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Wood burning is the single biggest cause of particle pollution

Recreational wood burning is growing in popularity and is often seen as the centre of social life and relaxation, with many believing it to be environmentally sustainable.

But the shocking truth is that just 8% of wood burning UK homes are responsible for 33% of PM2.5 pollution. Wood burning is now the single biggest cause of particle pollution. According to the British Medical Journal, PM2.5 from wood burning is responsible for around 12,500 deaths a year and that a single log-burning stove in smokeless zones emits more PM2.5 per year than 1,000 petrol cars.

But it’s not just dangerous particles. Wood smoke also contains volatile organic compounds (VOCs) such as 1,3-butadiene and benzene, both of which are carcinogens. Second-hand wood smoke can infiltrate into neighbours’ homes, even if they have their windows and doors closed, and can affect their short-term and long-term health.

Air purifiers are key to protecting you and your family from smoke in your home

You can protect yourself from wood smoke with a powerful fan and two filters (HEPA and Carbon). Smart Air ran two separate open data tests. In a room test with the Sqair HEPA air purifier, all the PM2.5 was removed from the air within the hour. A DIY air purifier was then tested with a carbon filter and within two minutes, nearly all the VOCs were removed from the air.

The “Chemical Warfare” model of the Sqair air purifier comes with both a HEPA filter and a carbon filter and will cover areas up to 40 square meters (on high).

Things to look out for when selecting your air purifier

  • You need a HEPA filter (not HEPA-like). Despite any marketing claims you may see, a HEPA filter will remove 99.5% of particles, including ultra-fine. Please don’t get stumped by claims to capture particles smaller than 0.3 microns, we will explain why in a separate blog.

  • Lots of purifier companies say their purifiers have carbon/charcoal, but their filters only have a slight dusting of carbon on fabric. Sqair carbon filter has 140g of activated charcoal granules

  • The purifier should have a powerful fan which allows it to move more air through the filters. Use our calculators to compare purifiers. You will need your room size and the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) which most purifier companies provide. Please bear in mind that if there is only one CADR figure, it will be for the highest setting. If this will be too noisy for you, write to the company asking them for CADR figures on all settings

  • Avoid purifiers with UV lights, Ozone generators and Ionisers

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