Frequently Asked Questions

Wildfire FAQ's

How Soon Can I Get My Order?

We’re very concerned about the twin challenges of COVID-19 and western state wildfires. We are doing everything we can to meet strong demand. Please see product pages for individual ship dates. Once your order ships from our facility, you will receive an email with a link to track your shipment. Depending on the region, 1 to 2-day delays may occur for both normal and expedited shipping. FedEx Ground, our shipping partner, is reporting delays in certain areas of California, Oregon, and Washington related to safety concerns for their teammates. In the linked table below, select the green FedEx Ground Cities & States or FedEx Ground ZIP Codes tab to see if your city is impacted. Click here to download affected cities, states, and ZIP Codes. Note: Orders must be entered before 12:00 pm (noon) CST on weekdays to ship that day.

Which Purifiers Do I Need For Wildfire Smoke Protection?

You need a purifier that is properly sized to the room where you plan to place it so it can clean the entire volume of the room. Next, you need a True HEPA filter with activated carbon, which acts like a sponge to absorb smoke. The filter’s HEPA material captures dangerous fine particulate matter that can trigger allergic reactions and respiratory problems while activated carbon absorbs harmful gasses and chemicals such as Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs).

Thus, the highest air flow and the largest absorption capacity the better.

Here are the Alen models ranked in order of capacity for smoke absorption (most to least activated carbon)

  1. BreatheSmart 75i with B7 Fresh filter
  2. BreatheSmart FIT50 with FF50 Silver Carbon (VOC filter)
  3. BreatheSmart Classic with Fresh Plus BF35 Silver Filter
  4. BreatheSmart 45i or FLEX with B4 Fresh HEPA/FL40-Silver Carbon Filter

Shop all of Alen’s Wildfire Purifiers and Filters HERE.

Note: Each unit comes with your choice of filter installed. If you are experiencing heavy smoke, we suggest purchasing a spare filter because the amount of absorption you may need depends on how much smoke needs to be absorbed. Every situation is unique, so it is difficult to know when the carbon will be fully saturated.

What's The Main Difference Between Your Purifiers?

First, air purifiers work on a room by room by basis. They are sized for the volume of air to clean in each room.

Second, many Alen purifiers feature a precision air quality sensor called a Smart Sensor. Though our air purifiers are designed to run 24/7 for a lifetime, some customers want to know their real-time air quality. Our Smart Sensors change a color indicator to show the particle level in a room. Blue is pure while Red or Purple (depending on the unit) is harmful. The Smart Sensor can automatically adjust the unit’s fan speed in Auto mode to optimize air quality. Units with a Smart Sensor include:

  • BreatheSmart 45i
  • BreatheSmart Classic
  • BreatheSmart FIT50
  • BreatheSmart 75i

What Is The Best Way To Get My Questions Answered Given The Urgent Nature Of The Wildfire Situation?

We care deeply about our customers. The best way to contact us is through email, online chat, or by phone at 1-800-630-2396. We are committed to helping every customer during this critical time.

We understand that many of you are making an important and urgent decision about protecting your families. We also understand that there are many air purifier companies making a range of performance claims.

Alen has been in business for 15 years because we provide customers with highly effective products that offer true peace of mind. To back up our commitment to customers, we offer a lifetime warranty on all of our products.

I’m Trying To Place My Order On Alen.com But I Can't Put My Item In The Shopping Cart?

There are number of technical reasons that may cause this issue. Please try the following if you experience this situation:

  • Use another browser
  • Clear your browser history and refresh the page, then try again
  • Remove the Autoship option if you have selected it for your order, then try again

Tips To Protect Indoor Air From Wildfire Smoke

Millions face hazardous air quality from wildfire smoke, including people hundreds of miles from fires. Public health officials recommend staying inside with doors and windows closed. To keep your indoor safe and healthy, follow the tips below.

Want to know your local air quality index? AirNow uses state and federal data to provide accurate, real-time air quality information on an interactive map.

Get A True HEPA Air Purifier
HEPA filtration is the world’s most trusted way to remove harmful particles from the air. It’s why both the CDC and the EPA recommend using HEPA purification protect against smoke’s worst effects. A purifier will effectively remove smoke particles and help improve your wellness all year.

When choosing an air purifier, be sure it’s the right size for your room. Select a purifier with a max coverage area slightly larger than your room, as this figure is based on the unit’s highest fan speed. This way, your purifier can do its job effectively on a lower, quieter speed 24/7.

Avoid unproven and unsafe technology: electrostatic, PECO (photo-electrochemical oxidation), and ionic (ionizer-based) air purifiers are ineffective at removing particles. Ozone-generating purifiers are both ineffective and pose serious health risks

Upgrade your HVAC filter to a higher MERV rating
For home HVAC filters, MERV rating stands for the minimum efficiency reporting value and measures its filtration ability. An average filter has a MERV rating around 8. According to the US Department of Energy, filters with a MERV rating up to 13 can provide additional wildfire smoke protection and still be compatible with most systems.

Tighten Up Your Home
The main idea here is to keep out harmful smoke particles while ensuring you can quickly evacuate if needed. Shut off mechanical ventilation like bathroom or kitchen fans that vent to the outdoors. They create negative pressure and pull air in from outside. If your HVAC system or window air conditioner has a fresh air option, turn it off or close the intake. And if you have cracks or openings around doors or windows and your area has unhealthy or hazardous air quality areas, consider sealing openings to prevent smoke infiltration.

  • Use painters tape around exterior doors and window that do not seal.
  • Close your chimney flue and seal chimney openings with painters tape and plastic.
  • Use wet cloths or towels to cover exterior vents (kitchen, bathroom, chimney)

Create A Clean Room, Especially If Your Home Does Not Have Central AC
According to the EPA, a clean room can help reduce your exposure to dangerous or unhealthy wildfire smoke while indoors. Here is how the EPA’s recommends creating a clean room:

Choose a room. It should be big enough to fit everyone in your household and comfortable to spend time in. A bedroom with an attached bathroom is a good choice.

  • Prevent smoke from entering the room. Close windows and doors in the room, but don’t do anything that makes it hard to get out. If there is an exhaust fan or range hood in the clean room space, only use it for short periods.
  • Stay cool. Run fans, window air conditioners, or central air conditioning. If your HVAC system or window air conditioner has a fresh air option, turn it off or close the intake.
  • Filter the air in the room. Use a portable (HEPA) air cleaner that is the right size for the room. Run the portable air cleaner continuously on the highest fan setting if you can.

See the Indoor Air Filtration fact sheet and EPA’s Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home for more information.

  • Avoid activities that create smoke or other particles indoors, including:
    • Smoking cigarettes, pipes, and cigars.
    • Using gas, propane or wood-burning stoves and furnaces.
    • Spraying aerosol products.
    • Frying or broiling food.
    • Burning candles or incense.
    • Vacuuming, unless you use a vacuum with a HEPA filter.
  • Dust or mop surfaces in the clean room with a damp cloth as needed to keep settled particles from getting back into the air.
  • Spend as much time as possible in the clean room to get the most benefit from it. Avoid exercising while in the clean room to help reduce exposure to any particles that may enter the room.

If You Can't Get A HEPA Purifier, Make A DIY Purifier
If you are experiencing poor air quality and don’t have a purifier or are waiting on yours to arrive, a homemade purifier can help. The New York Times made one by securely taping a standard 20x20 HVAC filter to a 20-inch box fan and. They reported that it cut particulate load by 87%. That’s not nearly as good as the 99.99% possible with True HEPA filtration, but any additional filtration is better than none in adverse conditions.

Choosing Your Air Purifier

What Is the Difference Between Your Pre-Configured Air Purifiers and Your Customizable Options?

If you’ve already done your research and you know exactly which purifier and filters are right for you, then our customizable options will allow you to configure the air purifier that meets your exact specifications. If you’re still a bit lost, our pre-configured options are designed to take the guesswork out of building your own air purifier from scratch. Each pre-configured option is designed with a different set of needs in mind, from allergies to pet odor, and it contains the specific combination of air purifier and filter to fit the job. These options are still customizable from an aesthetic standpoint - you can still choose your own panels - but they are not otherwise customizable.

What Factors Should I Evaluate in My Home in Order to Select the Right Air Purifier?

When you choose the best air purifier to meet your needs, there are two main factors you’ll be considering: room size and air quality concern. Your room size will have perhaps the largest impact on your selection process, since each air purifier is designed to move a different amount of air throughout the room, with the more powerful units covering a larger area. Before choosing your air purifier, measure your room size in square footage and compare it with the listed coverage areas on our different units.

The other factor you’ll want to consider is your air quality concern. Are you worried about odors, allergies, smoke, mold, dust, pet dander, or asthma? Air purifiers and filters vary in the problems they are designed to address. As a general rule, for example, all of our True HEPA filters provide thorough particle filtration, whereas filters with added carbon are better at addressing odors or chemicals. We also have units that meet multiple needs or are more general-purpose.

My Room is Bigger than the Listed Coverage Area of the Unit I Want. Will it Still Do Some Good?

The efficacy of an air purifier is typically measured in air exchanges per hour, or how many times within an hour the air in a room is completely replaced. A rate of six exchanges per hour or more is considered very good and would meet our standards. If your square footage exceeds the listed square footage for your air purifier, it can still clean your room, but the rate at which it can do so decreases. When the air exchanges per hour drop to a certain point, you won’t be receiving all of the benefits of allergen-free, breathable air. For optimal performance, a good rule of thumb is to find an air purifier that can cover more than the square footage of your room.

My apartment is 1500 square feet total, with a living room and a bedroom. Will one air purifier certified for 1500 square feet meet the needs of my entire apartment?

Although your air purifier may still do some good in your entire apartment due to natural air circulation, air purifiers work best in the room they’re placed in. Air purifiers can’t work through walls or doorways, nor can they typically travel up stairs for loft-style apartments. It’s best, then, to get two smaller units and place one in each room. If you can only get one air purifier, place it in the room where you spend the most time, as this is the room that will see the most reliable results. We usually recommend the bedroom, since air quality and allergies can often drastically affect your quality of sleep. Your air purifier is portable and can be moved from room to room as needed, too.

How to Use Your Air Purifier

I’ve Lost My Product Manual. What Can I Do?

Don’t worry about it! Our product manuals are online, and you can always contact us if you need additional help.

In Which Room Should I Put My Air Purifier?

If you only own one air purifier, the ideal place to put the unit is in your bedroom. This is the room in your home where you spend the most time out of each day. An air purifier in the bedroom can contribute to a better night's sleep by reducing the allergy symptoms that make a good night's sleep difficult. In addition, the white and pink noise produced by an air purifier can help you sleep more soundly.

Where Should I Place My Air Purifier?

Try to keep your unit at least one foot away from walls and furniture, and never block the air entrance and exit vents. This will allow air to circulate properly around the room and into the air purifier.

For Tower units, directing the air out into the room is best. Do not direct the clean air at a wall or furniture, as this can interrupt the airflow in the room. For box units that direct air upwards, do not place them under a table or shelf, which can block the airflow. Allowing the airflow to blow to the ceiling is best, as it will circulate along the ceiling and around the room, bringing dirty air back towards the unit.

How Often Should I Run My Air Purifier?

We recommend that you run your air purifier 24 hours a day. Although an air purifier may clean a room up to 95% in only an hour, it can only keep the room clean while it is running. In a home with a HVAC system circulating air, the air coming out of your vents will be significantly dirtier than the air in the room with the air purifier. The filters in HVAC systems in homes or offices are not meant to purify the air for you to breathe, but only to remove the largest dust particles to protect the mechanical operation of the HVAC system. Over time, the HVAC system accumulates dust particles in the vents and ducts. When it turns on, it will be circulating this dust throughout your house. You will notice the best results from your air purifier when it can catch the dust and other particles as your HVAC system runs.

However, if running your air purifier 24 hours a day isn’t practical for you, you can take certain steps to maximize its performance while running it less often. Consider the following example: A unit rated for 750 square feet can reduce the airborne particles by 95% in less than 60 minutes in a room of 375 square feet. For a room rated at the maximum coverage area of the unit, such as 750 square foot room, you must let the unit run for twice as long to clean the air. Once you have run the unit on high and cleaned the air in the room, do not turn it off or the air will quickly return to pre-cleaned levels in as little as 3-4 hours. Instead, you should turn the unit down to speed 2 or 3. This will be high enough to maintain clean air in the room. If you do turn the unit off, then the next time you turn it on, you should follow the same step as if you placed the unit in a new room: turning to the highest speed for at least an hour.

I have two BreatheSmart purifiers. Why do they display air quality colors differently?

This is a common occurrence based on room conditions, placement, and unit features.

The air in each room is not homogeneous, so different pockets of airborne particles (like dust and pollen) circulate to different areas based on activity.

BreatheSmart units also have different numbers of color rings:

  • 75i (5)
  • 45i (4)
  • Classic & FIT50 (3)

Therefore, they have different thresholds for measuring air quality.

If you use a BreatheSmart 75i along with any other BreatheSmart unit, you may notice significantly different air quality readings due to the 75i's more sensitive laser sensor.

The Alen purifiers above utilize our proprietary algorithm to measure your indoor air quality and display precise color-coded ratings. In AUTO mode, the algorithm constantly optimizes your purifier’s performance for exceptionally pure air.

What Speed Should My Purifier Run On?

The speed you use should correspond to the room size that you have placed the unit in. If you get a unit rated up to 750 square feet, this means 750 square feet of coverage on the highest speed. Using it on a lower speed will take longer to clean the room.

Do Air Purifiers Have Any Side Effects?

All of Alen’s air purifiers are non-ozone producing and as such, there won’t be any health consequences or other side effects. All our air purifiers do is circulate the air in the room and filter it, leaving it clean; they will never add anything to the air in your room. If you’re still shopping around for air purifiers, it’s important to note that you should never choose a purifier that emits odors, chemicals, or ozone. These can be harmful, particularly in people who are chemically sensitive.

Does an Air Purifier Cost a lot to Use?

Many people wonder if they’ll notice a big change on their energy bill after they start using their air purifier. Since our purifiers are engineered to be as energy-efficient as possible, you should not notice a significant uptick. HEPA air purifiers typically consume 50 to 200 watts of electricity, which is about the same as a lamp (60 watts) and significantly less than a plasma tv (240 watts). Appliances like your refrigerator, which run continuously at 500-750 watts, will have a much greater impact on your energy consumption.

The other major cost associated with air purifiers is that of replacing the filter. The frequency of filter replacement can vary, but with normal use, you’ll probably be replacing your filter every six months. To save money, consider purchasing multiple filters at once for bulk discounts, or save money with our filter subscription service.

How Many Air Purifiers Do I Need?

Since air purifiers cannot work through walls, there should be one in each room you’d like to focus on. We recommend keeping one unit in the bedroom and one in the most high-traffic area of your home, at minimum. If you have a particularly large living area, you might find it more effective to use two smaller units positioned at opposite ends of the room.

Are Air Purifiers Loud?

In general, Alen air purifiers are notably quiet; however, they will grow louder on higher speeds. If you’re concerned about noise, run your air purifier on high when you’re not in the room, or ask one of our experts about which units are the most quiet. Many people find that they enjoy the white or pink noise from the air purifiers, especially at night.

How Do I Know My Air Purifier is Working?

Many of our air purifiers have monitors that will tell you when they are “ramping up” in response to changes in air quality in the room. When it’s time to change your filter, you may also notice visible particles on the filter. If you suffer from allergies, you should be able to notice the positive effects of fresher air within a day of using your unit.

What is a pre-filter and how does it work, and does my BreatheSmart 75i have one?

Prefilters are the fabric layer that covers the exterior of your filter. Your prefilter is designed to capture larger particles such as dust and hair. Think of your pre-filter as the first line of defense against airborne contaminants.

On the 75i, the prefilter is a white screen material. All other purifiers use a black felt-like material. These prefilters attach to your filter using Velcro-like strips for easy removal and replacement. We recommend cleaning by vacuuming only, but not washing.

Alen pre-filters are now stronger, longer lasting, and easier to clean. Committed to innovation and improvement, we believe durability goes hand-in-hand with purifying performance.

To learn more or upgrade to one of Alen's improved prefilters, click here.

How Do I Know When it’s Time to Change My Filter?

Most of our air purifiers have an electronic indicator that will tell you when it’s time to change your filter. If you are using a model that doesn’t have an indicator, you might notice that your air purifier is working harder than usual, indicating that it’s trying to pull air through a clogged filter. For normal use, expect to change your filter every six months.

How Long Can I Wait After the Indicator Light Comes on Before Changing the Filter?

Change your air filter as soon as possible after your indicator light comes on. As filters become dirty, the air purifier has to work harder and harder to move the air through them, which drastically decreases your air purifier’s effectiveness.

Can I Open My Windows in a Room Where an Air Purifier is Running?

Keeping your windows open for long periods of time may temporarily reduce the effectiveness of your air purifier, but we encourage you to open your windows and mix in some fresh air whenever you like.

I Have a Mold Concern in my Home. Can an Air Purifier Help?

Although air purifiers can reduce the harmful effects of breathing in mold and possibly prevent mold in the future, they cannot eliminate an existing mold problem. Mold can be a dangerous concern, and should be taken seriously and professionally removed prior to purchasing an air purifier.

General FAQs about Air Purifiers and Filters

What are the Current Air Purifier Technologies that are Available?

RECOMMENDED - HEPA Air Purifier: High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) air purifiers utilize the most effective filter technology on the market. Only HEPA air purifiers can remove a significant amount of allergens and pollutants from the air. Alen only offers True HEPA (H13) filters, which capture 99.99% of airborne particles as small as 0.1 microns in size (including aerosolized viruses).

NOT RECOMMENDED – Electrostatic Air Purifier: An electrostatic air purifier does not use a HEPA filter, but rather emits static electricity to attract charged particles within the unit. This internal filtration system has to be cleaned regularly, and over time becomes less efficient.

NOT RECOMMENDED – Ionic Ozone Air Purifier: An ionizer emits positive and negative charges, causing airborne particles to stick together. Ionizers can be effective when used in combination with a HEPA filter. However, when used alone, it is less effective and can produce harmful levels of ozone in the process.

NOT RECOMMENDED – PECO Air Purifier: PECO (photo-electrochemical oxidation) has not proven effective at removing harmful airborne particles in real-world settings. Only one purifier brand uses this method. The New York Times Wirecutter said it “turned in the worst performance on particulates of any purifier, of any size, of any price, that we have tested in the seven years that we have been producing this guide.”

What is the Most Effective Air Purifier Technology?

HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters are proven to be the most effective air purifying technology available today. HEPA air filters were actually designed by the U.S. Military in the 1940s. Today's HEPA filters are used in high-tech clean rooms and hospitals, and they are recommended by the U.S. Environmental Protection Administration (EPA) and Centers for Disease Control (CDC) as means of removing harmful airborne particles. Typical HEPA filtration systems can trap 99.97% of particles larger than 0.3 microns. All Alen Air Purifiers use medical-grade True HEPA (H13) filters, which exceed that standard by capturing 99.99% of airborne particles down to 0.1 microns— including allergens, dust, mold, bacteria, aerosolized viruses, and more.

Used alone, the other air purification technologies are not believed to be potent enough to be an effective, stand-alone solution.

What are VOCs?

The EPA describes Volatile Organic Compounds as chemicals that evaporate at room temperature which are emitted by a wide array of products used in homes––including paints and lacquers, paint strippers, varnishes, cleaning supplies, air fresheners, pesticides, building materials and even furnishings. VOCs are released from products into the home both during use and while stored. According to the EPA, VOCs cause eye, nose and throat irritation, frequent headaches, nausea, and can also damage the liver, kidney and central nervous system.

Can An Air Purifier Remove VOCs?

Many of Alen Corp's air filters include a layer of Activated Carbon. This layer is covered with microscopic cracks and holes that are designed to trap and remove airborne odors, gases and chemicals from cleaning products, personal care items, smoke, cooking odors, spoiled food and more. If your environment contains higher levels of VOCs, view our recommended air purifier for chemicals and vocs.