Do you need an air purifier in your home? Do Air Purifiers Really Work?
Thanks to air pollution, many particles ranging from dust to harmful gases get to the air we breathe and eventually end up in our lungs. The effects of constantly breathing impurities often catch up sooner or later. Sooner, when you get that flu from bacteria or later, by developing respiratory complications associated with breathing in various pollutants. This is where air purifiers come in.
Simply put, these are devices that remove impurities from the air allowing you to breathe cleaner, healthier air. How do they do this? Different purifiers use different technologies to clean up the air around us. In order to answer this question, we have to look at the different types of air purifier.
Types of Air Purifiers
Do Air Purifiers really work? The short answer is Yes!
Below you will find most popular types of technology air purifiers we use to clean the air.
Each type has its own pros and cons, which is why an air purifier may use more than one technology.
Filter Air Purifiers, Including Purifiers with HEPA Filters
A filter air purifier works by moving air through a filter and capturing particles smaller than a certain size.
Air purifiers with HEPA filters are the most popular best rated air purifiers on the market.
The letters HEPA stand for High-Efficiency Particulate Air. According to the United States Department of Energy, a HEPA filter needs to remove from the air at least 99.97% of particles that are 0.3 microns in diameter.
HEPA filters catch elements including mold, bacteria, and chemicals. And they do not generate any harmful byproducts, including ozone gas.
Attention: HEPA-like is not the same as HEPA
A manufacturer can’t claim a device has a HEPA filter if the filter does not correspond to the government standards. For this reason, there are a lot of products on the market with labels “HEPA-type,” “HEPA-style” and so on.
HEPA Air filters do not remove odors or gases. For this reason, many manufacturers create air purifiers that use a combination of a HEPA filter and activated carbon.
Air Purifiers with UV Technology
Air purifiers with UV technology have a UV lamp installed inside. As the air passes through the purifier, the UV lamp kills bacteria and viruses.
One of the issues with UV technology is that it doesn’t do anything to airborne pollutants such as tobacco smoke. That is why air purifiers that use UV technology typically have a filter.
UV rays can turn oxygen and water into ozone gas, which can be a harmful pollutant. A good UV air purifier minimizes the creation of ozone and other harmful substances.
Air Purifiers with Activated Carbon Filters
Activated carbon or charcoal filters have an extremely large absorption area, which makes them great for capturing chemicals and gases such as tobacco smoke, emissions, and odors.
A gram of activated carbon filter has a surface area that exceeds 30,000 square feet. Such filters have a lot of small pores that do an excellent job of trapping gas molecules.
Air Purifiers with Negative Ion Technology
Air purifiers with negative ion technology use electricity to charge the molecules of air. Negative ions are particles with one or several added electrons. Such particles attract airborne particles including pollen and dust by using an effect that works like static electricity. At a certain point, the newly formed particles become too heavy to stay in the air and fall onto windows, walls or floors.
While this technology does sound advanced, it has proven to clean the air less effectively compared to other types of air purification methods. It simply moves them from one place to another in a room.
Ozone Air Purifiers
Ozone air purifiers intentionally produce ozone gas, which can be harmful to your health. Exposure to ozone can cause an asthma attack or scar the lungs.
As a result, many government agencies do not recommend using ozone-generating machines.
We also have a very long article about how air purifiers work.