If the latest WHO report is believed Delhi might no longer be the world’s most polluted city in terms of air quality. But it is still a grim picture if you look at the daily numbers for PM 2.5 and PM 10 particles. Delhi continues to cross the annual 10 and 20 micrograms per cubic metre mark (WHO guidelines) in both PM 2.5 and PM 10 pollutant matter on a daily basis.
The only people benefiting from all this seems to be companies selling air purifiers, cashing in on the near paranoia among some Delhi residents. My husband is one such person, and we now have a Philips Air Purifier in our home, which is judiciously used every night.
The air purifier market will only grow in a place like India, given that we don’t seem to have any long-term policies to deal with pollution.
Kent is among those who have launched air purifiers in India. The company claims its new Hepa Air Purifier range will remove PM 2.5 and PM 10 particles thanks to filters that have “the efficiency to catch and trap indoor carcinogens particles like PM 2.5 particulates (removes up-to 99.99 %), Pollen, Allergens, Surface adhering Mold, Fine Dust and clinging odors like Cigarette smoke, foul smells or pet odour.”
So can an air purifiers really improve the air quality in your home? Here’s what I thought after using Kent Aura Air Purifier.
Features: Effective Room Area : Up-to 270 sq. feet |Noise (DB) <= 60 dB (A) | CADR (CLEAN AIR DELIVERY RATE): 180 m3/h | Power Consumption: 45 W | Dimensions 350 L X 180 W X 482 H | Child Lock | Separate indicator for Air Quality
Price: Rs 16,000
So how does it work?
The Kent Aura Air Purifier uses HEPA filter technology to clean up the air in your home. Kent insists their HEPA filter can get rid of PM 2.5 particle, which are seen as the most dangerous pollutants.
The Air Purifier also has an ioniser built-in to remove particles from the air, along with allergens, dust. You can choose to switch it on or off by pressing the button. There seems to be some dispute on how effective ionisers really are in cleaning the air. However the HEPA filter by itself is good enough for those who are particularly sensitive to dust, pollen, etc.
This Air Purifier is around 1.5 feet in height, 7-inches wide and can be placed easily around the house. Although if you have a bedside table, you might have trouble creating some space for this. Also note that this one doesn’t come with a remote.
Kent’s Aura Air Purifier also gave us an additional indicator device which tells the PM 2.5 level in your room. This device (roughly the size of an alarm clock) can be placed anywhere in your room; however this device was only given with the review unit, and is not part of the final sale kit.
In my house on some mornings, the PM 2.5 levels were listed at north of 400 in this device and that’s scary; by the evening this number was down to 200s (no air purifier used). The fluctuating levels notwithstanding, this number doesn’t look good. Also according to the indicator, the 70’s range for PM 2.5 is still in the green zone. If you want to re-evaluate your entire life-decision of why Delhi, the Air Quality indicator could be a big help.
Kent’s Aura Air Purifier is not too noisy. Given that my husband placed the earlier air purifier right next to my side of the bed, I’ve grown to hate the sound and blue light emitting from these things. This one has quite a few lights emitting from it, although you can choose the fan level. In the auto-mode, it keeps the noise to minimum, which I like. There’s also a child-lock mode button in case you are worried about children tinkering with it.
You can also set it for an 8 hour period before going to sleep at night, and the Purifier will switch off after that time.
The Air Quality indicator showed the Kent Air Purifier took around half an hour to bring the PM2.5 level down from 400 to 200 in a closed room. If the levels were lower, like say in the say range of 100-170, the air purifier worked faster, and levels would be at 20 in under 90 minutes.
So does having an Air Purifier really help?
As someone with three asthma patients in the family (father, brother, and now my three-year-old niece all living in Lucknow), I realise that clean air really matters. A severe asthma attack is never a pretty sight, and there are a variety of factors that can offset it; too much dust at home, the onset of spring, winter.
HEPA filters to some extent can get rid of allergens, pollens, dust, and might be a good idea to get Kent’s Aura Air Purifier if you or someone in your family has asthma. Air Purifiers can give temporary relief to those who do need that clean air.
But where PM 2.5 particles go, the picture is not entirely clear. Personally I don’t see an air purifier as a panacea for our air quality problems, given that we can’t spend our lives inside a closed room.
Nevertheless, with Indian cities being where they are, devices like the Kent Air Purifier can help improve the air quality, at least in your bedroom.