IQAir HealthPro Plus
Cleanest air filter
Many of us live in environments or buildings where air quality is poor or downright unhealthy, and many airborne pollutants and allergens end up in in our lungs. Depending on your sensitivity, age and other factors, what you can’t see (bacteria, pet allergens, mold spores, dust, pollen, volatile organic compounds (VOCs), etc.) can hurt you. The smaller the particulate, the easier it can get into your lungs and cause problems.
I was introduced to the HealthPro Plus by my partner, who suffers from bad asthma and allergies. She had been using one for a couple of years and has come to depend on it to keep her bedroom in a breathable state. I got one for my place and immediately noticed the difference, from particulate in the air to the amount of dust collecting on surfaces. I had been using another mass market HEPA filter, but apparently it hadn’t been doing a thorough job at all (I live in an urban environment with rather poor air quality).
The HealthPro Plus is not just any air filter. From IQAir site: “IQAir’s HyperHEPA filtration is tested and certified to filter ultra-fine pollution particles down to 0.003 microns in size with a guaranteed minimum efficiency of over 99.5%. This is 100 times smaller than what is achieved with ordinary air filtration technology and 10 times smaller than a virus.”
It draws dirty air in through vents in the bottom, passing the air through a prefilter, then an activated carbon gas and odor cartridge, then finally up through the cleanroom-grade “HyperHEPA” filter and out through dispersal vents in the top.
The control panel allows you to set a variety of settings and monitor filter life (which varies widely based on usage). There are 6 fan speed settings, from 40 cfm (cubic feet per minute) to a cranking 240 cfm. You can do the math and figure out how many times per hour the HealthPro Plus can cycle all of the air in the room. It’s surprisingly quiet at the lowest setting, and sounds a bit like an oncoming tornado at the top setting.
The “Plus” in the name IQAir HealthPro Plus refers to the Plus’s chemical and odor filtering capability. Standard HealthPros and HealthPro Compact do not carry the IQAir V5-Cell Gas & Odor cartridge, but a standard HealthPro can be upgraded with a V5-Cell. I like having the The V-5 Cell installed, knowing that there are 5+ pounds of activated carbon and alumina based potassium permanganate mix capturing volatile organic compounds (VOC’s), odors and chemicals.
It is also worth noting that IQAir – a 45+ year old Swiss company – is very responsive, and that the unit comes with a 5 year warranty. I had a small issue with my power supply and I was able to call IQAir and reach someone who handled the return efficiently. They even FedEx’d me shipping materials and overnighted the unit back to me.
I can only point out two obvious downsides to the HealthPro Plus. One is that it’s expensive – it is more than twice the cost of most other high end systems on the market (though worth the money in my opinion), and replacement filters are also somewhat pricey. The second is that it is another large beige box in an age of too many beige boxes. Placing it aesthetically in the room while also allowing for maximum air exchange can take some finesse (there is also a compact model). If you’re interested in filtration for your whole house, IQAir makes air purification systems (http://www.iqair.com/residential/wholehouseairpurifiers/) that connect to HVAC which are very well reviewed.
I did a bunch of research on air purification systems before buying one, and among everything I’ve seen the HealthPro Plus always came out on top.10/19/10
(A longer and extensive review can be found here. --OH — editors)