Air Your Differences Survey Finds Consumers Misinformed On Indoor Air Cleaning Options
Contact: Nikki Krueger
Homeowners Widely Prefer Whole-Home Air Cleaners But Often Purchase Portables, Mistakenly Thinking Them Less Expensive to Operate.
Madison, Wis. (May 16, 2006) -- Our mild, wet winter and early spring has increased pollen levels across the country, creating an early and aggressive allergy season - one of the worst in years for the millions of Americans who suffer from allergies and asthma and keeping many inside the house this spring.
Yet, the air inside the house is not always better. Houses today are often better sealed, keeping pollen outside but trapping dust, pet dander, smoke and other allergens inside and aggravating those same allergy and asthma symptoms. So what are Americans doing about their indoor air? Aprilaire recently commissioned a study of indoor air quality problems and what consumers are doing about them.
The study, Air Your Differences, conducted by Aprilaire and Harris Interactive in April, 2006, looks at current usage and perceptions of indoor air cleaning systems, including portable or one-room air cleaners and whole-home air cleaning systems among U.S. homeowners. The results reveal a significant gap in knowledge about energy costs, total annual costs and maintenance required on whole-home units - a gap that when closed may help allergy/asthma sufferers - and all homeowners - save money while further improving their indoor air quality throughout the home with better efficiency and performance.
"Homeowners are clearly concerned about air quality and are looking for the right solution in a market of conflicting messages," said Jon Paulos, Product Manager, Aprilaire. "We wanted to find out what consumers know and help them make the smartest decision in choosing an air cleaning solution. Improving not only air quality, but also quality of life, was the driving force behind conducting the Air Your Differences survey."
The study found that nearly one-third (27%) of homeowners own some type of air cleaner, either portable or whole-home, to imporve the general air quality in the home.Of those homeowners, more than two-thirds (69%) have family members with allergies and 21 percent have family members with asthma. Sixty-nine percent have pets in the home and 24 percent have someone who smokes in the home.
Top reasons for purchasing an air cleaner include:
- To improve the general quality of air in their homes (47%)
- To reduce dust within the home (42%)
- To relieve symptoms of allergies (38%)
Where the Problem Lies
Among homeowners who own at least one type of air cleaner, 72 percent believe whole-home units are the most effective, most quiet (64%) and easiest to operate constantly (52%). However, they often mistakenly believe the portables are less expensive to operate (62%), less expensive to maintain (63%) and easier to maintain (64%). The result is that, though they believe whole-home units are superior, only 26 percent chose a whole-home system.
- Signifcantly, among those who already own and use a whole-home system, 70 percent say they are less expensive to operate, less expensive to maintain (74%) and easiest to maintain (70%)
- With the ability to achieve up to 99 percent efficiency against airborne particles such as tobacco smoke, viruses, bacteria and respirate dust, whole-home air cleaners are more effective agreed 72 percent of homeowners who own at least one air cleaner.
Using A Portable Air Cleaner
The most common reason for choosing a portable was cost - 39 percent believed it would be less expensive. Other reasons included ability to use in specific rooms (10%) or unsuitable HVAC systems - no forced air or a very old furnace.
- Among portable unit owners, 43 percent use two or more units with 12 percent using three or four units in a single home
- The vast majority (68%) use their portable systems in the most common living areas including the bedroom or living area (62%)
- Seventy two percent of thos surveyed run portable units every day including 54 percent who run the portable unit 24 hours a day in order to improve their general air quality needs and relieve asthma and allergy symptoms.
Only one out of three (34%) portable owners said they were very satisfied with the unit, although the majority of air cleaner users rely on portable systems. Nearly half of those dissatisfied with portables cited poor performance - or lack thereof, while close to one in five (17%) users said the portable failed to reduce their asthma and allergy symptoms. Other reasons included noise, cost and durability (no longer works).
Using A Whole-Home Air Cleaner
A whole-home air cleaner cleans the air throughout the entire house eliminating the need for multiple units. One third of respondents (33%) selected a whole-home unit for efficiency - ability to clean the entire home, not just a small area
- Thirty one percent noted convenience, ease and aesthetics (fewer things on the floor)
More than three quarters of those satisfied with whole-systems cited performance - "it does a good job of cleaning the air in my home" - making performance (77% of total users) and maitenance (51% of total users) signifcant sources of satisfaction for whole home air cleaner users. Additionally, more than half (51%) said it was easy to maintain filters and one in three (33%) said it was less expensive to operate than portables.
Twenty two percent of owners run the fan of their HVAC system continuously to move clean air through the home allowing all of the air in the home to filter through their system nearly five times daily. In fact, 33 percent of consumers rely on whole home air cleaners for efficiency in cleaning the entire home of allergens - not just small areas. Thirty one percent of homeowners select whole home air cleaners for cenvenience alone.
Additional findings showed:
Thirty percent keep the fan on only during certain seasons
Nineteen percent turn on the fan whenver the heat or AC is not running
Other Methods/Costs to Control Allergy & Asthma Symptoms
- Two out of three sufferers (67%) use over-the-counter medications and 60 percent use prescription medications
- Other remedies include allergy shots, acupuncture, diet and elimination of pets or smoke
- Nearly half (43%) spend over $100 per year on medications, and nearly one in five (18%) spend between $200 and $500 per year. Nearly 10 percent spend $500 or more per year
- Six percent spend more than $500 per year on medical or holistic (such as acupuncture) treatments
Aprilaire Products Reflect Fresh Ideas for Indoor Air
Having invented the whole-home media air cleaner, Aprilaire set a new standard when it introduced its high-efficiency electronic air cleaner, which is the only whole home air cleaner that effectively removes dirt, allergens, bacteria and virus sized particles from interior environments.
Part of an entire line of indoor air quality products that are each the best in their categories, when installed together they set a new standard for intuitive use, performance and reliability. Aprilaire products enhance comfort, health and energy efficiency.
Aprilaire has been a brand leader in the indoor air quality industry since 1954 when it introduced the first evaporative, flow-through humidifier. Owned by Research Products Corporation, it offers Aprilaire Intelligent Solutions for Indoor Environments - an integrated group of air quality enhancement products designed to work together with residential and light commercial heating and cooling systems. Aprilaire brand products are sold through and installed by HVAC contractors across the United States and Canada.