[♪♪♪] [Nil] Mold, bacteria, and viruses. Can pricey purifiers really clean your air? It’s overwhelming. How would you even know which of these works? What’s going on? [Nil] Are you ready to find out the results? Yeah. That’s not good. [Nil] Top brands under the microscope. Your Marketplace starts now. [Nil] We’re on a mission. Investigating your indoor air And testing these five popular air purifiers: Dyson, Honeywell, Blueair, Germguardian and Levoit. Hi, Jeff, so great to meet you. Yeah, good to meet you too. Thanks for doing this. [Nil] And to get it right we’re teaming up with leading indoor air expert and university of Toronto engineering professor Jeff Seigel. This is exciting because you are going to test these filters for us and tell us which ones work the best. How many tests like this have you done? Too many to count, lots and lots and lots. [Nil] This pandemic has us all asking questions about the quality of the air in our homes and if purifiers can actually make a difference. And they have a lot of pretty big claims on these. Some of them are completely false, but a lot of them kind of have a grain of truth, they just don’t turn out to be that important. So, an example of a claim is a lot of people say look at how high the efficiency of this air cleaner is. So, you could have a very high efficiency and a very low flow and that would be a terrible air cleaner. A lot of people rely on those claims. It might be the only thing that’s helping them make their decision. Absolutely. I call it the air cleaner marketing jungle. [Nil]
A marketing jungle with pretty wild claims. And our marketplace fans are in the middle of it! How is it going to fight germs? [Nil] But do they live up to the hype? And does price make a difference. The Dyson the only purifier, heater, and fan to clean a whole room properly. How about this one here? This one has a UV light technology. Kills germs. Yeah, but I’m just not sure about the light. I read something not good about the UV light. I don’t know. I would have to confirm that. [Nil] And can air purifiers actually “kill” or “capture” viruses like COVID? Purifier sales are up right now. So are prices. I’m just guessing the least expensive out of all of these. [Nil] She’s right. Levoit is the cheapest of this lot. The Dyson, most expensive at about $800. And the rest, fall somewhere in the middle in terms of price. I guess my main concern with all of this is how would you even know which of these works and does what it claims to do? It’s overwhelming. [Nil] That’s a good question! Here’s how our test will help answer it. We’re going to burn incense, the concentration is going to be high, and then we’re going to put in these air cleaners to see what would be actual reduction. [Nil] PHD students Amy Li and Bowen Du put the purifiers to work! What we are testing is the clean air delivery rate of these air purifiers. [Nil] Like many portable purifiers, these are fitted with a HEPA filter the gold standard in filters, capable of capturing tiny particles of dust, smoke even ones your eyes can’t see. But if all of these purifiers are equipped with HEPA filters, what sets them apart? We need to have airflow carrying those particles going through the filter. If there is no airflow, it doesn’t really matter how efficient your filter is because it’s not going to capture anything. Right. So that’s why both air flow and efficiency, they’re important. [Nil] So is knowing what’s lurking in our air to begin with! Especially during a pandemic. Hi there, I’m Frank from Verify. How are you? [Nil] Frank Haverkate is a certified air quality consultant. He’ll assess three homes for us. Brenda Nicholls’ Hamilton back-split. She lives here with her son, two cats and a dog. How long have you lived here? Almost thirty years. A lot of upgrades have happened over that time. [Nil] Nikkie Saltz’s downtown Toronto apartment. She’s been renting here for 7 years and is starting to wonder if it’s time to move out. She’s not a smoker but… I frequently come home and my apartment reeks of cigarette smoke. [Nil] And Imro and Bernadette Lieuw’s home, a bungalow in this east Toronto neighbourhood they live here with Imro’s 83-year-old mom. She has a bedroom in the basement. I think it started when my mom developed this cough. I started thinking about the air quality in the house. [Nil] And how has COVID factored into your concerns? Not that much actually. For me it was because I’m so paranoid! And because I’m working from home and the room where I’m working is small, so I even bought an air filter, air purifier, but I don’t know how effective it was. [Nil] You invited us here, the inspections going to happen, how are you feeling, ahead of it? We’re excited. Yeah, we want to know what’s going on. [Nil] Frank’s ready to start! He’s going to be checking Co2 levels which will tell us how much fresh air is or isn’t, coming into the home.
Chemicals in the air, such as VOCs & formaldehyde. Humidity and temperature. Hidden or airborne mold. And proper filtration. While he’s inside we’re keeping our distance and following along on Facetime. So, we’ll have a look at the carbon dioxide monitor that’s been placed… ..yeah that’s not good. So, the house is not getting enough fresh air. You can see here that the C02 or carbon dioxide levels are way over a thousand parts per million, they should be well below 800 ideally. [Imro] Surprising. [Bernadette] It’s scary. [Nil] What are you worried about? [Bernadette] How it will affect us in the long term. [Nil] Like many of us Bernadette is working from home, she’s turned this bedroom into a home office. So, before the assessment starts, we set up a Co2 monitor. In a matter of just 45 minutes, we’re seeing levels hit 1550 parts per million. Frank just said they shouldn’t be higher than 800. Nikki’s working long hours in her apartment, too. Sometimes spending 24 hours straight in here. There’s a lot of dust accumulating in the door frame, so the dust, the pollution from the hallway is making it’s way to the door and getting stuck. It’s also indicating not a lot of fresh air coming. [Nil] So how do we bring more fresh air into our homes? Frank says, open your windows more often. In apartments make sure you feel some air coming through the front door, even when it’s closed. In homes mechanical ventilation systems are a good option and keep your vents on and clean. It’s fairly clogged. [Nil] A lot of times though in condos, the vents make a lot of noise when you flip the switch, but how do I know it’s actually doing something? Yeah, sometimes they make noise and just eat up electricity, but a good very inexpensive test is take a square of toilet paper and hold it up to a vent. If it holds it there or tries to suck it in, then obviously there’s airflow. [Nil] Next, we go from ventilation to filtration. Frank checks the furnace to make sure the air that is circulating is clean. Imro’s all good but Brenda’s, not so much. We move into the furnace. The furnace filter that’s there is not made for this type of cabinet. When air can flow past the filter or over it, it isn’t going to force itself through it. So, this filter in this kind of configuration isn’t doing much of anything. Didn’t know that. [Nil] Frank’s got some advice. Furnace filters can be quite confusing for a lot of people. Change out that cabinet so that you can buy a readily available filter that fits it properly. [Nil] As Frank weaves his way through the home… there it is… ..mold. Here we have a cabinet that seems to have some spotting on it as well which appears to be mold growth. [Nil] Spots on paintings. And books too. [Nil] that mold you saw, Frank, is it dangerous? Or is there– is a little bit okay? Well, I mean, mold-free doesn’t exist, there’s always some mold activity indoors, but it should be more or less similar to outside levels. Too soon to tell, we’d have to look at our laboratory results. [Nil] Back at Imro’s place, down in the basement, no visible mold but they’ve had some leaky pipes, so he collects some samples here too. Before we go we’ve got something for Imro and Bernadette. [Nil] If you had to pick one right now, what would you pick? I like the look of the Dyson. [Nil] You get a Dyson. Wow. [Nil] All three families choose different purifiers to try out. Nikki, the Levoit. I like this one. This to me is like looks like R2-D2, it’s like cute and friendly. -[Nil] Brenda. It says it’s a True HEPA allergen Remover. I’ve heard of Honeywell. [Nil] We’re going to let you take that one and try it out. Alright, we’ll see what happens. [Nil] So, do they pick the best or the worst? We’re about to find out.
Hey Jeff, welcome to our house for the day. [Nil] The professor in-charge drops in and he comes bearing results from our purifier test! So how are air purifiers supposed to work? What should they be doing for me? So, what they should be doing is they should be removing things from the air so that you don’t breathe them. [Nil] The key thing he’s looking for, the clean air delivery rate, the CADR. Jeff says the higher the better. Because you can remove a little bit and it won’t make much difference or you can remove a lot and that’s desirable. [Nil] You’ve tested five for us. So, what did you find? From a cleaning performance perspective, the Blue Air, it’s more than twice as good as any of the other air cleaners. [Nil] Twice as good! The blue air, by far is the best purifier in this bunch. Its clean air delivery rate, more than 550 cubic meters per hour. Wow. Because I remember seeing that one and thinking it’s just a big, ugly cube. That’s always how it goes with men and air purifiers. [Nil] So, what about the rest? Including that $800 Dyson. My money’s on the big boy Dyson. [Nil] Those results are coming up. [Nil] Oh, wow. It’s jumping fast. Look at the other particle counter there. [Nil] And what you can do to keep the air in your home clean. If you have a story you think Marketplace should investigate next, tell us all about it. You’ll find us on email, Twitter, and Facebook. [Nil] This is Your Marketplace. We’re testing air purifiers. So, if we could see what was in this air at a microscopic level, we would see all kinds of things. It’s a chemical soup. [Nil] We’re about to find out how they performed in our test including that sleek Dyson. But in these pandemic times there’s another big question we need Jeff to answer. Can these air purifiers that are sold on the market, can they get rid of the virus? So, the short answer is yes, they can get rid of the virus. The longer answer is that when we’re thinking about COVID-19, we’re really thinking about this multilayer approach. And so, I think about masks, of course, hand-washing, keeping people apart and then air purifiers can if they work and if they’re sized appropriately for the space, they’re in, they can reduce the risk further. [Nil] Jeff also has a warning. There are a lot of air purifiers on the market, ion generators, plasma air cleaners, photo catalytic oxidation. They can emit ozone, which is a respiratory hazard and can cause serious health effects. And we don’t want that in our homes. [Nil] The ones we test, are filter-based. We set them up and bring our marketplace testers back for more results! [Laughter] We’ve now tested five brands. Three of the same models for each one. Including this Honeywell. Are you ready to find out the results? Sure. Honeywell gets an average CADR of 180 cubic meters per hour. So still some cleaning power but a lot less than the blue air. Big difference. So, can I take this one home now? [Nil] Not this time! The Honeywell purifier falls in the middle and costs about 200 dollars. So, I would have expected a little bit better for the money. [Nil] Honeywell did not respond directly to our test results, But says their purifiers are independently tested against international standards. Next. This looks nice. [Nil] Looks nice but how does the Germguardian perform? On average it hits the 200 mark that Jeff recommends for small to midsize rooms. Slightly better than the Honeywell. But what about its claim of killing germs with a built-in UV-light? [Nil] Do we need a UV light? So, I would say that, no, we don’t really need a UV light. [Nil] While UV lights can kill germs, experts say the small dose on this purifier isn’t doing much of anything. You can drop that feature from your list! Germguardian doesn’t give us a straight answer on their UV-light but says its purifiers are independently tested and get rid of over 99% of airborne germs. We’ve got two more to go, the least expensive and the priciest coming up! First, remember the air samples from the homes we assessed? They’re in, and it’s not pretty. This is what indoor air looks like under a microscope.
Cloth fibre, dog dander, human skin cells and mold. The mold we saw on Brenda’s belongings. Turns out, it’s not the air. And that’s a good thing. Wow. I’m totally surprised about that. [Nil] But Imro and Bernadette’s home though pristine and spotless, we find airborne mold and a lot of it. I was hoping it wouldn’t be there. [Nil] It’s not just mold that concerns Jeff. Any and all particles can be bad for our health. If there’s things in our water, we all know how serious that can be. And so indoor air is exactly the same thing. There’s stuff in it and some of that stuff, the more there is, the more harmful it is. [Nil] He says it’s all about source control! So, Jeff’s about to show us how to keep air in our home’s cleaner. The bigger those numbers, the more there’s in the air. [Nil] He sets up particle counters, and takes us room by room. Listen up! These are good tips and most don’t cost a thing. Put the meat on and we’ll see. [Nil] The meat is sizzling, and the numbers are jumping for sure but we’re gonna cook a lot of things, and we gotta eat. What could we possibly do to mitigate it? I know we all like to think about the granite countertops and the nice appliances and so on, but the range hood fan doesn’t cost that much and makes an enormous difference. [Nil] So, number one kitchen purchase should be a fan. Yeah, absolutely. Another thing I do at home is, you know, when I cook, I start using the back burners first. Almost all range hoods work better for the back burners. We keep ours running for 30 minutes to 45 minutes after we’re done cooking. [Nil] Next up, the living room. [Nil] Most people don’t love to vacuum, they do it because they want a clean home. What should we be doing differently? So, we’re wearing a mask for pandemic reasons. It’s not a bad idea to wear a mask. If you have someone who’s compromised, that maybe they shouldn’t be there when you’re vacuuming. Also, people who clean for a living, they get exposed to a ton of things.
And so, I think we should really be thinking PPE and protection for them as well. [Nil] Would keeping windows open as you clean– Is that good or worse? No, absolutely a great idea. [Nil] What’s not a great idea, Jeff says, is using one of these. A lot of people have essential oil diffusers. It’s really seen as a wellness product. In a second or two, you can almost see the mist coming out of it there. Oh, wow. It’s jumping fast. This number is going up amazingly. Look at the other particle counter there. [Nil] It was at seven. It was now at almost 1400. I’m amazed at how big sources they are. [Nil] Jeff sees nothing wrong with essential oils but suggests turning those diffusers off! Next the bedroom, for some surprising advice. This is a pretty typical bedroom humidifier. Again, we’re seeing that reading go up. So, all the minerals in the water, they end up coming out as little particles. In quite high amounts, as you can see here as well. [Nil] But doctors are telling people to use humidifiers. Sometimes the medical community or the aerosol science community don’t communicate very well. So, we probably have to work on that. [Nil] Do you use a humidifier? I do not use a humidifier, because I know what serious particle generators are. Jeff says those who really want one could use distilled water or opt for a steam humidifier. [Nil] Do you really think it’s something you should unplug and put away? I think it’s something you should unplug and put away. Wow. [Nil] And this next tip is a great deal. So, I went to the hardware store, I bought three things, the fan, a pretty good filter, actually, and some tape. And that’s all you need to make an air cleaner. And by you, you mean me. You’re going to put me to work? Absolutely. [Nil] It’s a do-it-yourself purifier. Because of the pandemic it can be tough to find a good one. So, Jeff’s showing us how to make one. So, let’s just see which side is the inlet, which side is the outlet. We’re going to put it on and put the filter on the inlet side. [Nil] Make sure to tape all of the sides tightly so the air flows through the filter and not around it. And there’s another twist. We just made this, it took, I don’t know, five minutes and you’re saying it’s better than some of these devices comparable to others? Yeah, absolutely. [Nil] Not only does this box fan plus filter cost about $70. Jeff’s team tests a similar one in their lab and finds it outperforms two of the purifiers. Which ones? Really? Yeah. Okay, so I’m very surprised. [Nil] That’s coming up next. [Nil] Are you saying all of the experts all of the tests are wrong?
-No, certainly not. [Nil] This is your Marketplace. [Nil] We built our own purifier, costs about 70 bucks. Takes 5 minutes and a similar one outperforms two of these purifiers. Wow. [Nil] What’s the average CADR? The DIY purifier comes in just under 200. The Levoit? Comes in at about 60. That’s really disappointing to me and everyone who gave it 5 stars and it’s a ton of people. [Nil] Levoit says its purifier are top-selling products and this one is made for smaller spaces. That leaves the most expensive purifier in our lot. The Dyson. It’s average CADR? About 140. Which means this DIY purifier actually delivers more clean air than the Dyson! Really? Usually, consumers would think of Dyson as a very good quality. It’s disappointing as a consumer. [Nil] So, we have some questions for Dyson and one of its engineers, David Hill. He’s at the company’s HQ in Malmesbury, England. [Nil] David, the results we’re talking about won’t be news to you, but they will be news to a lot of viewers and customers. Why are some Dyson purifiers not cleaning the air so well? We aren’t engineering our products to specifically have an enormous CADR because we believe that that’s just one metric. [Nil] Our experts say it’s the most important metric. So, are you saying all of the experts all of the tests are wrong and Dyson is right? No, certainly not. I think what we’re trying to do is pull back a little bit from the CADR metric, not everyone needs an enormous CADR, not everyone has huge rooms or incredibly dirty air. Why do you think people should spend $800 on a product when there are cheaper products that clean the air better on the market? I think cleaning the air better is probably, at least, a more holistic view rather than only looking at the CADR metric. Obviously CADR is an important part of purification, but we need that product to sense, to capture, and project. [Nil] Dyson insists its devices do all that offering good value for price and this model has a built-in heater. [Nil] If someone is just looking to clean their air, maybe this isn’t the right device for them. I think we would believe that we’ve designed a good device to purify in anyone’s home. But we’d always encourage people to look at the market and make sure that they’re informed before their purchase decision. [Nil] That is something we can all agree on. But remember: If you’re shopping for an air purifier, check for the CADR. Sometimes listed by feet rather than meters. Now you know. Consider the air…cleared. [♪♪♪] [man] He’s trying to get away. [Engine revs] [David] Has COVID made aggressive driving worse? [man] It’s basically opened the streets up for people that are into this racing culture. [David] A national spot-check. We see aggressive drivers every day. They’re walking away with small fines. What’s wrong with our system? [David] And what fuels some risky driving? It’s a popularity contest. Posting them on YouTube, they’re getting some revenue from that. [David] Keeping our roads safe on Your Marketplace.