Current PM2.5 in Beijing and China

Beijing is well known for its history, culture, and food, but it is also infamous for its dirty, polluted air.   While you can make many lifestyle choices to change your environment for the health of yourself and your  family, you can not change the air in our city.  You can, however, greatly reduce the risk to yourself and your family.  Consider the many hours  you are in your home (including when you are sleeping), having an effective HEPA air purifier can dramatically improve the indoor air quality of your home.The air we breathe has a dramatic effect on both our short and long term health. Many ex-pats complain about scratchy throats, teary eyes, and a general malaise that compounds the typical jetlag travelers feel when arriving in a foreign country. There are several things you can do to reduce your exposure to the perils of unhealthy air inside and outside of your home.

  • Common Sense can go a long way

An excellent way to mitigate the problem is to avoid the danger.  Just as you would not go for a vigorous run on a very hot day to avoid heat stroke, you likewise would want to limit your outdoor activities when pollution levels are highly elevated. bjair.info is one of many websites that report the Air Quality Index as determined by the weather station at the US Embassy in Liangmaqiao based on the PM 2.5 Air Quality Index. Closing your windows and staying indoors can reduce the PM 2.5 level by more than 50%, even without using any kind of air filtration system. Of course, while a 50% reduction of air that regularly exceeds ten times international clean air standards is not ideal, it’s a start.  When you go outside, you will want to wear a quality air mask (technically known as a respirator) rated to stop a bare minimum of 90% (N90, R90, or P90) of airborne 0.3 micron particles (95% or better is highly recommended). For more information on the different masks, please look under (PLEASE MAKE THIS A LINK ->) “What kind of mask should I use?” under the “Masks –  do they really help?” tab.

  • What are HEPA Air Purifiers?

For indoor air quality, HEPA air filtration is the best and safest (it’s ozone-free) technology around. The HEPA standard was developed by US government researchers over 50 years ago to remove radioactive and other dangerous particles from the air.  Its underlying principal is actually quite simple; harmful impurities are trapped in the tiny spaces between the filter media, removing them from the air stream. In technical terms,  they are “trapped” through “interception,” “impaction,” and “diffusion” within the HEPA media. HEPA filters alone doesn’t remove many gases and smells associated with VOCs.  While most people’s prime concern is removing particulate matter from the air, that is just one part of what “clean air” means. Often HEPA air purifiers incorporate activated carbon filter, which not only absorbs noxious smells, but draws in VOCs and other dangerous matter as well, effectively reduce your exposure to the pollution in the air.  For a filter to meet the HEPA standard, it must remove at least 99.97% of impurities from the air as small as 0.3 microns. This includes dust mites, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, bacteria and many other pollutants. All of these are commonly found in your home now, so a HEPA filter will not only protect you from Beijing’s notoriously bad air, it will also filter out potential allergens that could sicken you or a family member with a respiratory condition.

  • HEPA Air Purifiers and “95″ Rated Masks: Relied on Internationally, Essential for Beijing

Beijingers and other city dwellers aren’t the only ones to make HEPA filters as part of their daily routines. Many western hospitals and clinics trust HEPA air purifiers for both routine health concerns and critical centers, such as burn care units and surgical areas. While humans don’t release high levels of particles or gaseous vapors, people can spread germs and virus that medical grade HEPA filters can absorb and eliminate.  Outside of healthcare, extra emphasis is placed on HEPA filters’ ability to protect against man-made pollution, in addition to pathogens. A HEPA air purifier is great protection, at a fraction of the cost of medical grade air filtration systems, against the potential health effects of long term exposure to unhealthy air.

  • Why breathe filtered air – how HEPA Filters help

Beijing has more than its fair share of dust, which HEPA filters and masks are able to greatly reduce. Not only will you feel better, but you will also notice less dust around your home in the coverage area of your air purifier. While dust is not particularly toxic itself, it is an irritant to your lungs. A quality mask can alleviate health issues from dust and pollen, in addition to the far more harmful particles that are suspended in the air around us. You will find the need to dust and sweep the floor lessen, as your home will look and be cleaner with the use of HEPA air purifiers. While this is an excellent benefit, your HEPA filter’s and mask’s prime virtue is the significant reduction of inhalable particulate matter. A tidier home is just a nice byproduct of air filtration. HEPAChina™’s line of HEPA air purifiers and masks offer you protection inside and outside of your home. We are proud to offer the best from Tracs™, IQAir®, and Austin Air™ – all leaders in the field, with the best prices in town, with service that is second to none.

  • Don’t buy a fake HEPA Air Purifier

When you go to most appliance stores and online retailers, you will see many machines promoted as either “HEPA” or with promises to help reduce PM.2.5. You can easily be overwhelmed, and be tempted to buy the expensive machine, from a well known company, that is being offered at a discounted sale price. It’s really important that you think about why you are buying a machine and your particular situation, so you can look beyond this simplistic approach. With air pollution being a fact of life in most parts of China, various manufacturers (Chinese, as well as quite a few well-respected international brands) have rushed into the marketplace offering a myriad of air purifiers to choose from. While some of these machines are well designed, they just simply are not effective for dealing with the high levels of pollution we see in Beijing, as they were primarily designed for allergy sufferers and other respiratory conditions that occur outside of polluted urban areas. In too many instances, many of the offerings are just poorly designed and cheaply manufactured machines at a bargain basement price.  Quite a few famous international brands license their names to Chinese and other Asian manufacturers to produce air purifier products to be sold in China and  developing nations that are inferior to what they offer in their home market. It’s surprising that companies with well known reputations would do this, but this trend  has been going on for a number of years, with no signs of slowing down.  Their marketing material is sprinkled with buzzwords that don’t accurately reflect the (or lack of) functionality of the air purifier. While a HEPA filter is essential for an effective air filtration system, a colorful graphic, touting a qualified used of the terms “HEPA” and “PM2.5″ doesn’t mean the machine will deliver what the slick marketing is implying.

  • The truth about HEPA and everything else

For a filter to be HEPA, it needs to use HEPA media and filter air to the international HEPA standard, which was established over 50 years ago.  Many times, clever marketing, economical modes (and sometimes quite cheaply made models) incorporate some of the aspects of HEPA, but don’t deliver on all aspects.  Often, far too little HEPA media (or sub-HEPA media) is used, or the filter frame is so poorly constructed that large volumes of air bypass the HEPA media, greatly reducing the reduction of PM2.5 particles. Working closely with their legal departments, they promote their products using terms that just doesn’t mean you are truly getting a HEPA filter. Be careful of qualifications such as “HEPA Grade,” “HEPAFast,” “HEPA Efficiency,” “HEPA Type,” “HEPA Style”, “HEPA Style,” “HEPA functions,” “99% HEPA,” “HEPA Action,” or any other qualifications that allow the manufactures to claim to produce a true HEPA filter, using cheaper materials (filter media as well as cardboard frames) or production quality. These terms are designed to confuse, lulling customers into thinking all the machines are the same, when that could not be any further from the truth. Fluffy is fine for pillows and blankets, but not for something as important as your family’s health. To be a real HEPA filter, it has to be able to remove 99.97% of particulate matter at 0.3 microns throughout its lifecycle. While 80-99% is pretty good, its not 99.97% (and very often the percentage claims don’t say at how many microns either), meaning they can fall well short of the HEPA standard at removing the smallest and most dangerous particles. Be particularly aware of claims that a filter meets “HEPA Efficiency”. Many filters that make this claim do so based on how well the filters work when they are brand new, based on a popular industry test that challenges filters for a mere 20 minutes. Often these so called “HEPA Efficiency” filters drop to less than 50% efficiency within a month of typical usage. An unqualified HEPA filter with real HEPA media will be at least 99.97% @ 0.3 µm on the day you install it, as well as years from now on the day you replace it with a fresh HEPA filter.

  • How HEPA Works and its Technology

Real HEPA air purifiers use HEPA filters, no ifs, ands, or buts. HEPA filters are comprised of tiny micro glass fibers numbering in the hundreds of thousands that trap tiny particulate matter (that’s where the “PM” in PM2.5 comes from) that are in the air you breathe. While it’s possible to use a less expensive filter media like F8 or MERV 12 and get HEPA results for a short time using ionized fibers, they will saturate very quickly and produce sub-HEPA results within a few weeks (or even days). The problem is that ionized sub-HEPA media will start to “download” particles quickly after they are installed. Many manufactures promote their filters results based on a test lasting just 20 minutes, giving little insight on how well (or poorly) they will preform in your home over weeks or months of typical usage in Beijing. To be HEPA, a filter must capture at least 99.97% of particulate matter starting as small as 0.3 microns, which is almost 80x more ridged than the popular PM2.5 standard commonly referred to in air quality reports.These small fibers layered on folded pleated sheets randomly arranged to catch and stop pollutants in the air from being circulated out of the air filter. Given the serious risk all the impurities in the air caused by all the cars clogging the ring roads and coal fired factories surrounding us, why would you want anything less than HEPA?

  • Striking out particles

Authentic HEPA filters have three methods to stop particles from getting back into the air. First is diffusion: small and large particles collide, slowing them down for a one-way ride into the HEPA media. Next, impaction: particulate matter can run but they can’t hide from the HEPA’s filters fibers for long before being stopped dead in their tracks. Lastly, interception is when airborne particles become stuck to the fiberglass fibers dropping out of the airflow. Between these three methods, you will be safe at home. The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes as the most effective filtration methods. According to the CDC, electrostatic (ionized) filters “play a very minor role” in filtration and “lose collection efficiency over time.” HEPA filters “collection efficiency…typical increase.”

  • Why you need Real HEPA

HEPA air purifier impostors try to lure people into buying a cheaper filter as a better bargain. With their lower price, you will get a filter that is far less dense, making it significantly less effective at stopping the smaller (and most hazardous) particles. Often you will find your cheap filter is part of a cheaply designed and assembled machine, that will allow unfiltered air to seep back into circulation. Like a water bucket with a hole, air will seek the path of least resistance and with pollution not effectively filtered. In a few cases, a filter is marginally able to achieve  HEPA performance when new, but has far too little media to effectively maintain HEPA filtration for more than a few days (or hours!). In a place like Beijing, you want a robust HEPA filter with lots of surface area to be able to remove large quantities of particulate matter before being saturated. A cheap filter that needs daily or weekly replacement is no bargain at all.

  • Protect your family with a great purifier from HEPAChina™

At HEPAChina™, we know the importance of selling only high quality HEPA air purifiers. While selling cheaper brands would offer a greater profit margin, they are ineffective. We don’t sell anything that we would not use in our own homes and offices. With the best models from the most respected foreign manufacturers, our Tracs™, IQAir® and Austin Air™ models use innovative HEPA technology that has been refined over decades. By getting your HEPA air purifier from HEPAChina™, you are getting an effective machine that can help protect you from the worst of Beijing’s infamous air. We  offer extremely competitive prices. Additionally, we offer unique services to our customers, such as white glove delivery and set up, IAQ home testing, and rent before you buy. Our professional, factory trained and knowledgeable staff will help you select the model that best meets your needs.

A well fitting, high quality mask can reduce your exposure to outdoor pollution, but you want to be sure to get the right kind of mask to address your concerns and lifestyle.

  • What kind of mask should I use?

A simple question with a less than simple answer. The purpose of a mask, known as a disposable respirator in the industry, is to filter out unwanted pollutants in the air that you breathe. Before you go and buy the “best” mask to protect yourself from 100% of all hazardous particles and gases, there are some practical considerations that should be kept in mind. While you might be tempted to buy the highest particle filtering efficiency mask on the market, masks rated beyond 95% can be quite bulky to wear and uncomfortable, especially in hot weather. 99% and 100% HEPA rated masks can also be quite alarming to others and unfashionable, looking more like what you’d expect to see at nuclear power plants than along a hutong or shopping center. An unworn mask is 100% ineffective at protecting you, so if the mask is too big, uncomfortable, expensive, or just too scary looking for you to use on a regular basis, it’s the wrong mask for you. Respirators that you see worn by firefighters or chemical weapons inspectors are very effective, but few people would consider wearing them on a daily basis. Aside from their cost, they are impracticable; the average person would find it difficult to maintain their cartridge filter and other serviceable items.  While you could argue that these are the “best” protection you can get, we will put these aside for the purposes of our discussion. The most common masks, by a wide margin, worn in China for pollution control is a disposable mask. They are not single use, despite being called “disposable,” rather, they don’t have any serviceable parts. Some of the better “disposable” masks can be worn effectively for up to a month.

For more protection against oil vapors in the air (often present when you walk near the many small workshops or congested ring roads) a R or P rated mask is highly recommended. A quality P95 mask that filters not only particles and VOCs (these aren’t only unpleasant odors, but are unhealthy as well) can cost 50 RMB or more.  You will want to consider the cost so you won’t be tempted to use the same mask beyond its usefulness, once it becomes worn out or saturated from use. R95 masks, which offer good protection against particles and some oily vapors and other VOCs, cost about 25 RMB or more, but will become soiled quicker and need to be replaced sooner. “N” masks, the most common, are typically the least expensive (with a quality mask for about 10 to 15 RMB) and are offered in a broad range of sizes and styles. However these masks only filter out particulate mater, which is most people’s prime concern, but does little, if anything, about VOCs. This does not mean that you should only consider “P” masks. A well-fitted and comfortable “R” or “N” mask is more effective than an ill-fitting “P” mask.

  • You don’t have to look like a space allen to be protected

We are not aware of any disposable masks made by any major manufacturers designed for the general population to reduce their exposures to pollution, but mask designed for various industrial use can provide protection.  Understanding what the various industrial masks are designed to protect against is critical. While we have selected the masks we sell based on our research and understanding, it’s a good idea to know how each type of mask is designed to work so you can make the best use out of them. For most people, a disposable mask is the only kind they will consider; however there are some boutique manufacturers that  offer respirators that are promoted to help with pollution, these might be useful and worth considering.

The most widely used classification system was developed by the US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, or NIOSH.  Another widely accepted classification system was developed by the European Committee for Standardization, known as CEN, after its original French origin. They define their standards as EN 143 and EN 149. While the CEN and NIOSH are based on different approaches in order to categorize masks, they are both internationally respected. They are both effective in being able to identify a mask’s attributes and level of efficiency in filtering out airborne particulate matter (PM). While it’s certainly possible for a mask that is not classified using the American or European standard to be effective, a very healthy amount of skepticism is advised. Unfortunately, some purveyors take advantage of people’s fears about pollution with outrageous claims with no scientific evidence or independent validation. The well know PM2.5 Air Pollution Index (API) has inspired many companies to promote their wares as a “PM2.5″ mask, with the well known PM2.5 term plastered all over its packaging. One company in China has even trademarked their brand as “PM2.5.”  While this may make for great marketing for them, we are unconvinced that their products are particularly beneficial to anyone.  Many of these cheaply made masks are foldable or resemble (or actually are) surgical masks.  While they may help prevent the spread of germs to others, they don’t effectively filter out pollution. This is not to say that a flat mask can’t help, but a mask with a “cup” or other shape to cover over one’s month and/or nose tend to be of much better utility. Research has indicated that “flat” pleated masks tend to be donned incorrectly, allowing for much higher leakage than a properly worn “cup” mask. Like with an air purifier, the filter media is all but useless if air can bypass it and be inhaled unfiltered. With the issue of leakage aside, if it’s not designed to remove particles and unwanted gasses, it won’t help with pollution.

  • So what do all those numbers and letters mean?

The American standard classifies masks into three general categories, represented by the letters N, R, and P. The number following, for example “95,” represents the percentage of the HEPA standard it meets. Think of N as “No Protection” from oily vapors, R as “Resistant” to oily vapors, and P as “Protected” from oily vapors.   All three categories do provide effective filtration from particulate matter (PM), which is most people’s main concern. The HEPA standard is based on eliminating PM 0.3, which is almost two order of magnitude smaller than the often seen PM 2.5 levels reported by the US Embassy and the Chinese Ministry of Environmental Protection (MEP) for pollution levels in Beijing and elsewhere in China. Below we will go into detail about the pros and cons of each of the major categories.

  • N rated masks

N rated masks are by far the most popular. They are often the least expensive and least bulky. This is not to say that they can not be very effective at reducing pollution. A N100 mask filters out particle pollutants to a undetectable level using a USD $ 5000 laser particle counter. It would be extremely rare to find air this clean in even the most pristine and isolated natural environments. What N masks don’t do is screen out oily vaporized gases, which is where volatile  organic compounds (VOCs) can be found.  As they don’t offer any resistance to oily vapors, they are  generally less durable, need more frequent replacement, and are rendered unsuitable for continued use if exposed to aerosol vapors.  Because N masks are the most popular, it’s easier to find them in different shapes and sizes, including smaller sizes that fit children’s faces. Their lack of bulk make them more comfortable to ware relative to other classes, and can be replaced often at a lower expense.

  • R rated masks

R rated masks have basic level of resistance to oily vapors, in addition to all the particle filtration of a similarly rated N mask. Activated carbon is normally sandwiched between layers of the filter media to absorb oily vapors and/or neutralize them. This allows them to provide protection from VOCs, as well as to reduce the amount of noxious odors you you will inhale through your nose. Beyond this, they will also reduce orderless, yet harmful, gases to further protect your health.  As they are more complicated in design, they are more costly to manufacture, leading to a higher cost. As there are fewer industries that require these types of masks, there are fewer choices. For example, 3M™, a major mask manufacturer, does not offer a R rated mask in a small size. R masks tend to look fairly similar to their N rated counterparts, making them less obtrusive than P rated masks.

  • P rated masks

P rated masks provide the broadest level of protection against VOCs, as they are considered to be oil resistant. This makes them very durable, allowing them to be used for an extended period of time before being replaced. If undamaged, 3M™ makes P rated masks that can be used for up to one month. The flip side of this is that they are bulkier and more expensive. However the daily cost per use could be lower, as they last longer than other types of masks. Often, they include premium features such as a one way valve to allow hot, moist, exhaled air to be breathed out, saving the user from discomfort or from fogging up their eyeglasses. Because very few industries require this level of protection in a disposable mask, there are fewer options on the marketplace; so it might be difficult to find a suitable P rated mask if you need something other than “standard.”

  • What is the best mask for me?

Before you jump and choose a P rated mask, you need to consider other important factors such as proper fit, lifestyle, and cost. P masks cost the most, so you if you prefer to have a fresh mask on a regular basis, a R or N might be a better choice. In the case of children or others with smaller faces, a well fitting mask that is properly sized is essentially, as a mask that is too big will  do virtually nothing to stop pollution as the gaps allows air to bypass the filter, making them useless. Don’t forget, you are a person, and people can be self-conscious about their appearance. If a mask is relatively bulky and less than comfortable to wear, you might forgo wearing it. An unworn P mask provides no protection, while a N or R rated mask that you use will provide real benefits.

  • How about the numbers following N/R/P?   Isn’t 100 the best?

The number following the letter rating does indeed indicate the minimum percentage of the HEPA standard when correctly fitted and worn. The issue is 100 and 99 rated masks are bulky, making it less comfortable to use, as their thicker filtration media presents a high level of resistance to air, in addition to trapping more hot exhaled air than lower rated masks. If you are willing to be diligent and use a 100 rated mask, all the better, but a 95 rated mask that is worn more often is better protection than a 100 rated mask that is worn infrequently. Not to mention, 99 and 100 rated masks can be quite expensive.  On the other side of the spectrum is 90  rated masks. While filtering out 9 of 10 particulate maters is a good start, consider that the typical user of masks don’t provide an ideal seal to the face, allowing about 20% of bypassed air, rending a 90 rated mask effectively 72% effective. For most people, a 95 rated mask provides the right balance between effectiveness, cost, and comfort.            

  • What is a transformer?

A transformer converts electrical current from your home’s electrical supply (220 Volts in China) to the required electrical current required by your US sourced air purifier, 110 Volts.

  • Why do I need a transformer?

All of our new 110V Austin Air™ and IQAir® purifiers are imported from America, so you can get what we consider to be the best air purifiers that money can buy, for a whole lot less than their nearly identical models sold in stores in Beijing. All our new Tracs™ purifiers are built to work with 220V power, so no transfer is needed. Other than the voltage, their is very little difference between “US” and “Chinese” Austin Air™ and IQAir®, other than the price!

  • Why are 110 Voltage (American) air purifiers so much cheaper?  Is the quality the same?

America is the world largest economy. Many manufactures design and manufacture their products to work with American 110V standard, so they can sell to the huge US consumer marketplace. Often prices for many goods are less expensive in the US than anywhere else in the world. Just think about the price of an iPhone® bought in China vs. America, even though iPhones® are manufactured in the same factories,  ironically, in China. In the case of Austin Air™, they are made in the USA and IQAir® are manufactured in Switzerland. Other than the components that are specifically designed for China’s 220 voltage, everything else is essentially the same. The same high quality HEPA filters, fans, controls, and enclosures are used in the American machines as in their Chinese cousins. These machines are made side by side in the same factories by the same workers.

  • Why does America use 110V and China 220V?

For historical reasons, the US (as well as other counties in the Americas) and Japan use 110V (or a voltage very similar) while most of the world, including China use 220V (or a voltage very similar). America was one of the first counties that was widely electrified, and adopted the 110V standard. Countries that were widely electrified later, or were re-built (such as much of Europe after World War II) adopted the 220 V standard, as its more efficient than the older standard as it requires less wattage to power similar devices. Just as America has stubbornly resisted adopting the Metric system despite its advantages over the older Impearl measuring system, 220V has become the standard example almost everywhere- except in the Americas and Japan.

  • Are the voltage standards exactly 110 and 220 volts?

10-20% differences in voltage generally don’t require a transformer for most appliances. Its common to find many appliances in China that specify 210 or 230 volts rather than 220 volts, as well as American appliances to specify 115 or 120 volts, Their are historical reasons why some appliance manufactures calibrate to slightly above or below the “official” voltage standard in different regions of the world. In most cases, these minor difference are not an issue. That said, the large difference between 110  and 220 volts make it essential that you use a transformer when the local power and the appliance are more than a 10-20% difference.

  • How do transformers work?

To change the power from 220V to 110V, a step down transformer connects to your home power outlet, the 220V power is feed into a winding, normally a coiled metal wire wrapped around a conductive material to generate a magnetic field. This is called the primary winding. Nearby, a similar coiled metal wire is wrapped, but is spaced differently to produce 110V. This is called the secondary winding.  The electricity is then transmitted from the secondary winding to the outlet on the transformer, supplying 110V that you can use to operate your US 110V air purifier.

  • How big a transformer do I need?

You want a transformer that will exceed the maximum continuous wattage of your air purifier on its highest power setting. As we recommend that you use your air purifier on the maximum fan setting on a 24/7 basis, you will want a transformer that is able to provide more than that on a continual basis, ideally at least double or triple so that both your air purifier and transformer will operate trouble free for many years. To save money, some use a smaller transformer, rated at just enough to supply the needed wattage on a sustained basis. While this will work fine for a short time, after a few weeks, the transformer will start to degrade and show the effects of excess heat from operating near its peak power output. In a short time, you will notice that your transformer will develop an annoying hum and possible have its inner mechanisms and outer casing deform due to its inability to handle the heat generated by supplying power to your air purifier on a round the clock basis. Take a look at what an IQAir® air purifier did to a 500 Watt  transformer in just six weeks!  While you can only see the outside casing (its the inside that matters more), a high quality transformer can make an important difference.

. broken transformer smalltransformer

For all the air purifiers we sell, we provide and recommend a 1000 Watt transformer with cooper windings. To ensure smooth 24/7 operation for years at a time, our transformer exceeds the maximum wattage by more than four times of an  IQAir® HealthPro® Plus 250, one of the largest consumer air purifiers on the market.

  • How safe are transformers?

A properly sized and engineered transformer is very safe. Transformers have been around since electricity was first commercially produced, and is used everywhere in the world. Your electric company steps up the voltage of the electricity it produces with transformers, allowing it efficiently travel many kilometers from its generators, and then steps down the voltage in your home so it can be safely used in your home. Of course, like any device, it should be well engineered and manufactured with quality materials, as these are important factors that enhance its safety and functionality.

  • What is the difference between an aluminum and a copper transformer?

Most of the windings inside transformers are either cooper or aluminum.  Up to a few decades ago, you mostly found cooper windings, but when the cost of the copper started to sky rocket, many non-industrial transformers switched to aluminum, primarily to save money. While a properly built aluminum based transformer can provide years of faithful service, often, they are not made to precise specifications leading to excess heat, expansion of its winding, and energy loss.  Copper windings are far more tolerant of minor manufacturing variations from its engineered design, making them a more desirable material for longer life and smoother operation.

  • How do I decide what kind of transformer I should use?

We take the guess work out of it by supplying a 1000 Watt step down transformer with cooper windings in a steel enclosure. While these costs several times more than the cheap, aluminum based, 500 watt transformers others offer, you should insist on having a transformer that is able to provide sufficient wattage on a sustained basis for 24/7 operation of your air purifier, at any fan setting.  Our transformers come with a one year warranty, which is automatically upgraded to match any HEPAChina™ extended warranty you buy for your air purifier.

  • Will my HEPAChina™ air purifier work without using a transformer?

No.  In fact, attempting to do so will cause damage that will require an expensive repair not covered by your warranty. It is important that you let all members of your household (including your Ayi!) know that the transformer must be used with your air purifier. Don’t forget to let any visiting friends or parents know too. The most common non-warranty issue with our air purifiers is when they have been attempted to be used without our transformer. HEPAChina™ provides you with bilingual labels for both your air purifier and transformer to ensure that they are only used together.

  • The truth about HEPA and everything else
  • For a filter to be HEPA, it needs to use HEPA media and filter air to the international HEPA standard, which was established over 50 years ago.  Many times, clever marketing, economical modes (and sometimes quite cheaply made models) incorporate some of the aspects of HEPA, but don’t deliver on all aspects.  Often, far too little HEPA media (or sub-HEPA media) is used, or the filter frame is so poorly constructed that large volumes of air bypass the HEPA media, greatly reducing the reduction of PM2.5 particles. Working closely with their legal departments, they promote their products using terms that just doesn’t mean you are truly getting a HEPA filter. Be careful of qualifications such as “HEPA Grade,” “HEPAFast,” “HEPA Efficiency,” “HEPA Type,” “HEPA Style”, “HEPA Style,” “HEPA functions,” “99% HEPA,” “HEPA Action,” or any other qualifications that allow the manufactures to claim to produce a true HEPA filter, using cheaper materials (filter media as well as cardboard frames) or production quality. These terms are designed to confuse, lulling customers into thinking all the machines are the same, when that could not be any further from the truth. Fluffy is fine for pillows and blankets, but not for something as important as your family’s health. To be a real HEPA filter, it has to be able to remove 99.97% of particulate matter at 0.3 microns throughout its lifecycle. While 80-99% is pretty good, its not 99.97% (and very often the percentage claims don’t say at how many microns either), meaning they can fall well short of the HEPA standard at removing the smallest and most dangerous particles. Be particularly aware of claims that a filter meets “HEPA Efficiency”. Many filters that make this claim do so based on how well the filters work when they are brand new, based on a popular industry test that challenges filters for a mere 20 minutes. Often these so called “HEPA Efficiency” filters drop to less than 50% efficiency within a month of typical usage. An unqualified HEPA filter with real HEPA media will be at least 99.97% @ 0.3 µm on the day you install it, as well as years from now on the day you replace it with a fresh HEPA filter.

    • How HEPA Works and its Technology

    Real HEPA air purifiers use HEPA filters, no ifs, ands, or buts. HEPA filters are comprised of tiny micro glass fibers numbering in the hundreds of thousands that trap tiny particulate matter (that’s where the “PM” in PM2.5 comes from) that are in the air you breathe. While it’s possible to use a less expensive filter media like F8 or MERV 12 and get HEPA results for a short time using ionized fibers, they will saturate very quickly and produce sub-HEPA results within a few weeks (or even days). The problem is that ionized sub-HEPA media will start to “download” particles quickly after they are installed. Many manufactures promote their filters results based on a test lasting just 20 minutes, giving little insight on how well (or poorly) they will preform in your home over weeks or months of typical usage in Beijing. To be HEPA, a filter must capture at least 99.97% of particulate matter starting as small as 0.3 microns, which is almost 80x more ridged than the popular PM2.5 standard commonly referred to in air quality reports.These small fibers layered on folded pleated sheets randomly arranged to catch and stop pollutants in the air from being circulated out of the air filter. Given the serious risk all the impurities in the air caused by all the cars clogging the ring roads and coal fired factories surrounding us, why would you want anything less than HEPA?

    • Striking out particles

    Authentic HEPA filters have three methods to stop particles from getting back into the air. First is diffusion: small and large particles collide, slowing them down for a one-way ride into the HEPA media. Next, impaction: particulate matter can run but they can’t hide from the HEPA’s filters fibers for long before being stopped dead in their tracks. Lastly, interception is when airborne particles become stuck to the fiberglass fibers dropping out of the airflow. Between these three methods, you will be safe at home. The US Center for Disease Control (CDC) recognizes as the most effective filtration methods. According to the CDC, electrostatic (ionized) filters “play a very minor role” in filtration and “lose collection efficiency over time.” HEPA filters “collection efficiency…typical increase.”

    • Why you need Real HEPA

    HEPA air purifier impostors try to lure people into buying a cheaper filter as a better bargain. With their lower price, you will get a filter that is far less dense, making it significantly less effective at stopping the smaller (and most hazardous) particles. Often you will find your cheap filter is part of a cheaply designed and assembled machine, that will allow unfiltered air to seep back into circulation. Like a water bucket with a hole, air will seek the path of least resistance and with pollution not effectively filtered. In a few cases, a filter is marginally able to achieve  HEPA performance when new, but has far too little media to effectively maintain HEPA filtration for more than a few days (or hours!). In a place like Beijing, you want a robust HEPA filter with lots of surface area to be able to remove large quantities of particulate matter before being saturated. A cheap filter that needs daily or weekly replacement is no bargain at all.

    • Protect your family with a great purifier from HEPAChina™

    At HEPAChina™, we know the importance of selling only high quality HEPA air purifiers. While selling cheaper brands would offer a greater profit margin, they are ineffective. We don’t sell anything that we would not use in our own homes and offices. With the best models from the most respected foreign manufacturers, our Tracs™, IQAir® and Austin Air™ models use innovative HEPA technology that has been refined over decades. By getting your HEPA air purifier from HEPAChina™, you are getting an effective machine that can help protect you from the worst of Beijing’s infamous air. We  offer extremely competitive prices. Additionally, we offer unique services to our customers, such as white glove delivery and set up, IAQ home testing, and rent before you buy. Our professional, factory trained and knowledgeable staff will help you select the model that best meets your needs. [/tab_content]

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