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Types of Air Purifiers

There are various types of air purifiers available in the market today, ranging in size, quality and price.

Basic Air Filtering Purifier: The most basic air purifiers employ the use of a cloth type filter to remove the dust particles. HEPA or High-Efficiency Particulate Arresting filters are the finest filters and can trap 99.97% of the particles in that air. Typically, a fan pulls air through a foam pre-filter designed to remove some larger particles. The air is then forced through the pleated HEPA filter, which is designed to trap most particles. The air might then pass through a carbon filter to remove odors. Sometimes the carbon filter will take the place of the pre-filter.

Pros: Removes dust, pollen, mildew and pet dander from the air, relieving many allergy symptons.

Cons: Although a HEPA purifier can trap most suspended particles, it is ineffective against chemical fumes, odors and gases, so a carbon filter is a must if you are concerned about these pollutants. Also, if the filter is not replaced every so often (according to the manufacturer’s instructions), the unit in ineffective.

 

Ozone air purifiers: also called ozone generators, These devices release ozone (O3) molecules into the air, which reactively combines with chemical fumes, odors and bacteria. Room air passes through a high-voltage plate, where some oxygen molecules are ionized. These ions combine with oxygen to form ozone. The size of the generating plate and the amount of electrical current affects the amount of ozone produced.

Pros: Removes the odors, gases and chemical fumes left behind by the basic air purifying unit.

Cons: Cannot eliminate particles and other allergens. In general, ozone generators emit high levels of ozone, so they are not meant for routine air cleaning. They should be used only by professionals in unoccupied areas after serious contamination has occurred in the home, say from a fire or a flood.

Carbon air purifiers use activated carbon as an air filter. The carbon bonds with the particles and odors when the air is forced through the filter.

Pros: can catch smaller dust particles as compared to a HEPA filter.

Cons: can remove odors, gases and chemical fumes as compared to an ozone air purifier. 

 

Ionic or Ionizing air purifiers: also known as electrostatic precipitator air purifiers, impart an electrical charge to the air, creating charged molecules known as ions, which are supposed to cling to airborne particles. These units have an oppositely charged collection plate or filter designed to attract the particles. Ozone is produced as a byproduct, which then exits the machine and flows into the room air.

Pros: Handles both particles and odors/gases/fumes with less negative impact than an ozone generator type unit.

Cons: Ozone is created as high voltage converts oxygen to ozone. All electrostatic precipitators can create ozone, though some emit more than others. Some people mistake ozone’s sweet smell for a sign of cleaner air.

 

Ultraviolet light air purifiers use concentrated UV-C light (shortwave UV light) destroy pathogens (microbes) in the air.  This would include air born illnesses like colds, flu, smallpox, anthrax, e coli, Legionnaire’s Disease, and staph as well as air born allergens like molds, mildews, and fungi.  UV air purifiers are claimed to clean 98% of air born pathogens each time the air is recirculated.

Pros: eliminates germs/illness from the air, promoting better health in home/office.

Cons: does not eliminate dust, which is not technically considered a pathogen.

 

Hydroxyl radical air purifiers use UV light to produce just enough ozone to enable the production of hydroxyl radicals, an extremely powerful air purifying agent that is reputed to have no harmful side effects. (As the ozone is produced, it Is exposed to the UV light, which breaks the each ozone molecule(O3) into an oxygen molecule (O2) and  an “oxygen singlet” molecule (O1). The O1 molecules are highly reactive, and will combine with hydrogen atoms in the air to make OH (hydroxyl radicals).)The hydroxyl radicals are, in turn, magnetically attracted to pollutants until these newly-formed larger particles become too heavy to remain In the air you breathe. They then settle on surfaces and are cleaned up by normal cleaning activities like dusting and vacuuming.

Pros: Can be combined with UV light technology to not only remove particles, but also to kill pathogens.

Cons: Increases the amount of dirt on surfaces.The functioning parts of the unit must be kept clean, which requires replacement parts and labor. The frequency at which cleaning/replacement must be done is proportional to the amount of pollutants in the air.

Carbon air purifiers use activated carbon as an air filter. The carbon bonds with the particles and odors when the air is forced through the filter.

Pros: can catch smaller dust particles as compared to a HEPA filter.

Cons: can remove odors, gases and chemical fumes as compared to an ozone air purifier. 

 

Ionic or Ionizing air purifiers: also known as electrostatic precipitator air purifiers, impart an electrical charge to the air, creating charged molecules known as ions, which are supposed to cling to airborne particles. These units have an oppositely charged collection plate or filter designed to attract the particles. Ozone is produced as a byproduct, which then exits the machine and flows into the room air.

Pros: Handles both particles and odors/gases/fumes with less negative impact than an ozone generator type unit.

Cons: Ozone is created as high voltage converts oxygen to ozone. All electrostatic precipitators can create ozone, though some emit more than others. Some people mistake ozone’s sweet smell for a sign of cleaner air.

 

Ultraviolet light air purifiers use concentrated UV-C light (shortwave UV light) destroy pathogens (microbes) in the air.  This would include air born illnesses like colds, flu, smallpox, anthrax, e coli, Legionnaire’s Disease, and staph as well as air born allergens like molds, mildews, and fungi.  UV air purifiers are claimed to clean 98% of air born pathogens each time the air is recirculated.

Pros: eliminates germs/illness from the air, promoting better health in home/office.

Cons: does not eliminate dust, which is not technically considered a pathogen.

 

Hydroxyl radical air purifiers use UV light to produce just enough ozone to enable the production of hydroxyl radicals, an extremely powerful air purifying agent that is reputed to have no harmful side effects. (As the ozone is produced, it Is exposed to the UV light, which breaks the each ozone molecule(O3) into an oxygen molecule (O2) and  an “oxygen singlet” molecule (O1). The O1 molecules are highly reactive, and will combine with hydrogen atoms in the air to make OH (hydroxyl radicals).)The hydroxyl radicals are, in turn, magnetically attracted to pollutants until these newly-formed larger particles become too heavy to remain In the air you breathe. They then settle on surfaces and are cleaned up by normal cleaning activities like dusting and vacuuming.

Pros: Can be combined with UV light technology to not only remove particles, but also to kill pathogens.

Cons: Increases the amount of dirt on surfaces.The functioning parts of the unit must be kept clean, which requires replacement parts and labor. The frequency at which cleaning/replacement must be done is proportional to the amount of pollutants in the air.

 

Some air purifiers combine two or more technologies to make the purification process most effective. Although these products are expensive, their efficiency is frequently worth the increased cost.

Yours Truly,

Ilene

Click here to check out all the air purifiers at Amazon.com! 

Bibliography:

Marcus Peterson, Ezine Article. http://ezinearticles.com/?Types-of-Air-Purifiers&id=405754

U.S. Calutech Air Co. http://www.ultravioletairpurifiers.com/air-purifier-info.htm

Environmental Water Treatment Services, Inc. http://www.purifymywater.com/whatsinyourair.htm