By Dennis Spies
Is the air in your home making you sick? Anyone who has ever suffered an asthmatic attack or lives with allergies understands that the air that you breathe can greatly affect your health. These symptoms can become exacerbated by air contaminated by airborne allergens such as dust, pollen, pet dander, molds spores, chemical gases, dust mite feces, etc. These contaminants can initiate allergies in sensitive people. Smoke particles and volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) can also pose a health risk. Exposure to these VOC’s can increase symptoms of sick building syndrome. Scientific studies are finding that poor air quality can be a factor in some forms of cancer, respiratory illnesses, COPD, and other pulmonary infections and illnesses.
But, how do you reduce air pollution in your home? One of the ways to reduce air pollution in your home is to purchase an air purifier system. An air purifier is a device that removes contaminants from the air. These contaminants can affect people with allergies and people who suffer from asthmatic attacks. They can also be used to eliminate or reduce second hand smoke or other air contamination. Air purifiers have advanced to the point that they are able to capture a greater number of bacterial, virus, and DNA damaging particulates which can be beneficial for people who suffer from allergies.
There are two types of personal air purifier can come in; a standalone unit, or a whole house unit which connects to your existing furnace ductwork. Whole house units can also be used on a larger scale. They are typically used in medical, industrial, or commercial settings and are connected to an air handler or HVAC unit.
The filter of an air purifier acts like a sieve, trapping airborne allergens by size exclusion. Air is forced through an air purifier and particles are physically captured by the filter. There are several methods used to trap contaminants. High Efficiency Particulate Air Filters (HEPA) removes 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns or larger, and does not generate ozone or other harmful byproducts. Filters also use activated carbon. Activated carbon is a porous material that can absorb volatile chemicals on a molecular basis, but does not remove larger particles. Activated carbon changes contaminants, such as cigarette and cigar smoke as well as other chemical gases, from a gaseous state to a solid state. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation (UVGI) can also be added to sterilize air that passes through UV lamps. UVGI systems use a fan to force micro-organisms in the air, past the UV lamp, killing the micro-organisms. The dead organisms are then filtered so they are not released back into your home. Polarized-Media Electronic Air Cleaners convert a 24 volt current into a DC voltage creating a polarized electric field. Airborne particles become polarized as they pass through the electric field and are attracted to a disposable filter. Similarly, ion purifier’s use electrically charged surfaces to generate electrically charged air or gas ions. These ions attach to airborne particles which then are attracted to a charged collector plate. Ion purifiers come in either fanless or fan-based units. Fanless units use less energy but are less efficient. Much like air ionized purifiers, Liquid Ionizer Purifiers use electrically charged liquid ions which attach themselves to airborne particles and then are removed from the air. Ozone generators produce significant amounts of ozone, a strong oxidant gas, which can oxidize many other chemicals. These ozone generators can only be used in an unoccupied room because they generate large amounts of ozone which is not healthy to breathe. These are usually used in commercial applications, removing smoke odors after fire damage, musty smells after flooding, mold (including toxic mold), and the stench of decaying flesh, which can only be removed by ozone.
There are many types and technologies that make up air purifiers. No matter which you choose, the goal of the personal air purifier is to make the environment inside your home or workplace as clean as possible. Personal air purifiers act as an indoor air cleaner, to reduce the allergen levels in your home, to make your home a healthier place to live. Purchasing an air purifier can be one of your solutions for air pollution.