How to repurpose common appliances into air purifiers
When you think of air purifiers, sometimes placement takes a role in the decision-making process. Where do you place it? What if you could repurpose an existing appliance in your home and turn it into an air purifier, for double duty?
Purifan has been in business since 1998, and the purifier industry has obviously exploded since then because of the coronavirus pandemic. This company has found a way to convert your ubiquitous, ordinary ceiling fans into air purifiers. There are many different kits available, but the basic installation involves removing the paddle blades from the ceiling fan, bolting on the Purifan’s brackets, and then attaching the Purifan. The Purifan cleans and circulates more than 2,000 cubic feet of air per minute, which means it cleans the air in a 20′ x 20′ x 8′ room every 90 seconds.
If you don’t go with a Purifan, you can still use your ceiling fan to filter the air. BioStrike is the maker of these ceiling fan filters, which remove a surprising amount of dust from the air!
Kitchen Exhaust Fan
This one only works if your over-the stove exhaust is operating in recirculation mode, not venting mode. Microwave/vent hoods have the option to recirculate inside or vent outside. In order to know what yours is doing, turn on your kitchen exhaust fan and place your hand above the door to feel if it is blowing air back into the room. Although recirculating inside is not an ideal setup (because gasses from cooking/baking are being filtered and thrown back into the room instead of vented outside), you can make your exhaust fan do double duty and use it not only as cooking exhaust, but when you are not cooking, use it as an air purifier. Charcoal replacement filters are available for many vent fans; here is how to replace them:
- Check to see if your vent hood exhausts back into the room. If not, don’t proceed with these steps as you will be only purifying air to send it outside!
- Remove the filter at the inlet to the exhaust vent hood (on the underside).
- Measure and order new filters with charcoal in them. Amazon has many of them, and you can search with your vent’s make and model number.
- Clean the filter thoroughly (here’s a video that gives 3 non-toxic ways to do it)
- While the cleaning agent is working on the filter, clean the surrounding intake area of the exhaust fan.
- Replace the filter until your new charcoal ones arrive.
To make the vent act as an air purifier, run the exhaust fan several hours a day while you are not cooking in order to purify air in your kitchen.
Make a reminder on your calendar to change this filter at the recommended interval (or more often if you don’t cook a lot)! Most charcoal filters are not reusable. If you want to upgrade and change the configuration of your venting to outside, check out our post here.
Although using the vents as air purifiers requires the air handler fan to be set to always “ON”, this is a good move because it improves air circulation in the home, reducing stagnant air and the relative humidity of soft furniture (aka mold “food”). Adding filter media to the registers can be very simple:
- Purchase bulk filter media, remove the vent cover, cut the media to fit, and reinstall the vent cover with media in it.
- Cool new diffuser covers with filters are also available.
- If you are concerned with odors that seem to permeate the house, you can purchase bulk carbon filter media to use in the vents.
We all seem to be juggling several jobs at once, so why shouldn’t your home appliances do the same?
Photo by Maxwell Ingham on Unsplash