This news has been received from:

All trademarks, copyrights, videos, photos and logos are owned by respective news sources. News stories, videos and live streams are from trusted sources.

Nicole Karlis September 16, 2020 11:27PM (UTC)

Do-it-yourself culture usually involves hobbyists tinkering around as a means of creating a fun diversion: Making jam, knitting, or building furniture, perhaps. But as the West Coast chokes in apocalyptic wildfire smoke, a more dystopian hobbyist project has been gaining traction.

Meet the DIY air purifier.


Google searches for "DIY air purifier" skyrocketed in the last month, a majority of them from California, Oregon and Washington. Search the hashtag #diyairpurifier on Instagram and Twitter, and you'll find photos of hacked-together box fans and filtration tools. Unlike baking your own bread, building your own air purifier is a project many are turning to as a means of survival, as the air quality index (AQI) has lingered in the "hazardous" range for days or even weeks for many West Coast citizens. And in cities like Portland, the descent of the wildfire smoke made industrial air filtration appliances hard to find, as residents bought out local supplies.

Roxy Rosen, who lives in Pacifica, California, built her own air purifier and posted about it on Instagram. In an interview with Salon, she said she turned to the project because she found that commercial air purifiers didn't work as well. After Rosen bought an air sensor to see herself what the air quality in her neighborhood and house was like, she found that commercial ones weren't working. 

"I tried a Honeywell, a Molekule, a little tiny mini air purifier and they couldn't really do a good job, and then I did more research," Rosen told Salon. "I ended up getting the Blue Air air filter which does a pretty good job up to about 300 or 400 square feet, but a lot of these models can do a room — they can't do a whole house."


Rosen said she'd still walk through the house with her air quality sensor and find bad air in the house, which is when she got the idea to build her own by taping a Filtrete 25x20x1 HEPA filter to a fan.

"It cleaned the air so fast,"Rosen said. "It was more powerful than these commercial ones."

Rosen now has a few of them in her house.


"One of my friends in LA was suffering really badly, they've got it really bad right now, so yesterday I coached her on how to do this at her house with her old box fan, and she put it together and got it going," Rosen said. "I got a text from her then around 10 o'clock at night. She was like, 'It's great, it's helped so much.'"


Experts in the air quality world agree with what Rosen found to be true — specifically, that the DIY purifiers can work just as well as industrial ones, if not better.

"The data on DIY purifiers is very clear: they work," Thomas Talhelm, Associate Professor of Behavioral Science at University of Chicago Booth School of Business told Vice. "They can even rival the $1,000 purifiers."

Another reason behind the trend is that popular and affordable air purifiers made by companies like Honeywell, Vornado and Holmes are sold out at many hardware stores like True Value and Home Depot. The shortage isn't because of the wildfires, but because of COVID-19. As reported by Fortune magazine, in July, leaders in the air filter industry warned about an air filter shortage. They noted that if the Centers for Disease and Control made it a regulatory requirement for large indoor spaces to use MERV-13 rated air filters — a filter rating that is the best for reducing contaminants — the industry would not be able to meet the demand.


As reported by Air Conditioning, Heating & Refrigeration News, there is a bit of a debate as to whether the so-called shortage is actually a shortage or just a production delay. "Most higher-MERV filters use electrostatically charged meltblown synthetics, the same as N-95 masks," editor Ted Craig writes. "This means the filters being prescribed for buildings and the masks required for hospitals are competing with each other." 

The shortage of air purifiers and filters extends beyond the West Coast. In Massachusetts, NBC Boston reported that a school has delayed in-person learning because of an air purifier shortage.

Cost is another reason many have turned to DIY air purifiers. In Oakland, California, organizers like Tracey Corder have been crowd-funding for the cost of air purifiers to give them to people who cannot afford them.


"We're still in a pandemic. People have lost their jobs. There's a loss of wages," Corder told Marketplace. "And it's a pandemic that targets our respiratory system, so this only makes it worse."

In the future, the market for air purifiers is only expected to grow. According to a market report, the space is "anticipated to be driven by the rising prevalence of airborne diseases along with rising pollution levels in urban areas."

That means that even for those who don't live on the West Coast, purchasing an air purifier or making your own may be a good idea.

Nicole Karlis

Nicole Karlis is a staff writer at Salon. She covers health, science, tech and gender politics. Tweet her @nicolekarlis.

MORE FROM Nicole Karlis

News Source:

Tags: covid 19 furthering wildfire smoke the west coast nicole karlis air purifiers air quality

French Open Gets off to Chilly Start

Next News:

Single-engine plane with 1 person on board crashes off Santa Barbara coast, authorities say

SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (KABC) -- A single-engine plane with one person on board crashed near the Santa Barbara County coast Sunday morning, authorities say.

Mike Eliason, a public information officer for Santa Barbara County Fire, said someone reported that they saw a single-engine aircraft descend rapidly shortly after taking off from Santa Barbara Airport around 7 a.m. Eliason says the person did not see an impact.

Officials with Santa Barbara County Fire, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Santa Barbara Harbor Patrol are searching the area near Goleta Beach with boats and helicopters.

The condition of the pilot of the Cessna 182 Skylane was not immediately known.

The Federal Aviation Administration and the National Transportation Safety Board will investigate to determine the cause of the crash.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Other News

  • Escape the West Coast with this Utah Road Trip
  • De Blasios staff can no longer stop him making complete fool of himself
  • Wildfire Smoke From Napa Valley Extends Bay Area Spare-the-Air Alert Through Monday
  • Popular West Hollywood gay bar Gold Coast closing after 40 years
  • California wildfire smoke may cause 3,000 premature deaths, according to new research
  • Spare the Air Alert issued for Bay Area until Monday due to smoke from Glass Fire
  • Eagles cant stop making mistakes, scrap to tie against Bengals
  • Smoky, hazy skies return to Bay Area due to new wildfire burning in Napa County
  • Mitchell Trubisky somehow flies downfield for a 45-yard run (Video)
  • 10 ways to get a 2nd coronavirus stimulus check by DIY
  • State Trooper Knocked Unconscious While Making Arrest In Ocean City, Maryland During H20i Car Rally
  • Scorching temperatures, smoky skies predicted this week, National Weather Service says
  • New York Yankees DJ LeMahieu on the verge of making history
  • LeBron James will have more NBA Finals appearances than more than half of the teams in the league
  • Fire breaks out in Napa as forecasters predict hot, smoky week
  • Betting against coronavirus: A poker champion on how to win with an uncertain hand
  • Breathe easier during wildfires with a DIY air purifier
  • Clear The Air At Home And On-The-Go With These Air Purifiers
  • Celebrity chef Matt Preston shares his foolproof tips for making hummus at home - including soaking the chickpeas overnight and blitzing them with cold water