How Do Air Purifiers Work?

While they may seem like a new innovation, air purifiers have been around for more than 200 years. Starting as protective masks for firefighters, today air purifiers have developed the ability to protect you and your family from pollutants in the air.

With allergies and asthma now affecting more than 50 million Americans, concerns about safe indoor air quality have grown rapidly. Americans are looking more than ever for ways to improve indoor air quality. Air purifiers are leading the way in creating cleaner air.

Allergens like smoke, mold spores, pollen, bacteria, viruses, animal hair and other pollutants damage your lungs and your immune system. Unfortunately, most of these irritants are invisible to the naked eye. Air purifiers filter out allergens and pollutants that the human eye can or cannot see. To remove these items, air purifiers usually use filters, electrical attraction, or ozone.

Air filters use fine screens that filter particles out of the circulating air. When air flows into the  Medical Grade Air Purifier, the finer the sieve used, the smaller the particles it traps. The recognized standard for air filters was set by the High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters, which are guaranteed to hold back 99.97% of airborne particles with a size of more than 0.3 micrometers. Micrometers are the standard unit for measuring air particles. Each micrometer is 1 / 25,400 inch. The naked eye cannot see anything so small that pollutants such as bacteria and viruses cannot be recognized. Indoor air conditioning filters only trap particles 10 micrometers or larger in size. HEPA filters remove minor allergens like dust, smoke, chemicals, asbestos, pollen and pet dander.

The more often the air flows through the HEPA filter, the cleaner the air becomes. The room capacity of a HEPA air purifier determines whether the air purifier can meet your air purifying needs. Top brands like Austin Medical Air Purifier provide around 15 air changes per hour in an average room and contain an average of 15 lbs of activated carbon / zeolite mixtures that absorb chemicals and odors.

In addition to the HEPA filter, brands like AllerAir and IQAir offer an optional medical grade UV light system that is used to quickly kill viruses, bacteria and fungi as they enter the air purifier. UV light also protects the HEPA filter from biological and viral contamination.

Electrical attraction is another technology used by air purifiers to trap particles. Three types of air purifiers work with electrical attraction: electrostatic precipitating cleaners, electret filters, and negative ion generators.

Electrostatic cleaners or electronic air purifiers suck in particles with a fan and charge them with a series of high voltage wires. Multiple plates (precipitation cells) carry the opposite electrical charge and attract the contaminants as they pass through the plates. Electronic air purifiers are perfect for those who don’t want to worry about costly HEPA filter replacements. Electrostatic air purifiers from Friedrich remove approx. 95% of all suspended particles and bear low energy costs for you.

Electret filters in air purifiers use synthetic fibers that generate static electricity to attract particles. Electret filters come in a variety of types including plain, pleated, disposable, or reusable. How often the filter needs to be replaced is determined depending on the type of filter required.

Some brands like Blueair combine HEPA technology with their own electrostatic media filter technology that charges the incoming particles instead of the filter. By combining the two unique purification systems, Blueair has created a more effective air purifier.

Negative ion generators or ionic air purifiers use tiny charged wires or needles to create gas molecules with negative charges or ions that cling to particles in the air and collect in the filter. However, many ions end up in the air again and adhere to furnishings and other surfaces, which can be discolored as a result.

Ionic air purifiers only remove certain types of particles and are not always effective against gases, chemicals, or odors. Some ionic air purifiers have been shown to circulate the same dirt particles that they suck in, making them much less effective than traditional air purifiers with HEPA filtration.

Instead of using filters to trap particles, ozone generators use high voltage electrical currents to convert oxygen into ozone, which acts as a powerful oxidizer and molecule

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