For those who don’t know, an FFU (stands for ‘fan filter unit’) is a type of large size air purifier. Originally created for industrial use, over the past few years FFUs have entered the home market in a big way. They’re a simple and low cost way of getting clean air out to more people.
FFUs seemed like such a great year, last year Smart Air engineer Paddy created Smart Air’s very own FFUs. We call them the Blast and Blast Mini, and launched them in November last year. This seemed great, more ways for people to breathe safe, but what I wasn’t expecting was that this explosion of new purifiers would have its side effects: on the 26th of February, CCTV made a shocking revelation: CCTV randomly picked 13 different FFUs on the market and tested their safety. Shock horror: none of them passed (Chinese video here)
Over 11,500 people have watched the news on platforms such as CCTV, BTV (China Beijing TV Station) and People’s daily; how many of these people already have an FFU in their home? How many more people are out there who haven’t heard this news but have an FFU at home?
Things to watch out for when buying an air purifier
1) FFUs with exposed metal casings can cause electric leakage
To solve this issue, you need to purchase FFUs that have their entire casing spray painted. This layer of paint acts as an insulator to prevent electrical leakage.
How do you tell if the entire casing is painted or not?
The picture below shows an example of an FFU that is only partially coated, the arrow points to the part that is not painted. In most FFUs, only the front cover is painted for one reason: to cut costs.
A spot-check by the Shanghai environmental protection agency reported that this can easily cause electrical leakage, potentially leading to serious bodily harm or even death.
How do you tell if an FFU is fully coated with paint?
Check every surface on your FFU (inside and outside). Make sure every surface has a coating of paint. The Blast and Blast Mini FFUs made by Smart Air are fully coated FFUs, even the interior.
2. Are there any exposed electrical components exposed within the FFU’s body?
Most FFUs place their electronics and switch right next to the motor. This is dangerous since it can lead to electrical leakage. Be sure to check that your FFU has its electrics separated from the motor. The Blast and Blast Mini have a separate electrics box at the rear of the purifier. This keeps those extra wires in a safe place and out of the way!
3. Is there any surge protection installed?
Although rare, it’s still possible a purifier may face an electrical surge. If the machine is unable to handle the sudden surge, it may malfunction or even be a fire hazard. In order to prevent this, you should ensure some form of surge protection is installed in your FFU. Once again, the Blast and Blast Mini has got you covered: the Blasts include a surge protector plug, as well as a safety fuse installed within the purifier. That’s double protection to help you breath easy.
4. Check if your FFU has been certified under the National compulsory quality safety inspection.
Sellers should be able to show you the required documents that certify their products ‘safe to use’. Take a look at the Smart Air Blast and Blast Mini certifications below. These purifiers were sent through to the Beijing Safety Lab to undergo GB4706 safety checks. No sweat, they passed 😉!
When I heard this news, I was shocked. FFUs seemed like a great way to get clean air out to more people in a cost-effective way. What I didn’t expect was that they wouldn’t, in fact, be helping you breathe safe.
Send this post out to anybody you know with an FFU, and help make clean air safer this consumer rights day!
Want to get hold of a Blast?!
Breathe safe (now with added meaning)!
Joseph is a Chemical engineer from Singapore, and works on engineering and testing at Smart Air