We hear so much today about how bad our indoor air is to breathe. Everyone is trying to sell us an air purifier. There are several different kinds of air purifiers out there. Each one claims to be the best. The all accuse the others of being worthless. With all of this going on, who can you believe?
I decided to put together this guide to help you decide what kind of air purifier to buy. The secret that no one wants you to find out, is most air purifiers work. They will remove what they are designed to remove. You have to ask yourself “What do I want my air purifier to do?” Ask yourself these questions to help you get started.
Do I have allergies, asthma, or other health problem?
Do I need to get rid of mold, chemicals, or odors?
Do I need to get rid of allergy causing particles?
Do I just want to breathe cleaner air?
These questions will help you decide what you want your air purifier to do. Go ahead and answer these questions. Write them down, I’ll wait.
You’re back. Good. Now that you know what you want your air purifier to do, it is time to match your needs to the proper technology. I am listing the major kinds of air purifiers (in no particular order) followed by a brief description.
HEPA filters are a type of media filter. It is made by randomly arranging fibers (usually fiberglass) into a mat. The mat is then folded and pleated to the desired size. In many air purifiers, air will go through several different layers of the mat. These types of filters are excellent for removing particles from the air. The particles removed are common allergens like pollen, dander, and dust.
These filters can remove 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns. A micron is one millionth of a meter. For comparison, a hair on your head is about 80 microns. In order for these filters to work air must be forced through the filter so a strong fan is a must. This kind of filter will work great for allergy and asthma sufferers.
Activated carbon in nothing more than specially treated charcoal. After charcoal is created it is treated with chemicals or steam under high temperatures to activate it. This forms millions of tiny holes and greatly increases the surface area. This is what we want because the carbon is highly chemically reactive. A chemical reaction occurs between chemicals in the air and the carbon permanently bonding the chemicals to the carbon.
These filters are great at removing odors and chemicals from the air. They are a good choice for someone who needs smells removed from their house. uv air purifier in Wildwood, MO A person with Multiple Chemical Sensitivities will also need an activated carbon filter to remove all the chemicals in the air.
Ionic Filters or Negative Ion Generators
Ionic air filters use electricity to charge air molecules. The charged molecules are called ions, hence the name “ionic.” The ions are released into the surrounding air. They travel around and collide with other particles. The charge causes the particles to stick to each other. Eventually, they become so big and heavy they fall to the floor. They will also stick to walls, ceilings, or furniture.
These purifiers work well for particles but they do not work well for chemicals and odors. They are good for someone who is looking for allergy and asthma relief.
Electrostatic precipitators work in much the same way as ionic air purifiers. Air passes over ionizing wires that charge the particles in the air. With these filters, however, the charged particles then go over metal collector plates. These collector plates attract the particles in the air and permanently remove them.
These filters do a good job of removing particles and smoke from the air. They are good for people with allergies and asthma. These filters don’t do a good job of removing chemicals and odors, so if you need this, get a different filter.
A relative newcomer to air purifiers, UV light has been used for years in hospitals, doctor’s offices, and dentist offices to sterilize instruments. UV light’s main purpose is to kill biological organisms. It can kill germs, bacteria, and viruses. The organisms must pass through the light in order for it to work, so these need to have a fan to move air through the machine.
They do a great job of preventing disease and the spread of germs. They do a horrible job of removing particles, chemicals, and odors. UV light is often used together with one or more of the other technologies. Someone worried about getting sick and wanting to kill the germs and bacteria in the air will like this.
Like the name says, ozone generators produce ozone. This is a very controversial type of air purifier. On one hand, ozone does a good job of removing odors. On the other hand, ozone can damage your lungs if you breathe high concentrations of it. The problem is that removing odors from the air requires a high concentration of ozone.
These will remove odors, but not much else. They do an awful job of removing particles, chemicals, and biological organisms. The only people who will benefit from these are people needing heavy duty odor removal. They are commonly used by bars, restaurants, and hotels to remove smoke and food smells.
This is important. If you decide to use one of these, make sure to follow these two recommendations. First, only use it in an unoccupied room. Second, air the room out before using it.
These are the six main types of air filters available in room air purifiers. Many air purifiers combine one or more of these filters together. I think that for most of you reading this, a good quality combination HEPA and activated carbon air cleaner will work best.
Whichever kind of air purifier you decide to buy, read as many reviews as possible. Try to find unbiased, high quality ones. This will help you to decide on the best air purifier for you.