Different Types of Air Purifiers
Different makes and models of air purifiers use varying methods on how to eliminate dust and purify the air. The variety of filtration and purification methods creates a wide range of effectiveness and allows a consumer to more easily pick out the air purifier that best suits their needs.
The most simple and common type of air purifier pushes air through a filter to catch the particles floating within it. These types of air purifiers can trap and eliminate most allergens, pet dandruff, and pollen. This creates an environment that won’t trigger allergy symptoms, however it’s effectiveness doesn’t stretch far past that. Smaller dust particles, bacteria, and odors usually get through these filters and continue to circulate through the air. While this type of air purifier will help the average person get through allergy season, it’s not very helpful to those with sensitive airways or impaired immune systems. Generally, an air purifier that relies solely on a filter will be cheaper than many alternative, but it is important to remember that choosing an air purifier of this type will only give you a fraction of the benefits of a higher quality air purifiers.
Ionizing purifiers are typically seen in the mid-grade range as well. These purifiers work by using a corona discharge to create ions that can then be trapped relatively easily. The corona discharge creates an intense electrical field that works to create ions by either adding or removing electrons from the particles in the air. These ions become either positively or negatively charged, becoming attracted to the opposite charge. Two metal plates reside inside the device, one with a positive charge and one with a negative charge. These plates attract the ions created by the corona discharge and remove them from the air. Occasionally, the ions will attach to each other before attaching to a plate, creating a bigger particle that will continue to circulate, however these particles eventually either become big enough to fall to the ground or become an ion that attaches to a plate.
Ozone generating purifiers tend to be priced as a mid-grade device, but are often argued to be much less effective than their mid-grade counterparts. Ozone generators are intended to create ozone to deodorize and disinfect the air, however ozone is known to be a potentially toxic gas. This fact can easily cause ozone generators to do as much harm as good, particularly in individuals with pre-existing breathing problems.
Air purifiers using UV light often achieve the same goal as an ozone generator, without the negative side effects. In these devices, UV light is used to sterilize the air, generally by killing off micro organisms. While this type of air purifier typically does not actually remove anything from the air, it is still beneficial to some degree as it kills off viruses and bacteria that can cause sickness.
Air purifiers with the HEPA certification tend to fall into the mid-grade range of air purifiers. These air purifiers have to catch 99.97% of particles measuring 0.3 micrometers or larger. This standard removes allergens, pollen, pet dandruff, dust, and some larger bacteria. This greatly improves the quality of life for those with asthma or other breathing problems. Since dust is captured instead of being allowed to float freely in the air, it will take longer for things such as blinds and nick-knacks to accumulate dust, taking some strain off the load of household chores.
A purifier with the ULPA certification is usually considered to be a high quality air purifier. ULPA standards are more strict than HEPA standards, requiring the filter to catch 99.9995% of particle 0.12 micrometers or larger. These types of air purifiers tend to be pricier however, they provide clean, high quality air for the home. Air purifiers of this grade are excellent for those with breathing problems, weakened immune systems, and other health problems.
In addition to their primary method of purification, many air purifiers also include an adsorber to help trap additional particles. Unlike an absorber, which takes particles in, an adsorber will trap particles on it’s surface. The most commonly used adsorbent is activated charcoal or carbon.