Air Purifier : What is it?
Air purifiers carry with them the promise of reducing, if not eliminating, air contaminants such as microbes (e.g. germs, viruses, bacteria, mold spores), harmful odors (from cigarette smoke, litter boxes, cooking, body parts, and pets), gases and chemical fumes (also known as VOCs or volatile organic compounds), and particulates (like allergens, dust, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, particles in smoke).
According to consumer reports, air purifiers can be especially beneficial to people who have respiratory problems. However, pollutants will always be present and will always multiply in a room is not cleaned or vacuumed regularly, even with an air purifier.
Kinds of Air Purifiers include the following:
|Carbon air purifiers|
Carbon air purifiers use a system of tiny pores that are highly absorbent and chemically reactive. When particles and odors pass through, they bond with the carbon and it effectively absorbs them. Reports claim that carbon air purifiers are the most absorbent filters available in the market as they can eliminate gases and chemical fumes as well as harmful odors. Though most carbon air purifiers also use certain HEPA technology (see below), they are weak with allergens and microbes.
HEPA Filter air purifiers
HEPA Filter air purifiers use a pleated, cloth-type filter called High Efficiency Particle Arresting (HEPA) that can trap allergens or particles with the size of 0.3 microns or larger. A fan is used to circulate air through the purifier. The filter can usually be replaced, though it can last for several years (depending on the quality of air inside the structure). Replacement can be expensive.
However, the HEPA Filter air purifiers cannot eliminate gases and chemical fumes as well as harmful odors. They are also considered environmentally-friendly. However, they can be noisy especially in confined spaces (because of the fan).
Ionic air purifiers
Ionic air purifiers change the charges of particles in the air as collection plates with opposite charges draw them in and are “captured”. Particles with opposite charges stick together and fall out of the air – a result of “ionizing” or the release of ions in the air. However, the harmful particles are still in the room as not all are “captured” by the collection plates. These particles can only be removed by dusting and vacumming.
Ozone air purifiers
Ozone, being a highly reactive oxidant, can eliminate certain microbes and chemical fumes. Though it is very effective in fighting strong odors, ozone can also be turned into other pollutants once it reacts with substances found in the air. This is the reason behind the controversies surrounding the use of ozone air purifiers.
Manufacturers often advise users to use ozone machines on low when there are people and animals present and only turn it on high when they are not present.
Purifying Hydroxyl radicals
Hydroxyl radicals are cleansing agents created when oxygen atoms pull a hydrogen atom from water vapor. They are a million times faster in eradicating pollutants in the air compared to the ozone. Thus, they are regarded as the most powerful way pollutant neutralizers. New technology has combined Hydroxyl radicals with UV Lights and negative ions, enabling air purifiers to neutralize every kind of pollutant in the air without using a filter.
Ultraviolet Light air purifiers
Ultraviolet (UV) Light air purifiers sterilize microbes so they can no longer reproduce and grow. This is only possible when UV lights are used in appropriate dosages over a long period of time. There are models that also use HEPA filter where microbes can be trapped and be treated with UV light. Thus, UV Light air purifiers can eradicate microbes that carry diseases, but they are not effective with particulates, harmful odors, and chemical fumes.
|Room Size. Purchase an air purifier that is best suited to the place where you will be using it. The size of the room can be a rough estimate of the pollutants that can be present and which your air purifier must neutralize. |
Function. One main difference among air purifiers is the kind of pollutants that it can combat. Some may be effective with microbes but not with odors, and vice-versa. Identify the main function of your air purifier and buy the one that meets your primary need.
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