Air Purifier Types – Do We Need Air Purifiers?
There are various air purifier types. Just Americans spend an approximately $250 million a year on purchasing air purifiers for their homes.
Because energy-efficient homes trap contaminants inside, your indoor air is often much more polluted than the air outside.
The air inside the house is generally dirtier than the air outside. Moisture can lead to mold and mold spores. Pets shed fur and smokers fill the air with toxins.
Pollen and other outdoor allergens can come in through open doors or windows. Did you know that most Americans spend up to 90 percent of their time indoors?
According to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), indoor pollutant levels may be two to five times higher than they are outdoors and occasionally even 100 times greater!
Your home’s air can be affected by a variety of pollutants including pollen, mold, dust, dust mites, pet dander, and tobacco smoke, just to name a few.
All that results in-house contamination. Concentration usually isn’t anything to worry about, and it will rarely do any harm to a healthy person.
But children and individuals with respiratory or allergy problem can experience difficulties. Reducing the level of contaminants can help alleviate some of these problems and using an air purifier is one way to do it.
Air Purifier Types & Indoor Air Pollutants
Before buying any air purifier, or air cleaner, it helps to have a basic understanding of the types of air pollutants that can often found in homes.
Volatile Organic Compounds
They may be emitted by things like new carpeting, paints, adhesives, varnishes, glues, and disinfectants. To determine whether a household product contains VOCs, look for ingredients like formaldehyde, toluene, chloride, ethylene and benzene.
Some air cleaners are designed to filter VOCs from the air, but others aren’t capable of doing so. If this is a major factor, look for air purifiers with filters that pull VOCs out of the air.
Odors and Gases
They do so using activated carbon filters, which are included with every air purifier and air cleaner that’s on the market today.
Using a process called adsorption and the chemical reaction they force odors and gasses, like tobacco smoke, cooking odors, kitty litter, toxins, aerosols, to become attached.
Those particles can cause problems to people who have asthma or allergies problems.
So it is nature that people want to eliminate those particles from the air. HEPA filters are considered to be the most efficient in removing these particles, which can vary in size considerably but are all microscopic.
The size of airborne particles is measured in microns. One micron equals 1/25,000 of an inch. To be classified as a HEPA filter, a filter must be able to pull 99.97 % of airborne particles that measure as small as 0.3 microns.
Bacteria, viruses, pathogens, and antigens are all microorganisms. Mold falls into this category as well.
Air Purifier Types Filters
Whether it’s called an air purifier or an air cleaner, the most important components of this type of machine are its air filters. Most air purifiers contain at least two air filters.
Some use three or four different air filters. One of the easiest ways to find the right air purifier is by looking for models that have specific types of filters. To do that, learn about the key features of today’s most popular air filters.
Activated Carbon Filters
This type of filter doesnt come alone. It’s often used in pair with HEPA filters and other air filters.
Activated carbon uses a chemical reaction called adsorption to pull odors, gasses, and vapors from the air. The carbon that is found in these filters is treated with oxygen, which forces millions of small openings to develop.
With an increased surface area, an activated carbon filter can pull odors, gasses, and vapors from the air for a very long time. Some activated carbon filters can also pull VOCs from the air.
Ion and Ozone Generators
Although they aren’t technically filters, ion and ozone generators are designed to do the same thing: remove impurities from the air.
However, instead of filtering them out, they just make them cling to surfaces around a room. These generators also often release ozone as a byproduct. This can be problematic because ozone is considered to be a lung irritant.
The same process that is used with ozone and ion generators is used with electrostatic precipitators. The primary difference is that electrostatic precipitators actually filter impurities out of the air too.
However, they can also produce ozone as a byproduct, so air purifiers that use this technology may not be suitable for people with respiratory conditions. The impurities are collected on plates that can be washed, so there’s no need to buy replacement filters.
Charged Media Filters
The description of these filters is almost identical to those of electrostatic precipitators. The main difference is that these filters actually use filters.
They don’t use plates. As a result, it is necessary to change the filter from time to time. One of the best things about these filters is that they can trap extremely microscopic particles.
If large particles are allowed to make contact with sensitive filters, air purifiers and air cleaners won’t work as effectively or as efficiently. That is why the vast majority of these machines have pre-filters as well.
A prefilter’s job is to pull larger particles from the air to keep them from being passed along to HEPA filters and other types of filters.
They are typically made out of woven nylon or foam. In most cases, they can be cleaned again and again.
Antibacterial and Germicidal Filters
The only way to eliminate a huge percentage of germs and bacteria from the air is by purchasing an air purifier that includes antibacterial or germicidal filters.
Sometimes, this technology involves the use of UV rays. Other times, HEPA filters are treated with specialized agents that kill bacteria, germs, and other microorganisms.
To successfully pull at least 99.97 % of particles from the air as small as 0.3 microns it’s crucial to buy an air purifier that uses HEPA filter.
High-efficiency particulate air filters, or HEPA filters, were originally designed to remove radioactive dust particles from the air. However, all HEPA filters are not created equal. The higher the area is, the more efficient a HEPA filter is.
This hepa silent filters are now able to remove 99.97% airborne particles which are as small as 0.1 microns. That makes possible even removing viruses from air. It is amazing how technology advances. Some air purifiers which use this technology are Blueair and IQAir.
Air Purifier Types Categories
There are three main air purifiers categories available:
- Whole-house air cleaners
- Whole-house air filters
- Portable air purifiers.
Whole-House Air Cleaners
Whole-house air cleaners are installed directly onto a home’s heating and cooling system. However, this is not a job for an average homeowner. A professional must install this type of system.
Also, a home has to have forced-air ducts to make one of these systems work. It should also be noted that whole-house air purifiers often need to be wired directly into a home’s electrical system.
Whole-House Air Filters
An alternative way to clean a lot of the air in a home at one time is by using a whole-house air filter, which is designed to replace a standard furnace filter. This option is somewhat effective, but it doesn’t eliminate nearly as many impurities as other types of air cleaners.
Portable Air Purifiers
Although one portable air purifier is only going to clean the air in one room, it is going to do so in a very effective way. There are many affordable room air purifiers out there, so many people place one in each room.
Industrial Air Purifiers
Industries often use air purifiers that are far more powerful (and expensive) than consumer models.
A company may use them because the manufacturing process requires a contaminant-free environment, or it might pull contaminants out of the air before the factory expels them so it can meet environmental standards.
Some companies use a massive air circulation and filtration system that completely changes over the air in the room ten times per minute.
Other companies use scrubbers, high-density filters, mist collectors and extraction units to decontaminate the air leaving their facilities.
These devices can cost tens of thousands of dollars (a cleanroom facility like Intel’s probably costs millions), so they aren’t suitable for home use.
The energy efficiency of an air purifier can be gauged by considering how many watts of power it uses.
If wattage information is unavailable, just multiply the number of volts by the number of amps.
Options range from air cleaners that operate on around 50 watts to models that run on 200 watts or more when on the highest setting.
ACH (Air Changes per Hour)
The air changes per hour, or ACH is an important characteristic. It reflects the number of times in an hour that an air cleaner exchanges the air in a room. The ACH is usually listed next to the room size.
Stick with air purifiers with ACH ratings of four or higher because they exchange the air at least four times per hour.
CADR (Clean Air Delivery Rate)
This rating is assigned by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers or AHAM. The higher the CADR is, the more efficient an air cleaner is at purifying the air.
Before purchasing an air cleaner, check to see how its filter or filters need to be changed. Also find out the typical cost to replace each filter.
Without doing this research, it’s possible to spend hundreds of extra dollars per year on filters for an air purifier, which can ruin what looked like an otherwise good deal.
Air Purifier Advantages
1. Air purifiers actually clean the air around us by removing microns of 0.3 and larger size to render it 99.9 percent dust free.
2. Some purifiers are designed keeping in mind people who have asthma. Such purifiers can make the air free from all kinds of particles causing allergies and even other impurities.
3. Air purifiers can suck up second-hand smoke and even eliminate any smell in the air.
Air Purifier Disadvantages
1. Air purifiers require constant maintenance and cleaning.
2. Some produce ozone and ions.
3. Some purifiers clean dust but are not helpful with odors. Others remove odors but don’t do much for the dust.
4. Often filters need to be changed which comes at additional cost.
Do I Need Air Purifier?
Using an air purifier to remove impurities and deliver clean air to your home is a great solution for proactively minimizing your risk and exposure to indoor air pollution.
Most allergy and asthma sufferers know that choosing an air purifier with HEPA, or High-Efficiency Particulate Air, filtration is the best choice for controlling airborne irritants such as dust, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, and mold in their homes.