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Sizing Table

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Look for links to printable pdf  literature in equipment specifications sections, above in this column, & on site map.

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AIR CLEANERS SIZING TABLE
for Ambient Air Cleaning

The term "ambient air cleaning", as used on this website, is the process of cleaning all the indoor air in the room or facility where there is an air quality issue.  This is in contrast to the term "source capture" which refers to capturing air contaminants at their source of emission before they disperse throughout the room or facility air.

The objective is to provide enough air cleaning capacity so as to clean the air at least as fast, if not faster, than the contaminants are being emitted into the air.  In other words, the faster contaminants are emitted into the air, the faster the air needs to be cleaned.  This translates into cleaning the air more frequently or more times, each hour.  The rule of thumb typically used to match the air cleaning capacity to the air contaminant severity and ensure that the air cleaner(s) do not become overwhelmed by air contaminant emissions is illustrated in the following table.

Air Cleaner Sizing "Rule of Thumb"
Severity of
Air Contamination
Typical
Environment
Frequency of
Air Filtration
Light Residential filter all the air
4-6 times each hour
Moderate Commercial filter all the air
8 times each hour
Heavy Industrial filter all the air
10 times each hour
Critical Medical Isolation filter all the air
12 times each hour

The frequency of air filtration is commonly known as air changes per hour (ACH).  The level of air cleaning capacity is usually designated in terms of cubic feet of air cleaned per minute (CFM) or delivered1 CFM.  The amount of CFM required from the air cleaning equipment depends on the volume of air to be cleaned in the facility and the ACH required to deal with the air contamination severity.

  • How to determine total delivered airflow needed
    The table below provides an indication of the volume of air to allocate to each air cleaner in order to achieve the desired ACH.   For instance, if it is determined that an ACH of 8 facility air filtrations per hour is necessary, and, the volume of air in the facility to be cleaned is 3,750 cubic feet, then the desired amount of filtered airflow from the air cleaning equipment is 500 CFM.  Once this CFM number is determined, it is possible to select appropriate equipment to deal with the air quality issues.  This CFM number represents the total amount of air cleaning CFM required, not necessarily the amount of CFM for one particular air cleaner.  In other words, in the example just given, 500 CFM is needed, but if the air purifier being considered will only provide 250 CFM, then two air purifiers are necessary to provide the required amount of total filtered airflow.

  • How to determine the area size a single air cleaner will filter
    If you have a particular air cleaner in mind and would like to know the size area that it will clean, first determine the delivered airflow in CFM for the air cleaner from it's specifications.  This is generally available from the product literature.  Scroll down the left column of the following table to the CFM figure closest but less than the delivered airflow of the selected machine.  Next, look at the volume of air corresponding to the CFM in the table.  Divide the volume by the ceiling height of the room to determine the area in square feet.

Volume of Air per Machine vs. Contamination Levels (60Hz electric)2

Contamination Level: Lightest Lighter Light Moderate Heavy Hospital Isolation Hospital Operating Room
Recommended ACH: 2
(every 30 minutes)
4
(every 15 minutes)
6
(every 10 minutes)
8
(every 7.5 minutes)
10
(every 6 minutes)
12
(every 5 minutes)
25
(every 2.4 minutes)
Air Cleaner airflow
(delivered1 CFM)
Volume of air (cubic feet) allocated to an individual air cleaner
 with delivered CFM rating in left column versus desired ACH above.
e.g. air cleaner with 500 CFM delivered airflow will clean 3,750 cuft of air 8 times each hour.

100

3,000

1,500

1,000

750

600

500

240

150

4,500

2,250

1,500

1,125

900

750

360

200

6,000

3,000

2,000

1,500

1,200

1,000

480

250

7,500

3,750

2,500

1,875

1,500

1,250

600

300

9,000

4,500

3,000

2,250

1,800

1,500

720

350

10,500

5,250

3,500

2,625

2,100

1,750

840

400

12,000

6,000

4,000

3,000

2,400

2,000

960

450

13,500

6,750

4,500

3,375

2,700

2,250

1,080

500

15,000

7,500

5,000

3,750

3,000

2,500

1,200

550

16,500

8,250

5,500

4,125

3,300

2,750

1,320

600

18,000

9,000

6,000

4,500

3,600

3,000

1,440

650

19,500

9,750

6,500

4,875

3,900

3,250

1,560

700

21,000

10,500

7,000

5,250

4,200

3,500

1,680

750

22,500

11,250

7,500

5,625

4,500

3,750

1,800

800

24,000

12,000

8,000

6,000

4,800

4,000

1,920

850

25,500

12,750

8,500

6,375

5,100

4,250

2,040

900

27,000

13,500

9,000

6,750

5,400

4,500

2,160

950

28,500

14,250

9,500

7,125

5,700

4,750

2,280

1,000

30,000

15,000

10,000

7,500

6,000

5,000

2,400

1,100

33,000

16,500

11,000

8,250

6,600

5,500

2,640

1,200

36,000

18,000

12,000

9,000

7,200

6,000

2,880

1,300

39,000

19,500

13,000

9,750

7,800

6,500

3,120

1,400

42,000

21,000

14,000

10,500

8,400

7,000

3,360

1,500

45,000

22,500

15,000

11,250

9,000

7,500

3,600

1,600

48,000

24,000

16,000

12,000

9,600

8,000

3,840

1,700

51,000

25,500

17,000

12,750

10,200

8,500

4,080

1,800

54,000

27,000

18,000

13,500

10,800

9,000

4,320

1,900

57,000

28,500

19,000

14,250

11,400

9,500

4,560

2,000

60,000

30,000

20,000

15,000

12,000

10,000

4,800

2,500

75,000

37,500

25,000

18,750

15,000

12,500

6,000

3,000

90,000

45,000

30,000

22,500

18,000

15,000

7,200

3,500

105,000

52,500

35,000

26,250

21,000

17,500

8,400

4,000

120,000

60,000

40,000

30,000

24,000

20,000

9,600

4,500

135,000

67,500

45,000

33,750

27,000

22,500

10,800

5,000

150,000

75,000

50,000

37,500

30,000

25,000

12,000

6,000

180,000

90,000

60,000

45,000

36,000

30,000

14,400

7,000

210,000

105,000

70,000

52,500

42,000

35,000

16,800

8,000

240,000

120,000

80,000

60,000

48,000

40,000

19,200

9,000

270,000

135,000

90,000

67,500

54,000

45,000

21,600

10,000

300,000

150,000

100,000

75,000

60,000

50,000

24,000

15,000

450,000

225,000

150,000

112,500

90,000

75,000

36,000

20,000

600,000

300,000

200,000

150,000

120,000

100,000

48,000

25,000

750,000

375,000

250,000

187,500

150,000

125,000

60,000

30,000

900,000

450,000

300,000

225,000

180,000

150,000

72,000

35,000

1,050,000

525,000

350,000

262,500

210,000

175,000

84,000

40,000

1,200,000

600,000

400,000

300,000

240,000

200,000

96,000

45,000

1,350,000

675,000

450,000

337,500

270,000

225,000

108,000

50,000

1,500,000

750,000

500,000

375,000

300,000

250,000

120,000

 
Notes:
1 IMPORTANT WARNING: Delivered CFM is the rate of air flow through the air cleaner with all filters installed.  Beware, some manufacturers cite 'free flow' CFM or CFM '@0"wg', which refer to the performance of the motor and blower combination only, without any air resistance due to the filters.  Although we only use delivered airflow values, with other vendors, you should always confirm that the figures are delivered and not free flow as nothing should be left to chance.
2 Figures based on 60Hz electricity.  If 50Hz electricity is used to operate air cleaner, reduce CFM and Volumes by 20%.
 

The above table was developed using formulas here.

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Many, but not all models are displayed.  Air Purifiers are available with a variety of electrical options to meet the power standards of most countries.

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