The Air Purifier

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Air Cleaners

Options for Better Indoor Air Quality

By The Air Purifier

There is a number of air cleaning technologies on the market, and choosing the one that’s right for you is a matter of understanding how each type works and what types of contaminants each one is designed to remove. The four major types of air cleaners are mechanical air filters, electronic air cleaners, gas phase air filters and ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, or UVGI, cleaners.

1. (Hepa) Mechanical Air Filters  

These air cleaners work by trapping particles on filter material and include the high efficiency particulate air, or HEPA filters. When choosing a mechanical air filter, look at the MERV rating. MERV, or Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value, indicates the size and percentage of particles that will be removed from the air. Higher MERV ratings mean a better filter. Those rated 13 to 16 on the MERV scale will remove 98 percent of particles as small as .03 microns, such as bacteria, while a rating of 17 to 20 means that 99.9 percent of particles smaller than .03 microns will effectively be trapped, including viruses and combustion smoke.

More on Hepa Air Purifiers.

2. (Ionic) Electronic Air Cleaners

Utilizing electrostatic attraction, electronic air cleaners give particles an electrical charge and trap them on collection plates or cause them to fall from the air and land on surfaces to be cleaned up with a dusting cloth. Ion generators disperse ions into the air, charging the particles, which then fall to nearby surfaces. Electrostatic precipitators draw in air and charge the particles, which then collect on oppositely charged plates.

3. Gas-Phase (Charocoal) Air Filters

These air cleaners use a sorbent, such as activated charcoal, to absorb gaseous contaminants and odors. While they won’t remove all types of gaseous pollutants from your air, they will effectively remove those that they are specifically designed to eliminate.

4. UVGI Cleaners

Ultraviolet rays destroy biological contaminants, such as bacteria, viruses, mold spores and pollen. These air cleaners are available as stand-alone lamps or they can be installed in your HVAC system to destroy biological pollutants as they enter the system through return air ducts.

Air cleaners shouldn’t be the only way you control indoor pollutants. These tips will help you naturally keep your indoor air clean and healthy.

  • Control pollutants at their source. Reduce your use of household chemicals, such as cleaners and pesticides, to prevent dangerous substances, including VOCs, from entering your air. Fragrances are generally designed to mask odors rather than remove the source, and contain hazardous ingredients, some of which are on the EPA’s toxic waste list.
  • Check your HVAC air filter every month. When it’s clogged with debris, replace it with a clean, high-quality, pleated filter. Look for a filter rated at least 7 on the MERV scale to remove more and smaller particles.
  • Use your bathroom and kitchen vents when bathing or cooking to remove moisture that can cause mold growth, and to vent chemicals resulting from cooking and using personal care products.
  • Take your shoes off at the door to prevent gaseous and particulate contaminants from being distributed throughout your home.

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