Particle removal efficiency of a household portable air cleaner in real-world residences: A single-blind cross-over field study

Jiao Cai, Wei Yu, Baizhan Li, Runming Yao, Tujingwa Zhang, Miao Guo, Han Wang, Zhu Cheng, Jie Xiong, Qingyu Meng, Howard Kipen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Portable air cleaners are commonly used to reduce indoor air particles in China, but few studies have evaluated the treatment efficiency under real living conditions. We aimed to evaluate the efficiency of a portable air cleaner in common residences under normal living conditions. A single-blind cross-over field study was conducted in 20 urban residences in Chongqing, China. In each residence, one portable air cleaner was operated without a high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filter (sham filtration) for the first 48 h and with a HEPA filter (true filtration) for the next 48 h in the living room. Concentrations of PM1.0, PM2.5, respirable suspended particulate matter (RESP), PM10, and total suspended particulate matter (TSP) were measured simultaneously in indoor and ambient outdoor air. Compared to sham filtration, the average concentrations of indoor air particles were significantly lower when true filtration was used according to paired-sample t-tests (all p-values <0.05). However, indoor concentrations of PM2.5 in 16 (80%) residences were still higher than the World Health Organization's (WHO) air quality guideline during true filtration. The removal efficiencies of the portable air cleaners with HEPA filters for these particles were about 40%. The removal efficiencies for PM1.0, PM2.5, and RESP had significant associations with the room volume, but not with the residence district, season, age of the building, floor level of the apartment, or ambient weather. Our results indicate that a portable air cleaner is effective in improving household air quality, but is not enough to ensure the air quality meeting WHO guideline in all real-world residences in polluted areas.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number109464
JournalEnergy and Buildings
StatePublished - Nov 15 2019

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Civil and Structural Engineering
  • Building and Construction
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


  • Air cleaner
  • Indoor air quality
  • Infiltration factor
  • Residences


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