City Cast

How to Make a DIY Air Purifier

Natalia Aldana
Natalia Aldana
Posted on July 11
Fire and smoke on Tatkin Lake in British Columbia, Canada on July 10, 2023.

A wildfire on Tatkin Lake in British Columbia, Canada on July 10. (BC Wildfire Service/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)

The ongoing fire outbreaks in Canada have sent waves of smoke into the U.S., affecting the Pittsburgh region as recently as June 28. Wildfires aside, many of us live in areas with deteriorating air quality. The Pittsburgh-New Castle-Weirton metro area is the 14th worst area for year-round particle pollution, and Allegheny County received a C grade for ozone air pollution, according to the American Lung Association’s 2023 State of the Air report.

How can you improve the air quality within your home? According to the EPA, though they cannot remove all pollutants, air filters and air purifiers can be an effective way to provide ventilation and sanitize your air at home. They can be pricey, so if buying one isn’t an option right now, or if you’re the DIY type, here’s how you can make an air purifier at home:

What You’ll Need:

  • A fan that has a flat front or back. Box fans are your best bet.
  • A HEPA filter. 20x20x1 will fit most fans. You can purchase these online or at your local store. Look for one with a MERV rating of 10-12, or the highest rating you can find. Avoid the blue or green nylon string filters.
  • Packing tape.

Step 1: Assembly.

Fix the air filter behind the fan. Use your tape to attach the filter to each side of your fan. 

Step 2: Test It Out.

Is air going through the fan? If not, it’s probably a taping issue. Make sure the tape is fully sealed to the frame of the fan to ensure air is not going around.

Step 3: Enjoy.

👀 Are you more of a visual learner? Check out this video from The New York Times.

🎧 Or if you’re an auditory learner, City Cast Pittsburgh’s got the DIY guide for you.

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