Product Reviews
Take Action
Back
SIGN THE PETITION

Tell Congress: Protect Our Healthcare

We need healthcare that ensures comprehensive, affordable coverage for all consumers. Tell Congress to vote no on repealing our healthcare protections without providing a real replacement plan.
Take Action
Why Do We Have Campaigns?
We're fighting to ensure you and your family can get a fair deal in the marketplace, especially on the choices that matter most: health care, privacy, automobiles, food, finances and more. Join our campaigns and together, we'll hold corporations and lawmakers accountable.

Fan based DIY air purifier

Consumer Reports News: July 15, 2011 12:43 PM

It may seem a little Rube Goldberg-ish but a University of Michigan professor has devised a do-it-yourself air purifier that he claims cuts indoor allergens by 90 percent. Made of a cheap box fan and a furnace filter, the contraption costs far less than some of the pricey air purifiers on the market. “This is a filtration system that you can put together with items from your local hardware store for $25 to $30 and use in your home to cut indoor allergens by about 90 percent,” says Jeffrey E. Terrell, M.D., director of the university’s Sinus Center.

As you can see in his video demonstration, Terrell tapes a 20- by 20-inch whole-house air filter (MERV 13 or higher), which sells for $15, over a 20-inch-square box fan, which you can find for about $12. Using a particle counter, he found that his homemade purifier rid the air of particles nearly as well as an $800 machine.

We haven’t tested Dr. Terrell’s contraption. But by the sheer science of it, the filter-and-fan combination does fulfill the basic definition of an air purifier—pulling air through one or more filters. And the typical fan uses no brushes that could wear away should the fan need to work a bit harder.

If you have a forced-air heating or cooling system, you can replace the existing filter with a whole-house product that dispenses with the cost of a fan. For a single room, however, the do-it-yourself solution is indeed cheaper than the $260 to $300 you’d pay for a top-rated room model in our air purifier Ratings.

We’re about to begin testing of about a dozen more portable air purifiers, assessing their ability to remove dust and smoke and to operate quietly—something no fan-based DIY product can do.

Ed Perratore


E-mail Newsletters

FREE e-mail Newsletters! Choose from cars, safety, health, and more!
Already signed-up?
Manage your newsletters here too.

Appliances News

Cars

Cars Build & Buy Car Buying Service
Save thousands off MSRP with upfront dealer pricing information and a transparent car buying experience.

See your savings

Mobile

Mobile Get Ratings on the go and compare
while you shop

Learn more