AHAM has been an advocate for indoor air quality and a leader in air cleaner testing and certification for decades. We are encouraged to see indoor air quality drawing increased attention as an important public health issue.
During the height of the COVID-19 pandemic, air cleaners were sometimes in short supply due to extraordinary demand and supply chain challenges. As a result, some people began constructing “do-it-yourself” or DIY air cleaners from box fans and AC or furnace filters. The public should be aware that there is limited testing data available on how well DIY air cleaners filter smoke and common pollutants. There is also limited data available regarding the performance and safety of these DIY projects. Their quality and effectiveness can vary widely based on the materials used and the skill of the person constructing the device.
The home appliance industry is built on innovation, and we appreciate the ingenuity of Americans struggling through supply chain and inventory constraints during the pandemic. While DIY air cleaners could be an adequate temporary measure to improve indoor air quality, AHAM agrees with the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s recent assessment that they should not be used as a permanent alternative to manufactured air cleaners. Supply chain and inventory issues have substantially decreased, and a wide range of effective air cleaners are available.
Safety, along with performance and efficiency, is a pillar of the home appliance industry. Manufactured room air cleaners have been tested and verified, so consumers can be confident they meet necessary performance and safety standards, including in some cases for specific purposes like virus and bacteria reduction. DIY air cleaners, which use fans and filters in ways for which they have not been designed, have not been tested to safety standards and could create safety risks. Consumers who construct a DIY air cleaner should ensure that fan manufacturers have stated in their use and care literature, labeling, or packaging that they support the application and have designed their products for this application.
AHAM believes that all electrical consumer products, especially those in use around children and in schools, should be required to meet or exceed applicable safety standards, such as those published by UL or CSA. Before consumers are encouraged to pursue DIY solutions, it should be confirmed that those solutions meet applicable safety, efficiency and performance standards.