Air purifier claims exaggerated

PUBLISHED : Saturday, 16 April, 2011, 12:00am
UPDATED : Saturday, 16 April, 2011, 12:00am


Manufacturers' claims about air purifiers on sale in Hong Kong overstate their cleaning ability by as much as 17 times, tests by the Consumer Council found.

None of the 10 machines tested by the council could clean as big an area as stated, while some also had inadequate insulation, posing a risk of electricity leakage.

The purifiers included seven large models and three small ones ranging in price from HK$629 to HK$4,000.

The exaggeration of the cleaning area was greatest in the smaller models. One purifier made by Giabo claimed it could clean an area of 10 square metres, but in reality could handle just 0.6 of a square metre.

The vice-chairman of the council's publicity and community relations committee, Professor Ron Hui Shu-yuen, said consumers should look at the clean air delivery rate when they buy air purifiers to assess their efficiency. The bigger the number, the better they can clean, he said.

The council found electric insulation in four models unsatisfactory and warned of electric leakage. In others, heat and flame retardant capabilities were also inadequate.

The council also tested 10 electric water heaters and found four did not comply with safety requirements.

One did not come with a drainage hole to let water flow out of the heater, and the designs of the other three were unsatisfactory. 'Water will accumulate in the heater if the drainage hole is not well designed. Water can then make contact with electrical parts inside the heater and cause a short-circuit,' Hui said.

One model failed to stop the temperature from rising when the thermostat failed and water had run out, while two were not properly earthed. The council has received 23 complaints about electric water heaters in the first three months of the year. It received 35 for all of last year.