Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Finding the Best Air Purifier for You

Picking the best air purifier is a very difficult decision since each home has different needs. Adding to this tough task is the fact that different allergens and different types of home pollutions are removed in different ways. Below are some comparisons of some of the more popular types of air purifiers, and what they do.

This image was created as part of the Philip G...
HEPA Filter. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Air Purifiers with HEPA (High Energy Particle Arresting) filters were originally developed for the atomic energy commission, and are used in commercial clean rooms (such as hospitals) to remove particles of dust and other airborne pollution. These consist of a paper or polymer sheet with very tiny holes that allow airflow to pass though the material but not very much else. The holes are so small you need a lot of surface area for a reasonable amount of airflow to pass though the material. Therefore the medium is always folded in an accordion or zigzag fashion to fit a lot of surface area in a small space. There is also a mixed version of the technology where the holes in the HEPA filter are slightly larger to promote more airflow but the air is charged with electrostatic wands - which then attract and trap any of the smaller particles that get through the holes. 

HEPA Filters work well in the home for trapping particulates. The disadvantage is that the filters must be changed regularly (every 6-months to 5-years depending on the manufacturer). Before purchasing you would also want to review how much air by-passes the filter, fan noise, how long the filter is good for and finally price of both original unit and replacement filters.

Ultraviolet (UV) photons harm the DNA molecule...
Ultraviolet (UV) photons harm the DNA molecules of living organisms in different ways. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
UV air purifiers use ultraviolet light. Ultraviolet light in the right intensity destroys the DNA of microorganisms such as bacteria and viruses. The disadvantage of a UV air purifier is that removes very few gas pollutants and no air particles. It would be necessary then to purchase a UV air purifier along with another type or one that combines it with another filter system.

Ion Generator Air Purifiers are small air purifier devices that put out a stream of negatively charged Ions. These ions charge particulate pollution and when the particle bumps up against something it sticks due to the electronic charge. These devices are used on US submarines and in the poultry industry to keep the feather dust down.

These air purifiers do what they say but there are some very distinct disadvantages. Particulates end up on your walls so your walls may turn black near the device. Secondly, since they typically do not have a fan so they only work in a localized area. They also do nothing for gas pollution and some may put off a bit of ozone.

You can see just with the 3 examples above there are some pretty major differences between air purifiers. Research and comparison shopping is necessary to find the right purifier for your specific case. Do not allow promotional hype to sway your judgment; picking the wrong air purifier is as bad as not having one at all.

Be sure to check back Thursday for a helpful review of several different air purifiers...
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  1. This comment has been removed by the author.

  2. Terrific post! I love the points you made. They're totally on the spot. I’ve been actually trying to find the right air purifier for me and you really helped me make a decision. Thank you! Hopefully, I hear more about it from you. Keep it up! :)

    Jason Rumpca @ Rumpca Services, Inc.

  3. I understand that HEPA Filters work well in the home for trapping particulates. The disadvantage is that the filters must be changed regularly (every 6-months to 5-years depending on the manufacturer).
    You can review this air purifier in detail at airpurifier4smoke.com