Air Purifiers/Air Cleaners are a common appliance in homes throughout America. Late night infomercials have helped sell more air purifiers over the last 10 years than ever anticipated. Air purifiers are used to help treat many conditions from allergies to asthma.
An air purifier’s goal is to remove airborne particles from the air you breathe, leaving you with filtered and purified air. In a time when we are exposed to hundreds of thousands of airborne pollutants and chemicals, air purifiers have been a helpful tool for those with allergy and asthma problems.
The EPA estimates that indoor air pollution is a common problem and in many cases, more dangerous than outside air pollution. Air purifiers hope to minimize these issues while minimizing our exposure to common household pollutants.
There are many types of air purifiers on the market and which type to buy can often be confusing.
The main types of air purifiers are HEPA filters (High Efficiency Particulate Air), Negative Ionizers and Ozone Generators. Of these 3, HEPA filters are the most popular and usually the ones your physician may recommend. Below, I will discuss the advantages and disadvantages of each type.
|HEPA Filters||Ionizers||Ozone Generators||Wein Air Supply 150mm/Auto Ionizer/Sani-Mate|
|Requires Replacement Filters||YES||No||No||No|
|May Help with Allergies||Yes||Yes||Usually||Yes|
|Yearly Maintenance Costs||$25-$100||$0||$0||$5-$10|
HEPA filters (High Efficiency Particulate Air)are the most common type of air purifiers around. They were invented during World War II as a means of protecting troops from airborne germs and particles. Unfortunately, they are also the most expensive when one takes into account costs of replacement air filters. These air filters rely on the filtration of polluted air through a filter and the emission of purified filtered air. These filters are generally charcoal based. To be considered a HEPA filter, an air purifier must filer 99.7% of pollutants in the air that are 0.3 microns in size or larger. Some of the leading manufacturers of HEPA filters include Austin Air HEPA filters , Blue Air, Honeywell and Soleus Air.
Ionizers- also know as air ionizer, negative ionizers and ion generators. A pure negative ionizer works primarily by emitting negative ions. These ions are charged particles which when in the air, attract the positively charged particles in the air and together, form a complex which then falls to the ground. Regularly vacuuming can help keep the room allergy free. Ionizers have many other benefits in addition to cleaning the air. First, they are inexpensive as they do not require replacement filters. Most ionizers have either a collection pad which collects dust, or metal grills which work similarly. Second, negative ions have been shown to have other beneficial effects on human health. They have been shown to help one sleep better and help prevent SAD, seasonal affective disorder. Popular ionizers include the Wein VI-2500 High Intensity Negative Ionizer and the Sharper Image Ionizers.
Ozone generatorsare perhaps the most controversial of the air purifier types. Ozone has become household term over the years. To many, it represents all that is bad in the air since smoggy days have higher levels of ozone. To others, ozone is nature’s air purifier that eliminates odors and kills microorganisms. When used appropriately, they can be very beneficial at eliminating household odors and germs. Caution should be taken however to avoid prolonged exposure as in some people, ozone can cause respiratory difficulties. Popular brands include Lightning Air and Ecoquest.