28 Apr Basement Air Purifiers That Work
In this post, you’ll learn way more than just what’s the best basement air purifier. You’ll understand various basement problems and how they might impact your quality of life. More important, you’ll get helpful information on how to resolve each of the basement issues described. And, you’ll end up with an air purifier that pumps out gallons of fresh air the entire time.
I don’t like it when hapless consumers get whacked by unscrupulous marketers. That’s why I’ll give a bonus: You’ll get a detailed buying guide. In the guide, you’ll know what aspects to consider while shopping for a suitable air purification machine. You’ll also learn at least 5 air filtration technologies and understand what to stay away from.
I’ll now introduce you to a quick list 5 of the best air purifiers for basement use.
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Top 5 Basement Air Purifier List
Here you go:
1. Medify Air MA-112, CADR 950 (For Extra-large Rooms, Up to 2,400 square feet)
2. Medify MA-40, Purifies 400 Sq. Ft. Every 15 minutes (The Sleekest Option)
3. IQAir HealthPro Plus, New Edition (Best Pick for Particulates)
4. IQAir GC MultiGas, New Edition (Priciest but the BEST Pick for Odors)
5. Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier (IFTTT and Alexa-enabled, the Smartest Selection)
It’s a pretty lengthy post. Luckily, the Table of Contents above should instantly guide you to any section of interest. Simply CLICK on any of the green links, and they’ll quickly transport you to the information you need.
I’ll start with the reviews section. Then, I’ll continue to various basement problems and the solutions to those challenges. Finally, I’ll present the buying guide I promised above.
I encourage you to read the buying guide before you pick any of my recommendations. Also, don’t whip that card out before you’ve understood the problem you’re trying to solve. And be sure to explore all the solutions available so you’re sure you’re making the right decision.
Now, without further ado, let’s jump in.
1. Medify MA-112 Air Purifier Review
Editor’s Rating: (4.2 / 5)
The Medify MA-112 wins as the best air purifier for extra-large basements. It’s a real behemoth with a CADR of 950. It’s a very large basement air cleaner, purifying areas as vast as 2,400 square feet 2 times in 60 minutes. And when the square footage is 1,200, the machine demonstrates an ACH of 4. It’s a little heavy (33 lbs), but thankfully, it has wheels so you can easily roll it around. As you can see, this option would be overkill for the typical large room size.
So, what makes the Medify MA-112 stand out? It uses 6 filters instead of 3 like most HEPA air purifiers. It pulls dirty air via two sides, and each of these sides features 3 filters. A pre-filter, a medical grade H13 True HEPA filter, and an activated filter.
The prefilter handles large-sized particles including pet dander, pet hair, fibers, and more. The HEPA filter H13 (medical grade) handles smaller particles such as mold spores, dust, pollen, dust mites, and many more. Finally, we have the odor filter (quite substantial) which wrestles with VOCs and gaseous contaminants of all kinds.
Since there are 6 filters at work at any one time, you’ll get very comprehensive True HEPA filtration. And for that very reason, the machine also does the job considerably faster than comparable purifiers.
The beauty of all Medify air purifiers is that they filter indoor air all the way down to 0.1 microns. And the MA-112 is no exception.
It extirpates fully 99.97% of microns with a diameter as small as 0.3 microns. It also helps users get rid of 99.95% of 0.1-micron particles. This is exceptional performance, and few HEPA filter purifiers achieve that level of effectiveness.
Also, this device offers an incredibly large CADR of 950. In addition, it boasts a timer, a night mode(sleep mode), an auto mode, and a filter replacement indicator. On top of all that, the MA-112 also includes an ionizer. And thankfully, you can switch the ionizer off or on at will.
Unfortunately, this behemoth may produce ozone. Luckily, it is CARB rated. Besides, you can
opt not to turn on the ionizer. Here’s free advice: stay away from ionizing purifiers if you have asthma. You’ll likely regret your decision down the road.
Another useful feature is the air quality sensor. This sensor works in conjunction with the auto mode to correct potentially harmful air quality situations. With this unit, you get real-time PM2.5 data, and that’s a huge advantage. You can instantly tell whether the device is doing anything for your space.
And like the MA-40, this option comes with a timer offering 1, 2, 4, and 8-hour intervals. This feature makes using the purifier very easy on top of helping the user use electricity optimally.
Unsurprisingly, the MA-112 sets consumers back over $700 (as of this writing). You can read Medify air purifier reviews here to learn more about it. Or go to Amazon and check out this list of top basement air cleaners.
What about power consumption for the MA-112? The behemoth devours about 95W (on its highest speed when run 24/7/365). That works out to about $83 annually. Not much, right?
One more thing: this product offers (guess what?) lifetime warranty! No sane company would ever provide a lifetime warranty if they made terrible products. It’s reasonable to conclude that the longer the warranty, the more reliable a product generally should be.
- Has wheels for More portability
- Energy Star & CARB rated
- 360-degree air dispersion
- Extremely high CADR (950)
- Real-time PM2.5 numbers
- Filter change indicator
- Lifetime warranty
- Ozone generated
- Filters not cheap
- Not Wi-Fi enabled
It’s true that the unit is expensive. But no one expects excellent air filtration at dirt-cheap price. Also, it cranks out ozone — a known lung irritant. For healthy folks, though, that’s not a problem. The concentrations pumped out (0.05 ppm) fall within safe limits according to CARB.
And as you might expect, the replacement filters are pricey. They last about 6 months, and you’ll spend $270+ each year on them.
That looks like too much money on filters alone. But believe me, this thing delivers. If you want a basement that smells like a well-taken-care-of space, grab this thing. I’m certain you’ll love your purchase for years. No matter how big your basement might be, this machine doesn’t disappoint.
Still, I feel this machine should be Wi-Fi enabled. It should also be Amazon Alexa compatible. But it’s not. However, it does an extremely good job improving air quality. Its exceptional performance sort of compensates for these inadequacies. Plus, lacking these smart features doesn’t make the unit one bit less effective.
2. Medify MA-40 Air Purifier Review
Editor’s Rating: (4 / 5)
The AHAM-rated and Energy Star certified Medify MA-40 is the smaller version of the MA-112. But unlike the MA-112, the MA-40 counts on only 3 filters to do the job. It features a prefilter, a HEPA filter (H13), and a substantial gaseous pollutants eliminator (activated carbon filter). These filers are all the help you need to address particulates as well as VOCs and odors. And that includes tobacco smoke odors.
With a CADR of 330, this unit flexes its muscles to offer 2 air changes per hour in spaces as large as 800 square feet. It works best in medium-sized basements. But do you have asthma or seek to wrest power from nasty allergies? Do you also spend a considerable amount of time in the basement (freelancer?)? If yes, then 2 air circulations won’t be good enough for you.
People with breathing difficulties need at least 4 air circulations per hour. If you want 4 air changes from this machine, use it for an area not larger than 400 square feet. But if no one in your family has asthma or battles allergies, this unit is good as any for the basement ( up to 800 sq. ft.).
The control panel looks cool, and it’s scratchproof. Unlike most air purifiers, the MA-40’s control panel sits on tempered glass rather than plastic. And that’s a HUGE +ve for this machine. Additionally, the panel is easily accessible. You won’t need to bend over much since it sits on the unit’s top.
The control panel sits on tempered glass rather than plastic as is the case with the vast majority of air purifiers. That makes the machine look real cute, and the material is scratchproof, too.
Like its larger sibling, this unit also comes with a built-in ionizer for keeping the air smelling fresh and clean. Thankfully, the ionizer is optional. Additionally, the product has been declared fit for use in California (and everywhere else in the U.S.) by CARB.
The machine also features an auto off timer with 4 options: 1, 2, 4, and 8 hours. The timer makes the unit very convenient. Just select any of these 4 timing options, and the thing will obey you. It’ll stop cleaning the room after that exact duration. And that adds to the control you have over your energy consumption.
A front-facing air quality sensor perceives how dirty or clean the room is and gives appropriate commands to the unit. It shows 3 different colors, each of which coincides with a specific air quality situation. Blue means Good, Green means Ok, and Red means Terrible.
Filters last 6 months with normal use (12 hours a day), and they’re affordable.
As to power consumption, the MA-40 demands just 68W. If you have it on 24/7/365, expect your electric bill to bloat by about $59 (annually). Of course, you’ll pay significantly less — say $30 — if you operate it for like 12 hours each day.
Also, there’s a child lock so your human or furry baby (ies) may not interfere with the settings.
As a bonus, the machine can operate itself (literally) if you leave it on auto. When the air quality deteriorates, the air quality sensor compels the fan to labor harder to resolve the issue. You should hear the unit engage a more powerful gear or return to a lower fan speed.
What about warranty? With Medify’s lifetime warranty, there’s little to hate about this purifier.
- Control panel made of tempered glass
- AHAM & Energy Star rated
- Lifetime warranty
- Night mode + auto mode
- Child-lock feature
- Easy to move around
- Air quality sensor
- Filter change light
- Not Wi-Fi enabled
- May produce ozone
- Purified air exits via the front
Note that when the optional ionizer is on, the device may produce ozone. While it’s CARB-certified, you should go for a different option if you have asthma. Keep that in mind when shopping.
Note: The replacement filters for the MA-112 and MA-40 aren’t bought separately. Instead, they arrive in a single easy-to-install-and-replace cartridge. That’s good and bad at the same time. Good because filter replacement is a breeze. Bad because you must replace filters at the same time even when one filter might be ok.
3. IQAir HealthPro Plus (New Edition) Review
Editor’s Rating: (4.5 / 5)
Few purifiers remove basement particulates and odors better than the top-rated IQAir HealthPro Plus (New Edition). In Europe, they call it the IQAir HealthPro 250. It’s expensive, but it delivers.
This air purifier looks like an imposing and sleek skyscraper standing on an arched base. Take a look at the pic shown below. Air enters the device from below the arch.
And when replacing the filters, you need to split the device apart, remove the filter you need to replace and put the thing back together. It’s not hard, nor do you need any special tools or knowledge. And the same goes for IQAir’s quintessential odor remover, the GC MultiGas described in the next section.
This new edition (the latest as of this writing) is considerably more efficient and quieter than its predecessor. But I found that any speed past setting 3 can be unpleasantly loud. The workaround is to just let the thing run on higher speeds when you’re away.
Once you’re back, go back to a lower fan speed to maintain your air’s purity. Good thing is that you’re going to use this in the basement. And unless you’ll have a family room, a bedroom, or a working area there, noise shouldn’t be a big concern.
It’s as big as a medium-sized end table, and it’s designed for areas as large as 1,125 sq. Its enormous CFM of 780 suggests that it can treat rooms as large as 1,170 sq. ft. according to AHAM’s 2/3 Rule. I’m convinced that this 35-lbs basement odors and particulates remover is a decision you won’t regret.
It’s considerably heavy (35 lbs) compared to most other purifiers, though. But it comes with a set of 4 sturdy casters and a handle that make moving it a breeze.
Here’s what makes this unit outstanding.
It purifies the air down to 0.003 microns! Now, that’s excellent performance. Some of the finest HEPA filter air purifiers I know remove particulates down to 0.3 microns and no further. So, that’s a remarkable difference. To achieve that kind of performance, the device leverages 3 enormously effective filters.
The PreMax prefilter (lasts up to 18 months) removes large particulates such as fibers and dust. To prolong its life, cover this filter with another prefilter. It sounds like a funny idea, but it makes sense. You can buy a whole load of super affordable prefilters on Amazon or elsewhere.
Next is the HyperHEPA filter (main filter, lasts up to 48 months!). Yes, I said 48 long months! This one filters out 99.97% of 0.3-micron particles with unmatched ease. And since it’s a medical-grade filter, it also removes 99.50% of 0.003-micron particles. In other words, it handles both the fine and ultrafine filters extremely well.
Finally you have the V5-Cell filter that lasts up to 24 months. This 5-lbs activated carbon filter is a dedicated odors and gaseous pollutants eliminator. Whether your worry is VOCs such as benzene and formaldehyde or gases such as radon and carbon monoxide, it’s got you covered. Notice that benzene and formaldehyde are also major constituents of car exhaust fumes. This article on the best air purifier for exhaust fumes expounds on traffic pollution.
Air enters the unit via an air inlet at the bottom. Then, it gets scrubbed. Finally, purified air gets sent out via small vents on the unit’s side near the top. With this option, no air enters and exits untreated thanks to its Triple-Seal technology.
The device’s patented EvenFlow Diffuser enables it to distribute cleaned air in all directions. With this solution, the days of enduring a stuffy nose every morning will come to an abrupt end.
But how do you know it’s time to do filter replacement? The unit comes with color-coded lights that serve as filter change indicators. Oh, and the filters for the IQAir HealthPro Plus aren’t washable. And they’re expensive, but they’re worth every buck.
And does the HealthPro Plus consume much power? Not really. At the lowest fan speed, it draws just 20W. At medium speed (speed 3), it expends 54W just like the GC MultiGas. But at the highest speed, the consumption catapults to 135W, which is high but not too high. Plus, no one runs their device on that setting throughout.
If you run this purifier 12 hours a day on speed 3 (which does a superb job), you’ll see your overall power consumption increase by $59. But that’s not much given the amount of work this machine puts out.
- Filters down to 0.003 microns
- Has wheels (portable)
- Long-lasting filters
- Child lock feature
- Pushes out air 320 degrees (virtually in all directions)
- Enormous CFM (780)
- Filters expensive, too
- Chemical smell*
While filters are expensive, they last considerably longer than any other filters I’ve seen. Additionally, you can blow out dirt from the prefilter using a vacuum cleaner to add to its longevity. Also, you can put a cheaper prefilter over the prefilter to lessen its workload.
But one user complained of inhaling a sickening chemical smell emanating from the V5-Cell odor filter. And the odor wouldn’t subside even after the person endured it for a couple weeks.
If that happens to you, consider requesting a replacement prefilter from IQAir. That’s what the user did, and the issue was resolved. Trust me: you WON’T regret this purchase — it’s a great buy.
Let’s talk about IQAir’s warranty. BE SURE to buy your HealthPro Plus from an authorized dealer. Why? It’s because only with authorized dealers can you get a 10-year warranty.
If you buy from an unauthorized dealer (on Amazon), you’re typically eligible for the usual 1-year warranty. And the same goes for the GC MultiGas (New Edition). Please keep that in mind.
4. GC MultiGas (New Edition) Air Purifier Review
Editor’s Rating: (4 / 5)
The GC MultiGas, as the name suggests, is an odor removal workhorse. Like the IQAir HealthPro Plus (New Edition), this purifier is supposed to improve air quality in spaces as large as 1,125 square feet. However, its CFM is just 300 (at speed 6) compared with its sibling’s 780.
For that reason, I doubt the MultiGas can actually handle 1,125 sq. ft. After applying AHAM’s 2/3 rule, I find that the device can only clean up to 450 square feet. Please keep that in mind.
That said, the thing is AHAM-verified, CARB-certified, and Energy Star certified. And with a weight of 44 lbs, it’s pretty heavy. But don’t fret over that. It features deluxe casters that dramatically boost mobility. By comparison, the HealthPro Plus weighs about 35 lbs. I believe the weight difference is down to the MultiGas having a much heavier carbon filter (12 lbs vs 5 lbs).
These two air purifiers look identical, and they work pretty much the same way. But there are some notable differences.
IQAir HealthPro Plus Vs GC MultiGas, which is better? Let’s see.
First off, the HealthPro Plus’ filters outlast those of the GC MultiGas. For the GC MultiGas, the GC HyperHEPA prefilter lasts about 12 months. Comparatively, the PreMax filter F8 S (prefilter) for the HealthPro lasts about 18 months.
As for the gas and odor filter, the GC MultiGas cartridges offer about 2.5 years of filtration power. By comparison, the V5-Cell of the HealthPro lasts 24 months.
The reason the V5-Cell gets outlasted is that it packs significantly less activated carbon than the MultiGas’ odor filter does. The V5-Cell packs just 5 lbs of activated carbon, which is 140% less activated carbon than the MultiGas offers. If you want that awful basement smell out of your home, go with the MultiGas.
Unlike almost every other prefilter I’ve seen, the MultiGas’ prefilter is a HyperHEPA filter and offers a large surface area. It has a surface area of up to 3.0 meter squared. And if you want your prefilter to last longer, vacuum the dirt off from time to time. In addition, you can boost its longevity by coupling it with an extra prefilter, preferably IQAir’s PF40.
When it comes to getting rid of VOCs and other gaseous pollutants, the GC MultiGas wins hands down. It uses a 12-lbs filter media made of highly adsorbent activated carbon impregnated with alumina.
Most comparable purifiers rely on a low-quality coconut-based carbon filter to do the job. That’s why they don’t come anywhere close to this unit’s performance. I recommend the MultiGas for getting rid of all kinds of smoke including tobacco, MJ, and wildfire smoke. It’s also among the very best air purifiers I’ve seen for VOCs and fumes.
With this device, you’ll start waking up feeling refreshed, energized, and clearheaded every morning. In addition, your allergy and asthma symptoms should improve dramatically. At least, they should when you’re indoors.
The HealthPro Plus removes odors, too. It’s just that it’s not as good as the MultiGas in that respect. However, it tackles particulates better. While the GC MultiGas removes 99% of 0.003-micron particles, the HealthPro enables you to get rid of up to 99.97%. Not a huge difference, though, but still a difference.
If you’re worried more about dust in the basement than about odors, you should snag the HealthPro Plus. And if you have both particulates and smells down there, pick the same purifier, the HealthPro.
Finally, let’s examine the main filter. For the HealthPro Plus, the main filter (HyperHEPA H12/13 (L) offer a surface area of 5.0 meter squared. For the MultiGas, the main filter is the GC Post Filter Sleeve Set (post filter). This filter, like that of the HealthPro Plus, offers a surface area of 5.0 meter squared.
It also contains, like the HealthPro, electrostatically charged fibers that boost its filtration might. The main filter lasts a whole 48 months in the HealthPro Plus. But the longevity of the main filter in the MultiGas doesn’t exceed 2.5 years. And that can be a significant difference in filter replacement costs over the long time.
The post-filter pulls in particles via a mechanism similar to static electricity. And it does the job pretty well. This filter eradicates fine and ultrafine particles, down to 0.003 microns.
Note: these filters will only deliver the stated filter-life if you run them 10 hours daily on speed 3. And lest I forget, the MultiGas offers 6 fan speeds, just like its sibling.
IQAir individually tests each GC MultiGas unit before packaging it. You should get a certificate of performance for your unit (s). This machine decimates 99% of 0.3-micron particles, and 95% of 0.003-micron particles. Judging from the stated efficiency numbers, it appears like the HealthPro Plus should provide more comprehensive filtration than this unit. And it does.
Like the HealthPro Plus, this purifier lets in dirty air from the bottom via its arch-shaped base. After treatment, the air comes out via vents located near the top. Its 320-degree EvenFlow Diffuser disperses purified air in all directions. Note that at speed 6, the air comes out quite forcefully. This feature can make the room a little draughty, though.
Here are other important features in the MultiGas. It boasts an advanced timer that lets you select days and hours when your device should operate. You can also set different fan speeds for different durations or periods.
In addition to that, you get an inbuilt feature that monitors filter-life for all 3 filters. There’s
one more thing. The machine lets you choose any one of 4 major languages. These languages are English, French, Spanish, and German. And the same goes for the HealthPro Plus.
What about power consumption for the GC MultiGas? How much energy it draws depends on the fan speed you choose often. At speed #1, it sucks about 20W. And at speed 3, which many people prefer, the thing draws about 54W. Now, 54W looks pretty much like what a normal laptop demands. It’s an energy efficient choice.
At the highest speed, the max power it needs to serve you effectively is 135W. But who runs a purifier in the basement or wherever at the highest speed 24/7/365?
If you have it running 12 hours a day for the whole year, the machine will set you back about 591.3 kWh or about $59. As you can see, there’s no difference in power consumption between the GC MultiGas and the HealthPro Plus.
And will the GC MultiGas run continuously without issues? Yes it will. It’s CSA-certified for continuous use.
- Filters down to 0.003 microns
- Extremely good odor elimination ability
- Energy Star rated
- Purified air leaves the unit in all directions
- CARB-certified and AHAM-rated
- Filter change indicators
- Filters last a long time
- May produce ozone
- Sweet chemical smell*
While the price seems steep, I feel it’s reasonable enough for the kind of performance the unit delivers. Most cheap air purifiers may take out particulates satisfactorily, but they make an insignificant difference when it comes to reducing bad smells.
With this option, you’re going to get all the value your dollars are worth. Look around the web, and you’ll find very few complaints from users.
Warning: this unit may produce ozone even though the manufacturer doesn’t mention it. The machine and its sibling, the HealthPro Plus, offer electrostatic filtration along with other filtration mechanisms. Now, scientists have long known that electrostatic filtration generates ozone. So, if you’re hypersensitive to ozone, buy something else. Maybe you can try out Honeywell air purifiers or Levoit air purifiers since pretty much all of them are ozone-free.
Few users complained of smelling a chemical odor, sort of like formaldehyde, though. However, the odor dissipated after about 2 weeks. The carbon filter in many air purifiers tends to off-gas when newly installed. But the problem typically disappears after some time.
Whether you live with Macaw parrots and have bird dander floating everywhere or just want to purify your basement, the GC MultiGas is a great bet. Also, pet dander and many other kinds of airborne particulate matter should bother you much less.
5. Blueair Classic 605 Air Purifier Review
Editor’s Rating: (4 / 5)
With a CADR of 500 for smoke, the AHAM and Energy Star rated Blueair Classic 605 easily cleans up to 775 square feet. That makes it an ideal purifier for a medium-sized basement. Its CADR for dust and pollen is 500 and 640 respectively. In a 775 square feet room, you should get 5 air exchanges every hour on the highest of 3 fan speeds.
The purifier counts on a supremely powerful combination of mechanical and electrostatic filtration to remove 99.97% of particles down to 0.1 microns.
And is the device noisy? On low, the unit’s unique HEPASilent technology ensures it operates quietly without sacrificing performance. But you won’t want to run it on that setting in a dirty basement.
Speed 2 is moderately loud but moves a lot more air. But speed 3 does get quite noisy (up to 62 decibels). I’ve heard some users say it produces as much noise as a jet engine on that setting. But noise shouldn’t be much trouble in the basement unless you sleep or have a tenant there. Or unless you’re a work-from-home freelancer.
In addition, this air cleaning robot comes enabled with Wi-Fi, Alexa, and IFTTT technologies. Very few air purifiers are IFTTT compatible, so that’s a huge + for this product.
The Blueair Friend App adds to the machine’s convenience. It lets you decide when your unit should run and on what speed. You can also use the app to adjust or dim the LED’s light so you can have disturbance-free nights.
There’s also an indicator for reminding the user when it’s time to replace the filter. The filters typically last roughly 6 months. If you have super strong basement odors, I’d urge you to buy Blueair’s SmokeStop filter. This filter works extremely well when it comes to VOCs elimination.
But at that price, I expected the unit to offer an auto function, but it disappointed. The app helps you adjust fan speed easily, though, and that’s good. Honestly, I don’t feel the app fully compensates for the lack of auto operation. And it’s not like it works seamlessly for everyone. A few people seemed to have difficulty setting the connection up. I guess it’s fair to say the Blueair Friend App is finicky.
And oh, Blueair didn’t remember to add a particle sensor at that price. That’s bad. You’ll have to buy an air quality sensor if you want to get real-time air quality reports. This can be a dealbreaker for some. Quite frankly, you can find considerably cheaper alternatives that do the job just as well.
The device looks great, though. It’s well constructed and sturdy. It weighs 33 lbs, and that makes it heavier than most air cleaning devices on the market. Luckily, it has wheels that help you to almost effortlessly roll it around. How big is it? It’s a large item. With a height of 26″, it’s pretty tall, though I’ve seen devices that are 40″ + tall. Luckily, that height shouldn’t be a problem in any basement.
The device’s front and back are divided into 2 compartments. The lower front and back compartments end near the base. And the upper front and back compartments extend up to the top of the unit.
And unlike most air purifiers, it also pulls dirty air from the bottom. Most of the untreated air enters via the lower components and shoots out via the top compartments after filtration. The rest of the purified air exits via the top.
How much electric power does the Blueair Classic 605 consume? It’s not a power guzzler, fortunately. On the lowest setting, it burns through just 15W. On the highest setting, it demands up to 100W.
And if you run it on speed 2, it’d consume about 70-80W. Assume you ran it 12 hours on speed 2 each day. How much power would it gobble up? It’d use 350.4 kWh. That woks out to roughly $35. Reasonable enough, right?
- Looks good
- Has wheels
- High CFM/CADR
- High CFM/CADR
- Perfect air circulation
- Energy Star, CARB, and AHAM tested and certified
- May produce ozone
- Filters last only 6 months or less
- Chemical smell*
- No particle sensor
I’m not happy with how the Blueair have presented this device’s information on Amazon and elsewhere. Reading the description, it’s hard to know that the device actually produces ozone. I raised this issue with them, and guess what they said? They told me that the device is ozoneless and even eliminates ozone. Well, you need to know that…….
The Blueair Classic 605 PRODUCES OZONE. Luckily, the concentrations stay well within CARB’s guideline of 0.05 ppm or lower. But if you battle asthma or any respiratory issue, it’s best to avoid this device or any other ozone-generating purifier for that matter.
There’s also the little issue of off-gassing. The machine gives off an unpleasant chemical odor for a couple days after you set it up. Fortunately, the smell typically vanishes after a fortnight.
Honestly, I feel that Blueair should have offered the user more at that price. But if you’re willing to look past the shortcomings I’ve mentioned, grab it now and purify that musty basement. It’ll do the job.
So, which device won the race? You’ll find that information in the very last paragraph of this post.
In the meantime, let’s talk a bit about your basement and the problems you’re looking to solve.
What Does Your Basement Look Like?
Fully 30 percent of all U.S. homes have a basement. But not every one of those spaces looks amazing. Luckily, the number of homes with unfinished basements has been falling over the past few years. And interestingly, smaller homes are more likely to have an unfinished basement than larger ones. You’d think owners of small homes had every reason to finish their basement. But that’s not the case.
Let’s talk about your basement now. Maybe your basement has become a cozy home to all sorts of rodents, insects, bacteria, viruses, and mold. And you want to reclaim it. Fortunately, there are many ways to transform that large space into a little heaven for you and your loved ones.
You can, for example, create a playroom for you kids. Or a home office if you’re a freelancer. Or an extra bedroom for your guests. Or a music room for your teen who aspires to be the next Michael Jackson.
A home renovation expert can help you transform that basement into a place you’ll love. Look at the pic below and see what kind of place you could end up with. After you’ve resuscitated your basement, you’ll want to keep it looking and smelling great.
Everyone Deserves a Healthy Basement
The World Health Organization asserts that folks who occupy moldy buildings face a 75 percent greater risk for respiratory illnesses. Now, consider that people (at least in the U.S.) spend about 90 percent of their hours indoors according to the EPA.
Everyone needs a healthy basement. And it’s critical for you to reduce exposures to indoor air pollutants. Wouldn’t you want to have a basement that looks like the one below? Who wouldn’t?
Maybe you have an unfinished basement. And it looks like the one below:
5 Common Basement Problems
Dampness, musty smells, pest and rodent infestation, settlement cracks, VOCs, and radon are the most common basement problems. Each of these challenges tends to make the place unlivable. And if not taken care of, some of these issues can increase the likelihood of respiratory and other kinds of illnesses. And that’s undesirable for you and your loved ones. Let’s examine these problems and see how you might resolve each of them.
How common are wet basements? Did you know that 2 out of 3 homes in the United States have moisture issues?
Flowing ground water often finds its way into basements via cracks in the foundation or walls. If the surrounding soil is saturated, moisture may wick its way into the basement via the walls. Remember, cement is porous and may allow moisture to pass through with ease. That’s why insulating both the inside and outside walls is paramount.
And during the summer, warm, humid air enters the homes and lands on cool basement walls. When that happens, condensation occurs. That’s why most people who live in older homes see perspiring pipes and well pressure tanks.
In some cases, cold water pipes can produce enough sweat to puddle the basement. In the end, you have an unhealthy basement that increases your risk for respiratory diseases. We’ll see how you can resolve this issue down the road.
2. Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs)
Most people use the basement as a storage area. In every DIYer’s basement, you’ll likely find paints, varnishes, glues, adhesives, and other VOC-laden products. These products should always stay properly sealed. But that doesn’t always happen.
Sometimes, these items have openings that let out potentially harmful VOCs. And these compounds can cause illness if inhaled over a prolonged period. Plus, they tend to worsen them odors situation in that space.
Your carpet, drapes, some building materials, and foam insulation are also known sources for VOCs. A carpet off-gases for up to 5 years though the problem lessens considerably after a couple months.
What else is down there? You’re right — there’s radon.
3. Radon Gas
Radon gas is another common basement problem. It’s a tasteless, colorless, odorless gas, pretty much like CO2. It’s a byproduct of the decay process of uranium in the soil, rock or water. The decay process eventually culminates in the formation of the metal lead. This radioactive gas is found naturally everywhere in the Earth’s crust. Actually, you won’t find a radon-free state in the U.S.
What are the health risks of radon? While researching for this post, I found one shocking fact about radon. According to the journal Clinical Advances in Hematology & Oncology, tobacco smoke exposure is the #1 cause of lung cancer. And the vast majority of cancer deaths are a result of lung cancer.
Guess what the second most important cause of lung cancer is. Yes, it’s radon exposure! It gets worse. Exposure to radon also bumps up lung cancer risk in smokers.
Did you know that 21,000 lung cancer deaths associated with radon inhalation happen every year in the U.S.? Radon happens to be a class-one carcinogen — a proven cancer cause.
Evidently, it’s imperative to take immediate steps to have your home tested for radon. If your levels surpass the EPA’s recommended indoor limit of 4 (pCi)/L, you must quickly launch measures to reduce this exposure to acceptable levels.
The average radon level in indoor air in American homes currently stands at 1.3 pCi/L. But how safe is 1.3 pCi/L? If 1,000 smokers were exposed to 1.3 pCi/L over a lifetime, 9 or 0.9% of them could end up with lung cancer. Conclusion: smoking inside a home with high radon levels is a terrible idea.
How Does Radon Get into the Basement?
Radon gas is always moving upward through the soil. When it escapes into the air, it gets diluted and causes no problem. But the gas can also enter your home through openings such as cracks in the foundation.
Pressure differences between the soil under the slab/around the foundation and the space inside the home enable this diffusion. These pressure differences make your home act as like a massive vacuum. Naturally, the “vacuum” draws in radon via available openings.
Another way radon can gain entry into your home is via the shower. If you use well water and live in a high radon concentration area, you’re probably inhaling radon every day!
When you take a shower or perform other activities using well water, radon may get released into the air. Also, radon-laden water from the laundry room may end up polluting the air in the basement. But you should worry more about radon seeping in from the ground than the amount emanating from well water.
Do Basements Have Higher Concentrations of Radon?
Yes, quite naturally. However, radon can end up in your home whether it has a basement or not. In other words, homes with basements aren’t necessarily more at risk.
But there’s one fact that makes the basement more prone to radon accumulation. It’s that this area is often poorly ventilated. As a result, the gas accumulates easily, and that lowers the indoor air quality in that space. This pollutant, if left unchecked, can build up to unhealthy levels.
If you live in an area with higher radon concentrations, you really should have your home tested for radon.
How to Test for Radon in the Basement
You can do either short-term radon testing or long-term radon testing. Short-term testing is best for when you need results quickly. Such as when you’re buying a home. This test gives you a snapshot of the radon situation in the home. Unfortunately, the results you get might not reflect the actual year-round radon levels. These tests don’t extend beyond month 3 from the day the first test is done.
By comparison, long-term radon testing aims to provide year-round radon level readings. These tests are, therefore, more reliable and accurate than short-term testing. The testing period is typically longer than 90 days.
Can you do radon testing yourself? Yes, you can. Using appropriate radon testing kits is pretty straightforward. You can also hire a professional to handle the exercise.
4. Carbon Monoxide
Carbon monoxide (CO) is odorless and colorless. You can’t see it, and you can’t smell it. But inhaling tons of this gas can damage the brain or even lead to loss of life. Certain appliances may product CO when faulty or incorrectly installed.
I’m talking about a furnace in the basement, ventless space heaters, a water heater, or gas-fired clothes dryer. Here’s the trouble with CO. You can’t know you have unhealthy levels until you get what seems like flu symptoms.
5. Mold and the Attendant Musty Smells
I suspect musty smells are another reason you seek an air purifier designed for the basement. But why are most basements fusty?
Mold and mildew are in most cases the main culprit. These pollutants are smelly, and they lower your indoor air quality.
Due to the so-called stack effect, some of the musty odors floats up to other areas of the house. And the whole house can smell horrendous.
Sometimes, basement odors come from decaying rodents and insects. When insects, pests, and rodents die, they stink. And their sickening smells may permeate the whole space. Other times, it’s just the natural odors emanating from these creatures’ bodies. Also, metabolic processes in these animals can create smelly substances that end up in the air.
For the most part, what you’re smelling in the basement are Volatile Organic Compounds. And an purifier with exceptional odor elimination power should help you immensely.
Can Breathing in Musty Air Make You Sick?
Yes, it can. You likely have heard of sick building syndrome. Indoor air quality experts have long believed that moldy buildings can make people sick.
Typically, the unpleasant smell noticed in most basements results from VOCs, especially mushroom alcohol. Moldy air may also contain mycotoxins, and these can actually make you sick.
If you suspect you might have toxic mold around, consider buying the best air purifier for mycotoxin. The best air purifier for mold doubles up as the best one for mycotoxin. I mean, mycotoxins stem from mold.
Animal studies on mushroom alcohol have revealed interesting findings. Researchers had fruit flies inhale mushroom alcohol. And these animals demonstrated noticeable changes in how they moved. The fruit flies “trembled” and started moving slowly, with some even falling over. They also demonstrated a clear lack of coordination. It’s like they had Parkinson’s disease!
Later, the researchers decided to treat the fruit flies with L-dopa. L-dopa is a med known to reverse the undesirable effects of Parkinson’s disease in humans. Strangely enough, the animals started moving more naturally!
Encouraged by these findings, the scientists also exposed human cells to mushroom alcohol. Results? They found that mushroom alcohol adversely affected human cells. Actually, some of the cells died. Here’s the full study. Evidently, moldy/musty air isn’t something you want to breathe in at any time.
6. Poor Ventilation
Home builders today design homes that promote ventilation in the basement while lowering energy consumption. Also, new homes these days are increasingly having finished basements. Such a space is likely to be dry and comfortable, and the air may not smell musty.
Musty basements are often an older home problem. In the past, the area down there wasn’t always intended to serve as living space. For that reason, builders didn’t give the place adequate attention.
It wasn’t uncommon to have leaky windows and cracks that let moisture in. Also, these rooms didn’t always have windows. In the end, they were dark and damp environments that smelled awful particularly during the summer or spring.
Now that we’ve identified a few basement problems you’re likely grappling with, let’s consider the solutions.
10 Ways to Address Basement Odors and Other Problems
We’ve described several basement problems above. Now, it’s time to do something about them. So, how do you remove mold in the basement? How do you get rid of musty smells in your basement? How do you minimize dampness in the basement? How do you eliminate radon and carbon dioxide? Let’s see.
The first step toward getting rid of basement odors is to identify the source. Once you know where the problem is, resolving it becomes easier.
1. Improve Ventilation
A simple and quick way to ventilate the basement is to throw open the windows. But the approach is to have an expert handle the problem.
Hiring a contractor can be expensive. Plus, improving air circulation almost always bumps up a home’s energy consumption due to energy leakage.
This measure is a hugely effective way to deal with bad smells in the basement. If radon is the main issue, the contractor may dig a tunnel under the basement and fit it with fans.
Improving ventilation helps you eradicate or at least reduce harmful gases such as radon and carbon monoxide. It may also help minimize VOCs in the basement.
It’s also crucial to have carbon dioxide detectors for home use. ALWAYS a CO detector for the application it’s designed to protect. So, don’t use a CO detector for boats to monitor CO in the basement. You’ll want to have the monitor in an easy-to-access place such as just outside your bedroom.
CO poisoning isn’t uncommon. And it causes flu-like signs. If you suspect anyone in the family has these symptoms, get them out of the room. Take them to a location with lots of fresh air, preferably outside the house. What about your neighbor’s home? Once there, you can contact the fire department or the gas company.
Note: 1. if the alarm goes off, don’t remove its battery. 2. Replace the monitor every 5 years.
2. Maintain an Appropriate Humidity Level
Dampness is normally a huge problem in unfinished basements, especially with relatively old homes (those built pre-1970s). Such homes have very little if any damp-proofing on the outside. And you can see efflorescence on the walls.
When exterior air enters the basement, often via cracks, it mixes with interior air, increasing dampness. So, you should address any standing water around the outside of the basement. Concrete is naturally porous, and moisture from the soil wicks upward into the wall, ending up in the basement.
To address efflorescence, consider applying coating on the walls to prevent moisture from wicking inward. You can also install rigid foam on the walls and then add strapping on this layer. Finally, add wallboard to give protection to the foam. The wallboard would also act as a thermal barrier. This is a great strategy for tackling musty summer smells.
3. Remove Carpeting
Unless you’ve insulated your walls, it’s a very bad idea to carpet the slab. Especially if your basement is unfinished. Carpeting naturally lowers the slab’s temperature, keeping it considerably cooler than it’d otherwise be.
As a result, relative humidity underneath the carpeting increases. And that makes your rugs a great home for mold, and an abundant source for awful basement smells.
Insulating your walls is a great idea, but be ready to spend a small fortune. Such insulation helps keep wall temperatures high enough, which suppresses mold growth. No mold means no moldy smells.
So, remove area rugs or carpeting from the basement. And if the carpet is heavily infested with mold, consider cutting it up and disposing of it.
4. Buy a Dehumidifier
A dehumidifier helps extract moisture from the air. If you have hot, humid summers and wet springs, consider putting an effective humidity remover there. You may need a standalone one (for the basement only) or a whole house dehumidifier.
With this machine running down there, your basement will see much less moisture. And you’ll have drastically reduced the possibility of structural damage. That’s because insects such as the wood-boring kind love humid conditions.
Also, a dry environment or, at least one with a tolerable humidity level, keeps mold and mildew growth in check. By tolerable moisture level, I mean lower than 60% in the summer and lower than 40% in the winter. You can check out this list of the best dehumidifiers on Amazon.
5. Address Dead or Live Animals
If you have rats and mice, you’ll hear them scratching walls and ceilings at night. Or you might hear their little ones making noise. And if there are a few squirrels around, you’ll usually hear their noises at daytime.
You’ll also see their droppings and notice a strong, putrid smell emanating from their excretions. And when they eventually die, your place will smell horribly.
You may also have raccoons and opossums in that below-the-ground space. While you can poison these creatures, it’s not a good idea. They might ingest the poison and fall dead in some hard-to-read area, worsening your odors problem. It’s best to let a wildlife pest removal company handle them.
6. Deodorize the Basement
You can try any of a number of natural basement deodorizers. I’ll give you a couple simple and insanely affordable suggestions you can try out now. Here are 10 Ways to Deodorize the Basement
How to Deodorize the Basement Naturally
·Use Onions (Yes, seriously)
Yes, I said onions. You got some in the freezer, right? They’re great at making food taste amazing. But they can also help you deodorize that fusty basement.
So, cut one onion into 2 halves and place them in some container (a plate?). Leave them out overnight and see how fresh it smells the next morning. And no, you won’t have any oniony smell.
·Leave Eucalyptus Twigs in the Basement
Have some eucalyptus trees in the yard? Cut a few branches and leave them in the basement for a day. The place should smell much better.
·Cat Litter Removes Basement Smells
You can also use clumping cat litter to eliminate musty subterranean smells. Just put some cat litter in bowls and place them in different locations. The odors will disappear overnight. But you should keep changing the litter for best results. This kind of litter is composed of sodium bentonite, a kind of clay that’s highly absorbent.
But cat litter gives off a nasty smell. So, how can smelly stuff help eliminate smells? The smell from the cat litter box mostly emanates from ammonia in the cat’s urine. It may also come from the litter box itself.
·Baking Soda Removes Odors, too
Put baking soda liberally in open containers and place them at various locations in the room. The nice thing about baking soda is that it can retain its odor removal powers for up to 3 months.
·Use White Vinegar
You can also use white vinegar to reduce basement smells. Pour some vinegar into shallow bowls and position them all over the place. After 2 or 3 days, your air should smell appreciably different.
·Use an Air Freshener
Do air fresheners remove basement smells? No, they don’t. All those nice scents ever do is mask the odors, but they won’t resolve them.
Plus, those innocent air fresheners add tons of VOCs to the air. And that’s undesirable. I mean, aren’t you trying to reduce odors?
·Place Activated Charcoal Bags in the Basement
Another solution for managing basement smells is to use bags of activated charcoal. You may need several of them at a time, say 1 bag in each corner.
Activated charcoal isn’t expensive, and it can serve you for up to 6 months. You may want to try out these Bamboo charcoal air purifying bags such as the KoolerThings 8 Pack.
Frankly though, pretty much all these solutions with the exception of charcoal bags are temporary. You can’t count on them to remove basement odors permanently.
7. Use an Effective Air Purifier
Will an air purifier get rid of musty smells in the basement? The answer is YES. As long as you chose a device suited to such an environment, it’ll work for you.
The best air purifier for mold and mildew is in most cases the best solution for musty basements. Such an air purifier also has the ability to remove airborne dust mites. Dust mites are pretty common in places with mold and mildew, according to the American Lung Association.
Note that purifiers aren’t meant for removing mold spores or dust mites that have settled. They’re designed to take care of airborne pollutants. In other words, a purifier won’t do anything about patches of mold on the walls, ceiling, and floor.
The perfect air purifier for basement odors is one that uses tons of activated carbon. Activated carbon has long been known to be an excellent odors remover. In most cases, insanely cheap purifiers don’t have a substantial carbon filter. You’ll want to spend a bit more money if you crave effective carbon filtration.
If you pick an appropriate purifier, it’ll help you reduce carbon monoxide and VOCs. Some common basement VOCs include formaldehyde and benzene. And these can be carcinogenic. Carpets are known to give off benzene, and some building materials produce formaldehyde.
Do Air Purifiers Help Remove Radon?
Yes, they do, but not excellently. The perfect purifier for radon gas is one that uses a massive activated carbon filter (s). Radon is a gas, and even the best True HEPA filters won’t do much for you. You need a device that uses a carbon-packed filter alongside other filtration technologies.
But while an air purifier can help you push down basement radon levels, it’s probably not the best solution. Hiring a competent basement ventilation specialist is.
If you have tons of radon down there……
8. Hire a Contractor for Radon Removal
Good news: radon gas is one of the easiest-to-remove air pollutants you can ever handle. So, have a contractor come and dig a tunnel underneath the basement and install fans. That should in most cases solve the problem. At least, it should reduce radon levels dramatically.
9. Hire a Mold Elimination Specialist
You can remove the mold and mildew yourself using pretty basic tools. You also need to be armed with specific mold knowledge. Mold and mildew tend to grow back pretty quickly. That’s why you should remove them completely.
If you have small patches of mold on the floor, wall, or ceiling, use bleach to scrub it away. The most effective bleach: water ratio is 1:8.
Be sure to have protective clothing on. Also, throw the windows open so that the treated area can dry out. If you can’t open windows or there are no windows, a fan will do the job.
But if the infestation is devastating, consider calling in a mold remediation company.
10. Finish that Basement
It’s no secret — unfinished basements tend to have odor issues. That’s why finishing yours is important. Finishing an unfinished basement adds to your available space. In addition, it makes your home look more appealing. Besides, it can boost your home’s market value.
Also, a finished basement can help keep your energy costs down. How? Finishing a basement typically entails adding insulation and drywall, and these translate into reduced moisture in the home. Your air conditioner will work less. And your energy costs will stay where your financial goals want them.
In addition, you’re highly likely to provide heating in the basement if it’s finished. Keeping the place reasonably warm can suppress mold growth and odors.
Buying Guide to the Best Basement Air Purifier
Keep the following in mind as you shop:
1. Size of the Basement
How big is your basement? The average basement size hovers around 1,000 square feet. But I’ve seen much smaller ones — as small as 600 square feet. I’ve also seen larger ones — as large as 2,000+ square feet.
Obviously, you need an air purifier that’ll clean the entire place no matter how large it might be. Some of my recommendations can clean at least 1,000 square feet. But I’ve also included options for smaller spaces just in case….
2. Odor Removal Ability
We saw that the basement often has musty smells and all other kinds of smells. So, you should buy a device that offers exceptional odor elimination ability. The perfect air purifier for basement smells typically uses a substantial activated carbon filter. All of the recommendations I’ve made for you have strong smells removal ability.
3. Contaminants Present in Your Basement
The contaminants you have down there should determine what kind of an air purifier you should use. If mold and mildew are your biggest trouble, pick an option that whacks them in no time. And if dust mites are the main issue, buy the best air purifier for dust you can afford.
You need an option that handles both particulates and gaseous pollutants well. Such a device typically uses a True HEPA/medical grade main filter(s), a prefilter (or two), and an activated carbon filter (or even 2).
The Medify MA-112, for example, offers 2 prefilters, 2 medical grade filters, and 2 substantial activated filters. Think about it — 6 filters working harmoniously to keep you and your family protected against potential pollutants.
4. Filtration Technology
Since smells, VOCs, and mold spores are your major concerns, you need a purifier that’ll remove them effectively. A device with the ability to tackle these pollutants usually uses a mix of different filtration technologies.
If I had a problematic basement, I’d choose a machine that uses True HEPA/medical grade filtration, carbon filtration, and UV filtration. Medical grade/true HEPA filters are awesome at removing fine and course particulates. Carbon filters, on the other hand, are quite effective at VOCs and odors removal. And UV-C light would help you massacre germs, bacteria, and viruses. Let’s look at various air filtration technologies so you can decide which is best for your situation.
Ozone generators deliberately pump out tons of ozone, and they use this gas to oxidize contaminants. But how do they produce ozone? These purifiers break down oxygen molecules (O2) into 3 constituent atoms. These single atoms in turn attach to other oxygen molecules, forming ozone. They work pretty much like ionizers, except that they’re dedicated ozone pumps.
These purifiers can oxidize VOCs, toxic molds, and smoke odors, and even musty smells. Ozone generators work. That’s why this technology finds massive demand in industries and medical applications. Note that in these places, ozone generators are used to clean unoccupied spaces. It’s a bad idea to use them in the basement or any other room.
If you contend with respiratory maladies, stay away from ozone generators. The EPA says that high ozone concentrations can actually cause health problems.
Don’t listen to anyone who says that a 3000 mg/hr ozone generator is safe to use in occupied spaces. Or that this or that other federal government agency has approved such devices for use in occupied spaces.
These devices are best for extreme air pollution situations, such as when there’s been raging wildfires or flooding. They’re mostly used by contractors to tackle excessive smoke in homes after wildfire. Or to remove flooding-associated smells in basements.
That said, it’s ok to have an ionizer in a basement purifier as it helps freshen the air. If you want to have this feature in your purifier, make sure it’s optional.
·Ionizers (Negative Ion Generators)
Ionizing air purifiers come with a feature called an ionizer, which might be optional or not. This addition supports a purifier’s filtration work by neutralizing particles. It features electrostatically charged plates that emit either positive or negative ions into the air.
These ions are attracted to pollutants via a process similar to static electricity. The now larger particles are then drawn by the plates from where you can easily collect them. Also, the particles may fall to the floor, or they may end up on the wall, ceiling, or other services.
It’s best to pick a purifier with an optional ionizer so you can turn it off whenever you like. But ionization on its own won’t handle the entire smorgasbord of pollutants in the basement. So, choose a machine that uses this as an additional feature rather than the main filtration technology. And remember: ionizers give off ozone, a gas known to exacerbate asthma symptoms.
·Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI)
This technology relies on UV energy to adversely alter the DNA structure of viral, fungal, and bacterial organisms. Once the DNA structure is changed, the organism can no longer replicate with ease. And that robs it of its disease-causing power.
There are in-duct UVGI systems and upper-room UVGI systems. In-duct UVGI systems stay mounted inside ventilation ductwork. Their job is to render microbes ineffective so they can’t cause disease. These systems are designed to send out irradiation in all directions so as to increase overall effectiveness. Typical UVGI systems have UV lamps installed downstream of the drain pan and coiling coil.
By comparison, upper-room or upper-air UVGI systems focus on obliterating microbes from regular rooms. You can install such a system in the basement. The system features lamp fixtures suspended from the room’s ceiling. But the lamps can also be position on walls.
These systems are installed at least 7 feet above the floor to protect the room’s occupants against irradiation. To improve their overall effectiveness, some upper-room systems use a fan that ensures the air stays properly mixed. Low-velocity floor or ceiling fans can also help improve air mixing for this system.
But while you can use an upper room UVGI system in the basement, it won’t remove particulates.
Fortunately, you can buy standalone purifier that uses UV energy to sterilize pathogens. Choose a unit featuring UV radiation alongside other filtration mechanisms such as HEPA and carbon filtration.
Keep this in mind, though: UV-based purifiers may generate ozone. Anyone with asthma or allergies should think twice before buying these for use in the basement or anywhere else. One more thing: when buying UV-based options, make sure to pick CARB-rated ones.
·TSS (Thermodynamic Sterilization)
This technology uses heat to extirpate bacterial, mold, dust mites, viruses, and other main allergens. TSS-based purifiers rely on convection to get unfiltered air into the device and purified air out of it.
These machines, unlike typical air purifiers, don’t use filters of any kind. Instead, they have a ceramic core that’s heated up to 200 °C (392 °F). The extremely hot ceramic core wipes out pollutants as they pass through the device.
Airfree air purifiers are an example of air cleaning devices that leverage the TSS technology. I’ve written detailed air purifier reviews that can help you learn more about these air purifiers. Read this article: Best air purifiers without filters to know more.
·PECO (Photo Electrochemical Oxidation)
PECO is an acronym for Photo Electrochemical Oxidation. This technology was developed by Molekule Inc., more specifically by the company’s founder, Dr. Yogi Goswami.
Molekule is said to work much better than HEPA filters. Goswami et al. in this study assert that Molekule air purifiers remove air contaminants that are 1,000 X smaller than what HEPA filters are capable of. But is that true? I’ll answer that after a short while.
So how do PECO purifiers work? According to Molekule, PECO was developed by researchers over a 2-decade period. The technology uses free radicals (OH•) to effect molecular disintegration of air pollutants. Apparently, these free radicals are the same ones used to annihilate cancer cells.
Based on nanotechnology, PECO reportedly destroys particles 1000 times smaller than the smallest particles removed by HEPA filters. The company says that its PECO technology filters down to 0.1 nanometers while HEPA purifiers filter down to 300 nanometers or 0.3 microns. Some of the pollutants removed, according to Molekule, include VOCs, mold spores, viruses, bacteria, and allergens. If that claim is true, then these are the best air purifiers on Earth. But are they?
I’ll be honest with you. I don’t believe Molekule air purifiers are better than True HEPA or medical grade air purifiers. Small wonder I’ve never bought a purifier from this company or reviewed one. I’m not sure these are the best air cleaning solutions for your musty basement.
And I’m not the only one who thinks Molekule purifiers aren’t as great as they’re cracked up to be. Independent tests by the Wirecutter and Consumer Reports found Molekule air purifiers to be among the worst air filters ever made.
In addition, these units were found to be only good for much smaller spaces than what they’re claimed to handle. For instance, CR found that Molekule air was meant to cover 600 square feet. But it only effectively cleaned 100 square feet!
Also, these machines proved to be terrible performers in removing smoke at the lowest setting. On top of that, they were shown to be very poor at removing larger particulates. Besides, their replacement filters are pricey.
But it gets worse. Molekule purifiers have recently been found to emit a potentially carcinogenic compound called formaldehyde. Also, the machines release ozone into the atmosphere. Why use a device that pumps out contents that are potentially more dangerous than the contaminants it should be removing?
I can’t vouch for Molekule, evidently. And you know what? PECO purifiers are supposed to be better and more efficient than PCO filters. Let’s now look at PCO purifiers.
·PCO (Photocatalytic Oxidation)
PCO is an abbreviation for Photocatalytic Oxidation. PCO filtration technology uses UV light as a catalyst during air filtration. Once UV light descends upon titanium dioxide, it (the dioxide) emits electrons which change moisture in the air into hydroxyl radicals (OH•).
These radicals then set upon carbon-based pollutants, destroying the chemical bonds that hold them together. In the end, the contaminants are transformed into harmless compounds mainly CO2 (carbon dioxide) and H2O (water). This is essentially an oxidation reaction. That’s why PCO and PECO device’s name include the word Oxidation.
But how efficient are PCO filters? According to researchers affiliated with Concordia University, PCO filtration systems aren’t excellent. They’re not that efficient. Plus, they produce a potentially harmful pollutant — formaldehyde. And as you might know, formaldehyde can be carcinogenic.
5. Filter Replacement Costs (Be Careful Here!)
For the basement, it’s best to choose a filter-based air purifier. And I’m talking of HEPA or medical-grade filters here. Unfortunately, these machines use replaceable filters. And some of these filters can be insanely expensive.
How would you like paying $300 for a couple filters each year? The trick is to choose an air purifier that uses affordable yet enormously effective HEPA/medical grade filters.
6. CADR and Maximum Area Purified
Be sure this number is high enough for the air cleaner you’re eyeing. Basements are typically large spaces. And you need a machine with a considerably high CADR.
Assuming your room’s square footage is 1,000, you should grab a device with a CADR of about 670. AHAM’s 2/3 Rule is a quick and pretty accurate way to estimate the maximum square footage a purifier will cover. You can use your room’s size to determine the correct CADR for it. And if you have a unit’s CADR number, you can quickly estimate the ideal room size it’ll clean.
Based on this rule, the correct CADR for a room is about 2/3 its size. So, 2/3 x 1000 works out to a CADR of 670. Now, that’s a really powerful and most likely huge air purifier. And the Medify MA-112 comes to mind. I haven’t seen many air purifiers with a CADR of 950. But that’s the unit’s CADR. If you have a unit’s CADR, you can work backward and obtain the optimum room size for it. Just multiply the purifier’s CADR by 1.5. In our example, 670 x 1.5, and the answer is 1,005.
Typically, manufacturers indicate each machine’s recommended maximum coverage. And you should easily find this info from review sites like this one. Or from the manufacturer’s site. Or from product descriptions on Amazon.
Note: not every machine comes with a CADR number. Dyson air purifiers, for instance, don’t. But such companies usually state the maximum area their device purifies.
7. Air Changes Per Hour (ACH)
If your basement isn’t properly ventilated, you need to do two things. One, pay a contractor to improve the room’s ventilation. Two, introduce a powerful air purifier that delivers at least 2-4 air changes every 60 minutes. I’m talking about a high-ACH air purifier here. This number refers to how many times a given purifier circulates the air in a room. The more air circulations a basement purifier demonstrates for a given square footage, the better.
8. Warranty and Money-back Guarantee
Don’t pick something with a warranty of only 6 months. That’d be an indication that the company places little faith in their device. Instead, go for a choice with a 2 to 5-year warranty. But a lifetime warranty would be best.
If a product also provides a money-back guarantee, the better. The typical money-back guarantee with most brands ranges from 30 to 90 days.
9. Noise Produced
What are you using your basement for? Maybe you’re a work-from-home professional and wants a quiet environment to immerse yourself into every day. Or you have a designed an extra bedroom down there for guests. Or perhaps you’ve created a family living room where you and your loved one can relax as you bond. For all these situations, you need a reasonably quiet air purifier.
What if the basement is a children’s playroom or a music recording room for your rock-crazy teen? In that case, noise wouldn’t be much of an issue. In my reviews, I’ll let you know if any of the options in my list roars like a giant plane’s engine.
10. Price: What’s Your Budget Like?
Let’s be honest here. Very few dirt-cheap products deliver much utility. And the same applies to air cleaning devices.
I get it — the temptation to buy the best and cheapest air purifier on offer is overwhelming. But when it comes to cleaning overly demanding spaces such as the basement, the cheapest purifiers just aren’t the best bet.
I suggest that you stay away from sub-$100 options. If you can afford it, grab the IQAir HealthPro Plus or its sibling, the GC MultiGas.
And if you have an extremely large basement, say 2,000 feet, pick the best choice for large basements, the Medify MA-112. In short, be ready to spend between $400 and $750.
Here’s the thing. The best air purifier for your musty basement is the one that offers the most bang for your buck. Hopefully, the basement air purifier reviews you’ve just read made your buying decision easier.
So, What’s the Best Basement Air Purifier?
I’ve pinpointed a couple great options that are worth a look. Each of them should help you considerably improve your basement air quality. For a very large basement, go for the Medify Air MA-112 Super (CADR 950) H13. With its 6 highly effective filters coupled with a humongous CADR (950!), you’ll reclaim your space within a couple days of installing it.
But if you’re looking for a basement odors solution, grab the IQAir GC MultiGas (New Edition). It deploys a whole 12 lbs of activated carbon so you can breathe healthier air as you work, relax, or entertain guests. It offers a coverage of about 450 square feet, just what you need for a small basement.
And for a particulate-laden basement measuring about 1,100 square feet, pick the IQAir HealthPro Plus (New Edition). Like the MultiGas, this device filters the air down to 0.003 microns. It handles particulates very well. And while it’s not as great as the MultiGas for odors elimination, it does a pretty good job.
None of these picks impressed you? No worries. Head over to Amazon and see what they have there.