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Wildfire smoke and allergies spark air purifier popularity

Air purifier set in a comfortable living room
The BC Centre for Disease Control recommends the use of home air purifiers, especially during wildfire season in B.C. and for those with chronic lung issues, diabetes or heart conditions.

Rebates on select air purifiers available through July 1, 2022

Surprised at how early in the year your eyes start to water and you get the sniffles? Has your town or city joined the growing list of B.C. places affected by wildfire smoke?

There's something in the air here in B.C., and as climate change rolls on, we can expect it to continue.

A 2021 study found that the overall pollen season was already about 20 days longer in North America than it had been in 1990, and that pollen concentrations were up about 21%. Combine that with the increase in wildfire smoke in B.C. – so thick at times that the air quality in several of our cities is among the worst in the world – and it's no surprise that sales of air purifiers are on the rise. Last July, the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) even took the unusual step amid wildfire season to urge British Columbians to be careful around the smoke and buy (or build) an air purifier.

But not all air purifiers are equally effective, not only in filtering allergens and pollutants but also in how efficiently they do the job. The best ones clean the air while also carrying an ENERGY STAR® label that indicates they won't cause a big spike in your energy bills.

Instant $30 rebates on the purchase of select ENERGY STAR room air purifiers will be available at participating retailers between June 3 and July 1, 2022. Visit for details.

What air purifiers do, and how to get one that's right for you

Room air purifiers – also referred to as "room air cleaners" – are portable, electric appliances that remove fine particles, such as pollen and smoke, and sometimes gases from indoor air. BC Hydro research conducted in Spring 2022 found that one third of homes in B.C. have a room air purifier, and the primary reasons for purchasing an air purifier include personal health conditions (such as allergies and asthma), indoor air quality, and wildfire smoke.

Here are a few tips and considerations for shopping for an air purifier:

  • Check the specifications of an air purifier and you'll find the unit's Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR), which measures how quickly the appliance delivers filtered air. The higher the CADR, the more quickly it does its job, and the larger area it can serve.
  • ENERGY STAR room air purifiers deliver a high CADR per watt of energy used and are designed to use less energy – an important attribute for a device that can run many hours and days on end.
  • ENERGY STAR room air purifiers are over 25% more energy-efficient than standard models, and can save 120 kWh/year on electricity bills. While that adds up to a modest $14 annually, the savings over 10 years could be $140.
  • You can get room air purifiers for less than $200, depending on the amount of space you want to purify.
  • A standard non-ENERGY STAR purifier can use more energy than some new refrigerators. Not surprisingly, ENERGY STAR-certified room air purifiers rule the top spots on CNET's 2022 list of best air purifiers.
  • Like so many devices in the home, sizing is key. Buy only the size of purifier you need to clean the room (or rooms) you need, and always look for the ENERGY STAR label.

Looking for ENERGY STAR appliances and products other than air purifiers? Check out BC Hydro's Power Smart Shop to explore, compare and shop for ENERGY STAR appliances and products. For now, there are no air purifiers on the website, but there's a range of other products, from washers and dryers to thermostats.

Have you recently purchased an air purifier or are you planning to buy one soon? If so, we’d like your feedback. Sign up to receive our short survey. Survey participants will have a chance to win one of five $100 gift cards.