Cheap Ways to Purify the Air in Your Beijing Apartment post image
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Cheap Ways to Purify the Air in Your Beijing Apartment

Kara and I have lived in Beijing for over 5 years without an air purifier. In the past we would joke about how bad the pollution was, but it was never a huge deal to us. Last year, especially during the January airpocolypse, we started to question whether living in China was worth it for our health. We decided that we definitely needed to take steps to safeguard our health.

First we purchased two Respro masks for going outside when the air is really bad. These were not cheap, but you do get to look like Shredder when you’re wearing one.

Secondly we started to look into purchasing air purifiers for our apartment. The biggest problem was price. If you’ve been on the Beijing forums or talked to other expats you’ve probably heard of BlueAir and IQAir. These are the two brands that are most well known and recognized in Beijing. BlueAir purifiers are available on Amazon.cn for ¥4000-¥7000 depending on the model, IQAir machines are ¥10,000+. Here’s a good post comparing BlueAir, IQAir and another brand Alen.

Even ¥4000 is out of our price range, but we were hesitant to buy a Chinese brand not knowing how effective it was. Luckily last spring a report came out by the Shanghai Consumer Council that tested and rated the effectiveness of a variety of air purifiers. Dr. Richard Saint, from Beijing United Family Hospital translated the report data into English and wrote a post about it. After reading his post and looking at the data I decided to purchase two Lock & Lock air purifiers for ¥1480 each from Amazon.cn.** We’ve been using them for about a week now and are pretty happy with our purchase. They aren’t quite as good as the higher end brands, but I feel much better having something. 

If ¥1500 is still a bit outside of your budget, you’re not doomed. I found a post from Thomas Talhelm describing how to make your own air purifier with a HEPA air filter and a box fan. A quick search on Amazon showed me that you can purchase a filter and fan for less than ¥300 total. 

Final note, we joke about how living in Beijing is like smoking a pack of cigarettes every day, but according to this article living here is only like smoking ONE cigarette a WEEK. Disappointing isn’t it. 

**The nice thing about Amazon is that you can use a US credit card to make your purchase. I use the Google Chrome browser and translate each page to English which works really well.

photo credit: Gordon McMullan via photopin cc

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