Air cleaners, also called air purifiers, can help improve the quality of the air in your home by removing dust, pet dander, mold, or other irritants. Air cleaners range from portable to whole-house models. You can even get mini, refrigerator, and car air purifiers. Whole-house air cleaners offer the greatest efficiency but typically cost more than other options and sometimes require professional installation.
Air Purification Technologies
Every air purification technology has its strengths and weaknesses. In which case, an air purifier that offers multiple technologies is generally best, in order to combine the advantages, and eliminate the disadvantages of each air purification method.
Hepa Air Filtration
Hepa air filters are the most efficient type of air filter available. They are 99.97% effective at removing particles as small as 0.3 microns. Hepa Air Filter Strengths
- Removal of dust, pollens, mold spores, dust mites, and other allergens.
- Removal of many bacteria.
- Solid particles captured are not released into the air again.
Hepa Air Filter Weaknesses
- Difficult time removing airborne particles from across the room, since they must be drawn through the filter.
- Do not remove chemical fumes, gases, cigarette smoke or odors.
- Do not capture ultra-fine particles, viruses or germs.
- Micro-organisms captured in filter can breed and/or reproduce, resulting in increased micro-organism populations.
An air ionizer creates negative ions, which change the polarity of airborne particles, causing them to magnetically attract together. As a result, they become to large to remain airborne, and fall out of the air that you breathe in. The most effective ionizers use a stainless steel “needlepoint” to produce negative ions. Air Ionizer Strengths
- Removal of particles from the air, including ultra-fine particles as small as 0.01 microns.
- Neutralization of viruses, bacteria, cigarette smoke and chemical fumes.
- Can circulate throughout the room to remove airborne particles that are across the room from where the air purifier sits.
Air Ionizer Weaknesses
- Does not collect many or most of the airborne particles removed from the air.
- Does not remove odors.
- Does not kill germs, fungi (although it does remove them from the air), and not all viruses.
- Does not remove all chemicals.
Germicidal UV Lamp
Ultraviolet (UV) lamps effectively destroy micro-organisms that pass by the bulb, including germs, viruses, bacteria, and fungi (such as mold). UV Light radiation is recommended by the Centers of Disease Control to prevent illness and disease. UV Lamp Strengths
- Ability to destroy micro-organisms, such as germs, viruses, bacteria, and fungi (including mold).
- Helps prevent illness and disease.
UV Lamp Weaknesses
- No affect on particulate, including most allergens.
- No affect on chemical fumes, gases, or cigarette smoke.
- No affect on odors, unless designed to produce ozone, which may not be desired under all circumstances. Some UV lamps are designed not to produce ozone.
Activated Carbon Air Filter
Activated carbon air filters consist of a vast system of pores of molecular size. These pores are highly adsorbent, forming a strong chemical bond/attraction to odorous, gaseous, and liquid contaminates. Activated Carbon Air Filter Strengths
- The most absorbent filter available, making it highly effective it capturing chemical fumes, gases, cigarette smoke, and odors.
- Does not release captured contaminates back into the air.
Activated Carbon Air Filter Weaknesses
- Does not effectively remove dust and other allergens.
- Does not effectively capture micro-organisms.
- Has a difficult time removing contaminates from across the room, since they must travel through the filter.
Ozone is a highly reactive oxidant that destroys certain bacteria and chemicals, including odor-causing bacteria and chemical agents. Ozone is highly effective against strong odors, but is not always needed or wanted under normal circumstances. In which case, it is best if it can be completely turned off if not desired. Ozone Strengths
- Highly effective against odors, including cigarette smoke odors.
- Helps to destroy certain chemicals and bacteria.
- The smell of it can be bothersome to some.
- Can cause irritation of the eyes, nose, and throat if occurring in high enough concentrations.
- No affect on solid particles, such as allergens.
- Does not neutralize most chemicals.