All you need is the air that you breathe - just as long as it's been dehumidified, purified, ionised and filtered first
The air in your home is not quite as fresh as you think. In fact, you could be breathing up to 2,000 different airborne pollutants, from stale smoke to pollen to dust-mite droppings. Many pollutants are responsible for causing allergic reactions and triggering asthma. And then there's humidity: too much of which can cause mould and peeling wallpaper, while too little will make furniture cracks and pollen counts rise. Fortunately, there are now any number of different ways to combat these irritants which share our air space.

Dehumidifiers pull moisture from the air (humidifiers, as you would expect, do exactly the opposite). Purifiers remove pollutants and unpleasant odours, while conditioners maintain a comfortable and consistent air temperature. Ionisers create negative ions which enliven a room's air supply by attracting pollutants and dragging them to floor. And, because they remove pollen, they will also greatly alleviate the symptoms of hayfever. You should also look out for High Efficiency Particulate Air (Hepa) filters, which where originally developed by America's Atomic Energy mission to remove radioactive particles from the air. And you never know when that sort of technology will come in handy.

1. Turmix TopAir A three-in-one air treatment unit that combines a humidifier, air purifier and ioniser. It cleans the air and reduces static electricity - a function that is particularly useful if there is a computer in the room. pounds 349. From Air Improvement Centre, 23 Denbigh Street, London SW1 (0171-834 2834).

2. DeLonghi PA 170 Air Purifier An air filter with a multi-stage filtering process. A pre-filter catches large particles, while the Hepa filter cleans up smaller impurities. Then a carbon filter absorbs odours, and an ioniser is on hand to balance out negative ions. pounds 90. For information and stockists call DeLonghi on 0800 626496.

3. Bosch Air Conditioner If appearance is an important factor, then the silver-edition Bosch should be tasteful enough for even the most modern and minimalist of homes. It is also the quietest model in its class, and dehumidifies as well as cools. pounds 600. For information and stockists call Bosch on 01895 838 402.

4. Carrier 5I AKB008 Carrier invented the air conditioner in the Twenties. This may not be the most aesthetically pleasing model on the market, but it is one of the best. There are modes for cooling, heating, fan only and dehumidification. An electrostatic filter combats pollen and dust, while a carbon filter deals with odours. pounds 999. From Air Improvement Centre, as before.

5. Mountain Breeze Aromatherapy Ioniser This dual-action ioniser and oil diffuser, slowly releases aromatherapy essences into the room to help create a clean and calming environment. pounds 25. For information and stockists call 0161 947 3170.

6. Ebac Dehumidifier 2400 Portable dehumidifier with a no-spill easy- access water container. pounds 249.95 from Air Improvement Centre, as before.

7. Honeywell 5010 Hepa The Honeywell can clean all the air in a room, at least four times an hour, drawing in air from all angles to ensure the whole room is cleansed. pounds 109. From John Lewis stores nationwide. n

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