- The device should also remove volatile organic compounds (VOC) from the air
- Acceptable noise level
- A study carried out by a third party, as well as all the related test results, should be requested for all the technical properties of the device