Types of Air Purifier Filters | How to choose Best One
It’s not surprising to see that air purifiers are available in all kind of shapes, sizes, designs and colours. Not all air purifiers work in the same way. When choosing an air purifier, the thing which plays a decisive role is not its colour, shape or design but the type of technology it is employing in maintaining the indoor air quality.
There are five most common types of air purifiers available in the market each on them using different kind of technology or filtration method to clean the air you breathe. Some air purifiers may not suit your needs or some may produce ozone as a byproduct which is harmful. Before buying any air purifier it is necessary to be well informed about each filtration technology and its working principle.
Five Types of Air Purifier
- HEPA Filter
- Ionizer and Ozone Generator
- Electrostatic Filters
- Activated Carbon Filters
- UV Light Filtration
High-Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA is a well-known technology being used for many years. HEPA filters are capable of trapping 99.97% of all kind of pollutants having a size larger than 0.3 microns. These particles, germs and bacteria are invisible to us as the human eye can only view particles which are larger than 10 microns. Moreover, this technology does not generate any kind of harmful gas like ozone as a byproduct.
How does HEPA Filter work?
HEPA Filter consists of fibre mats, foam, fibreglass or cotton, which traps particles as the air passes through them, the efficiency of these filter fibre depends upon its diameter and thickness.
When air passes through this filter, larger particles are trapped easily. The smaller particles can be removed by using one of the three methods. First one is interception, which catches the smaller particles by trapping it into the fibre. Larger particles are caught by impaction and the smallest particles are removed by collision with gas molecules- Diffusion. This collision slows down the speed of particle motion making the cleaning process easier and effective.
With the passage of time, a layer of dust and pollutants covers the filter surface, stopping it from functioning properly. So, HEPA technology demands the process of filter replacement after 1-2 year.
Ionizer and Ozone Generator
Air purifier uses another kind of filtration called ionization. Such type of air purifiers produces negative ions and ionizes the particles and pollutants present in the air. When particles like pollen, dust ionizes, they fall on the surface or are attracted toward walls or window.
This process does not remove particles completely as particles after getting in contact with surface loose charge again.
Another method that is employed by most of the air purifiers uses ozone to kill pollutants and germs. Ozone is harmful to human health so such devices are not recommended by any health professional or government agencies. Ozone air purifiers often come with integrated negative ion generators.
Electrostatic filters also work the same way as the ionizer and ozone generators. These filters charge the particles present in the air. The charged particles are then filtered at the plates within the machine. These air purifiers produce ozone as a byproduct, so be aware.
Activated Carbon Filters
Activated Carbon Filtration is an efficient filtration process used for many years. In the 1900s, it was used to purify water and in wearable masks to protect soldiers from harmful gases during world war 1 ( Yes! the same type of mask which forced Hitler to shave his moustache to half, well it’s a different story! ).
Activated carbon filtration is effective in removing chemicals, volatile organic compounds, smog, ozone, odour, smoke, and gases. This technology traps these chemicals and pollutants in it and does not release them back into the air.
These air purifiers are not much efficient in removing airborne particles or allergens. In the market, a combination of HEPA and carbon Filters are also available.
UV technology is another type of filtration technique used in many air purifiers. This method is best at getting rid of small organisms as it kills bacteria, germs and viruses. It does not perform well at removing airborne particles, however.
Such type of air purifier can produce ozone by reacting with water and oxygen. A good UV air purifier removes or eliminates ozone so be careful when choosing such technology.
Which Filter is Best for me?
You can find a variety of air purifiers that come with 2 -3 or 4 technologies integrated within one unit. Now it’s up to you, which air purifier fits best for your needs.
A single filter cannot guarantee 100 percent clean and healthy air in your home, we can use an air purifier having more than 1 filter technology to achieve 100 percent pure and clean air.
Manufacturers do not disclose negative impacts of using any of their released technology, but you may now know that some air purifying filters are harmful to your lungs. Ionizers and UV air filtration are superb in cleaning air from germs but you cannot deny the fact that the byproduct produced by these purifiers, called ozone, is very harmful to health. Hepa filtration contrary to this is very effective in cleaning pollutants without producing any harmful gas. Carbon filtration is also very effective in removing gases and chemicals but is prefered to be used in combination with HEPA technology sometimes.
Another thing that needs to be kept in mind that HEPA filters need regular maintenance for proper functioning so it can add extra effort and cost on filter replacement and cleaning.
Moreover, some filtering technologies do not completely filter the particles from your room. Particles, after reacting with such technology, are settled down on the floor and need vacuuming to get rid of them completely.
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