Air purifiers are one of the biggest boons to the portion of the population that suffers from any asthma or allergy problems. These are the people that are responsible for a sizeable portion of air purifier sales. People with newborns at home also seek out for a good air purifier to give their tiny tot fresh air to breathe.
Why do you need an air purifier?
The concept of an air purifier is quite good. The air inside a house, despite the beliefs of most people, is not generally neater than the outside. There are a lot of contaminants within the house and people usually carry in a lot of contaminants from the outside into the house as well. The amount of moisture present within the house can also cause mold, mold spores and related problems.
This is why there are a lot of people who have asthma suffer from staying indoors. The stuffy air, lack of air circulation, dust particles, etc, cause a lot of problems to people who just stay indoors. People who own pets are also in a lot of trouble because pets shed a lot of fur which probably keeps circulating around the house. An air purifier, in theory, is supposed to be able to get the air clean and get rid of all these contaminants floating around.
Types of Air Purifiers
These are some of the most common types of air purifiers; filter, HEPA, Ionizing and Adsorbents.
Filters are called air cleaners, usually instead of purifiers. These filters catch small particles in the air, such as dirt, pollen, etc. in a mesh like filter material. The mesh is really fine, so it is actually capable of filtering out most of the contaminants in the air.
The only minuses are that they can get quite expensive and they can actually restrict the total supply of air going through the purifier, especially as they become full. This will reduce the amount or air that gets cleaned and therefore the air quality in the room decreases.
HEPA stands for high efficiency particulate air filter. It filters out all particles that are 0.3 micrometers in size or larger. They have all the same benefits as the Filters listed above but take out particles that are much smaller.
A combination of the two will give clean the air in your room well. HEPA filters are generally more expensive so it is better to have the bulk of the contaminants get trapped on the regular filter and save the HEPA for the really small stuff.
Ionizing purifiers create ions that produce a magnetic type field that removes particulates from the air. These ions generally cause the particles to stick to a surface inside the air purifier and those taking them out of the air. They are very efficient and can remove very small particles.
Adsorbents take care of the odors or fumes that might get into your house. It helps clean out the polluted air that comes into your house. They work when the contaminant in the air passes through or over the adsorbent, the particles stays in the adsorbent and instead of the air. Carbon is on the of the classic materials as it works well on organic particles which are the main caused of odors.
How do they actually work?
Do you want to know what all these types of air purifiers have in common? A sieve. They have a really fine sieve that can filter the particles in the air. The air will flow through the purifier, the sieve will filter out the different damaging particles from the same. The finer the sieve, the more it can filter the air.
The benchmark for the size of these particles (to be filtered) has been set by the HEPA filters, which can trap and filter all particles that measure 0.3 microns or larger (which is rather good, considering the fact that a micron is 1/25000 of an inch! The filter will be able to eliminate particles of dirt, bacteria, virus, chemicals, smoke, dust, pet dander, pollen, asbestos, etc. from the air, thanks tot heir sieve.
There are some air filters that make use of electrical attraction similar to magnetism to filter these particles as well. These systems would have plates that carry an opposite electric charge. These plates would attract the particles that go past them. These are not as expensive as the HEPA filters, so most people prefer the same.
Ozone is quite hazardous to health and ionic and electric air purifiers are known to release ozone. Ozone might help us from the UV rays when it is in the atmosphere, but so close to the earth, it is powerful as a lung irritant. It is quite redundant for people with allergies and asthma problems to buy an air purifier that would make the air cleaner for them, if it is going to be releasing some powerful lung irritants at the same time. T
he ionic air purifiers are quite good, but they can only remove certain types of particles. They don’t remove any odors, chemicals and gases from the air, so they are not that good at their job. In fact, this ozone creation is one of the main reasons why air purifiers are under so much criticism.
Things you can do to help
1. Get rid of the main source of air pollutants in your house. Do not smoke inside the house, make sure you do regular mold checks and clean the mold you find, keep your pet limited to certain areas and do not let the pet come near the furniture. Maintenance of good hygiene would be highly beneficial for you, in general, and also in maintaining the cleanliness of your house.
2. Keep the windows open so that the contaminants within your house, don’t just stay there. The air outside is fresher, and probably contains less pollutants than the air inside.
Though these may seem like mundane tasks or irrelevant to you, a stroll in the garden, keeping your house clean and ventilated apart from installing an air purifier can do wonders to your health.