- 1 How Does an Air Purifier Works?
- 2 Five Main Types of Air Purifier Technology
- 3 HEPA Technology:
- 4 UV or Ultraviolet Technology
- 5 Activated Carbon Technology
- 6 Negative Ion or Ionization Technology
- 7 Ozone Technology:
- 8 FAQ
- 9 Finally
How Does an Air Purifier Works?
Are you looking for something right now? Of course, you wanna know about air purifiers, don’t you? If you have landed on this page, then you’re clearly trying to find out how does an air purifier works properly.
In this article we will provide you an honest explanation about your expected topic, we hope that will make you satisfied.
Before getting into the detail we should tell you something.
And that is, this article will have many scientific terms or sentences that might be difficult for you.
I know, this is not a scientific lecture but those topics need to be explained with the scientific words to make it clear to everyone. So, BEAR with me and I will try my level best to make things as easy as possible!
So, don’t go anywhere, everything is going to be so informative for you. I hope you will read the article attentively.
Ready? Here we go!
In order to get a better idea about an air purifier, first of all we need to know why people actually use air purifiers?
The United States Environmental Protection Agency discovered that indoor air can have levels of certain pollutants up to five times higher than outdoor air, in that case, it can be harmful for human health.
Other study suggests that Americans spend an estimated $250 million annually on air purifiers to remove the air pollutants from their homes.
So, it is easily apprehensible that an air purifier is the best way to improve the indoor air quality.
Basically, an air purifier is used for circulating all the impurities and harmful air contaminant substances from indoor air.
Now, you should think about the importance of an air purifier for your home.
How do air purifiers work to remove impurities?
If you want to know clearly how does an air purifier works, then you should have some knowledge about what it consists of.
To make an air purifier, some important components are used, these are a filter or multiple filters and a fan that sucks in and circulates air.
Usually these devices have several types of air purifying system that allows sucking in air and sending it through a series of filters, which in turn collect a variety of contaminants before circulating the air back into your living space.
Commonly, filters are made of paper, fiber (often fiberglass), or mesh, and require regular replacement to maintain efficiency.
Five Main Types of Air Purifier Technology
Although there are various types of air purifiers out there, each air purifier model works differently depending on their filtering process. We are going to describe some of them in detail.
- HEPA Technology
- UV Technology
- Activated Carbon Technology
- Negative Ion Technology
- Ozone Technology
(High Efficiency Particulate Air filtration)
HEPA (High-Efficiency Particulate Air filtration) air purifiers are the most efficient at trapping airborne particles. They are able to trap 99.97 percent of particles that are as small as 0.3 microns. Mind you, we humans cannot see anything less than 10 microns. So, we cannot see those particles that the HEPA filter catches easily such as chemicals, bacteria and viruses.
So, the next obvious question— What is a micron and how big is it?
Actually the micron size (0.3) is referred by scientists as the MPPS, or the most penetrating particle size. A micron is a unit of measurement, it is mainly used to describe ultra-tiny things.
The micron has been used by the air purification industry for years. It’s the best way to show how small of a particle can be removed by the air purifiers.
Obviously, bacteria can be of any size starting from 0.3 to 60 microns, and 1 inch equals 25,400 microns. To get a better idea of the size of a micron, here is a comparison chart.
Micron Comparison Chart:
- Bacteria: 0.3 – 60 microns
- Viruses: 0.005-0.3 microns
- Tobacco Smoke: 0.01-4 microns
- Very Fine Sand: 65 microns
- Human Hair: 17-181 microns
- Car emissions: 1 – 150 microns
- Mold: 3 – 12 microns
- Spores: 3 – 40 microns
How do HEPA Filters Work?
True HEPA filters are usually made of borosilicate glass or plastic fibers arranged in a mat of randomly placed fibers. It has several systems to remove particles.
However, HEPA filters are not able to work like a sieve which can capture particles larger than a specific size and allows the smaller ones to pass through.
A HEPA filter traps the particles by sticking to a fiber through diffusion, interception, or impaction. HEPA filter usually traps particles in the following ways.
Direct Impaction: when Large contaminants, such as dust, mold, and pollen, travel in a straight path, then it collides with a fiber, and stick to it.
Interception: The airflow of the particle is quick enough to change their direction but due to inertia the particles move on their path and stick to the side of the fibers.
Diffusion: small, extremely fine sized particles move in irregular pattern than the large ones and so diffusion makes it more likely to stick them to the fibers.
UV or Ultraviolet Technology
The UV technology is one of the most effective method to keep indoor air pure and free from all the particulate contaminants including germs, bacteria, and other microbes even viruses.
The Ultra violet light is an invisible part of the electromagnetic spectrum that can make up all wavelengths of electromagnetic radiation, such as light, radio waves, and x-rays, but UV light is longer than X-ray and shorter than visible light.
How a UV air purifier removes all the detrimental microbial particles?
Usually UV light are applied in an air purifier for eliminating airborne pathogens from the air. It is very effective for any air purification device.
Furthermore, Ultraviolet air purifiers have much efficiency than the other types of air purifiers, it is mainly created artificially to incinerate pollutants from indoor air.
This type of air purifier can make up a sterile environment in your home by using a short wave UV-C light to put all the pathogens and microorganisms into an inactive state.
Besides, it is able to kill the particles without any actual filtration. in fact, it incinerates the particles even before filtration.
Dangers of UV air purifiers
Probably the most important negative aspect of UV air purifiers is UV-C radiation. This radiation can transform the oxygen in the air into ozone. It happens through photolysis.
When oxygen (O2) break apart into two separate atoms because of light then it combines with other oxygen molecules to generate ozone (o3). This created ozone or “O3” is harmful for human health.
How to use an UV purifier safely?
To use the UV air purifier safely nowadays some manufacturers are using a cation to prevent the UV-C lamp (UV-C lamp is used to produce UV-C light) from any harmful radiation. So you don’t need to worry about it!
Activated Carbon Technology
Activated carbon technology is most commonly used in air filter to remove gases. This is originally called HEGA (High Efficiency Gas Absorption) filter.
These types of air purifiers work by utilizing charcoal and they are able to eliminate airborne smells, gases, chemicals, and fumes. But they cannot address particulate pollutants such as mold, dust, or pollen in the air.
How do Activated Carbon Filters Work?
As we mentioned before, activated carbon air purifiers work by utilizing charcoal, but before using it for purification you need to know about a simple process.
What is the process?
Basically, activated carbon is sold for air filtration and then it is inserted to an air purification device to purify the air, such as an air purifier or HEPA filter.
When polluted air enters the filtration system then it is passed through the active carbon, undergoes absorption, and leaves the filter purified.
The process in which activated carbon absorbs the polluted air is called absorption.
This is how activated carbon air purifiers remove the contaminants from the indoor air.
Negative Ion or Ionization Technology
About100 years ago, negative air ions or ionization technology was discovered and it is being widely used for a long time in many filtration solutions including air purifiers and filters.
This technology has solved many controversial claims and issues, regarding the emission of ozone from the ionization process.
Air ionizer is one of the most efficient purification system that is being used in the air purifiers. It can reduce the size of the allergens to as small as 0.1 microns. Whereas the HEPA Filter is capable of dealing with 99.97% of all particles down to 0.3 microns in size.
What is ion?
An atom that has a negative or positive charge is called ion. If any ion or molecule has equal number of proton, then it is balanced or neutral.
If the atom lost any electron, then it becomes positively charged. Similarly, if the atom gains an electron, then it becomes negatively charged.
In the air, various types of gases are present including nitrogen, oxygen, carbon dioxide, water vapor, and other trace gases, which can be ionized.
If any one or more of these gas molecules gains or loses an electron, it becomes negative or positive charged and thus called air ions.
How do an Air Ionizer Work?
A bond is formed between the pollutants in the air and negatively charged ions.
And this happens when electrons emitted by the technology is spread into the air which then strives to get attached to the pollutants present in the air. The bond is later weighted down to the surface.
However, in some cases there will be an electrostatic collection plate within the ionizer which then traps the particles and bonded ions into it. This can later be removed and used for the life of the device.
This was a simple explanation of how do an ionizer air purifier work.
Why are Ionic Air Purifiers Unsafe?
As we discussed earlier about the effectiveness of ionic air purifier. Now, it’s time to find out why it is unsafe for human health.
According to Consumers Union (CU) that usually publishes Consumer Reports – five of the bestselling models of ion air purifiers emit ozone into the environment. Many ion air purifiers can produce ozone.
Are you thinking about the ozone? Don’t worry! Bear with me.
We mentioned before, our familiar oxygen (O2) is formed with two oxygen molecules which is needed for life survival.
On the other hand, ozone is made of three oxygen molecules or “O3”. This third oxygen molecule is harmful for our health.
How do use ionic air purifier safely?
Despite the risks, there are ways by which we can use ionic air purifier safely and one is by reading the instruction manual provided by the manufacturer.
Ozone generators are one of the most common methods that work strongly to remove airborne contaminants and odors from homes, offices, and even cars.
What is Ozone?
Ozone is made of oxygen molecules. Who isn’t familiar with oxygen?
I think everybody is familiar with this. Every moment we are breathing oxygen (O2).
Scientifically speaking, we are unable to breath with an individual oxygen (O). We need to breath dioxygen or “O2” which is made of two oxygen molecules.
On the other hand, ozone is made of three oxygen molecules or “O3” that is scientifically referred to as “trioxygen”.
The third oxygen molecule is unstable unlike the other two which results in the molecules having a weak connection between them.
Therefore, it can easily attach itself to contaminants, especially high odor pollutants like smoke. It also has the ability to attach itself to viruses, bacteria, and organic matter.
How do Ozone Air Purifier Work?
When an ozone air purifier take in oxygen from the air, it gives a strong electrical charge.
This electrical charge allows to break down oxygen molecules and finally rearrange themselves and form O3, our famous ozone.
At last, the ozone is ready to eliminate pollutants from the air. When ozone is released from the machine into the air then it hits molecules of the air, where contaminants are mostly present. Now, the third oxygen molecule attaches itself to polluted molecules.
As a result, the attached polluted molecules are eliminated through this process.
The O3 can attach itself to other contaminants such as bacteria, fungus, germs, odors, and, at the molecular level, destroys the cell wall. This process removes the contaminant while reverting the ozone back to oxygen.
How harmful is ozone for the people?
Although ozone air purifiers are effective at eliminating the strong pollutants from the indoor air, but on the other hand, it can be harmful for human health especially those people who are suffering from asthma and allergies.
By using it for a long time, it can create bad affect in our lungs and overall health, but when it combines with hay fever or other allergic reactions, it can make us more ill.
How can we use ozone air purifier safely?
We have already come to know that, ozone air purifier is not good for our health. So, why do we still use them?
Because in spite of the risks, they have a strong ability to eliminate all kinds of irritating odors from the air.
Like other purifiers, you can’t use an ozone air cleaner on a regular basis, but that doesn’t mean they should be avoided. It simply means they need to be used carefully.
Don’t worry! Here we are giving several tips that will help you utilize an ozone purifier safely.
- Follow the full instruction which is provided with the new air purifier when you buy it.
- Make sure the windows in the home are closed, if it is open then close it before starting ozone generators.
- After starting ozone generator, you will have to leave that area and allow the ozone to do its work.
We hope, if you follow all the steps properly which I mentioned above, then you can use an ozone air purifier safely.
What are the ionic air purifiers side effect?
There are some ionic air purifiers side effect given below.
- Irritation of the throat
- Pain in the chest
- Asthma triggers
- Impaired lung function
- Shortness of breath
How are other purifiers different from Ozone Air Purifier?
The ozone air purifiers are different and efficient from the other air purifiers, because of its ability to eliminate highly polluted contaminants from the indoor air like odors, smoke.
You have come to know five types of purifiers and how does an air purifier works. In this article, our main aim was to provide you with anything and everything related to an air purifier. Most importantly, we have covered the things that are too useful for any air purifier users.
We hope, now, you have enough knowledge about air purifiers that will help you to operate it.
Lots of thanks for reading the article attentively.