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By Lauren Quan |
November 2020 |
Types of air purifier and which is suitable for you?
Are you stressing over the mounting air contamination in your surroundings? Looking for a solution to overcome these pollutants? Air purifier is the answer. These devices are extremely efficient to combat growing air contamination. Modern air purifiers are also capable of determining the air quality in the surroundings and operate accordingly.
Why do we need an air purifier?
Growing air pollution and health risks associated with it have raised public concern regarding the air we breathe in. Primary and Secondary air pollutants released in the atmosphere due to anthropogenic activities such as industrial and household emissions have impacted the regular lifestyle to a great extent.
Oxides of Sulphur and Nitrogen have health impacts along with influencing environment equally. Respiratory issues, Irritation of nose and eyes, nausea are common symptoms after exposure to low concentration of these toxic compounds. Exposure to higher concentration might even lead to death. Particulate matter is another important category of atmospheric pollutants and varies in size from 2.5 micrometers to 10 micrometers and mostly is not visible easily by human eye.
Therefore, it is important to prevent the release of such contaminants from the source. But release of some amount is inevitable and requires an additional apparatus to do so. Air purifiers are a perfect solution in this regard. These appliances have the potential to detect invisible contaminants in the air and eliminate them by capturing in its advance filtration system.
Aside from this, air purifiers are also efficient in removing bacteria and viruses from the surroundings with the efficiency above 90%. Unfortunately, they are not very effective against corona virus especially in the first attempt. But regular use of HEPA or UV air purifier might be able to get rid of COVID-19 over time if exposed longer than normal exposure time.
5 Different Types of Air Purifiers
Ultra-Violet Air Purifiers
Ultra Violet air purifiers or ultra violet germicidal irritation air purifier are a type of air purifiers integrated especially with Ultra violet technology. UV technology is integrated either independently or in combination with other filtration systems and purifies harmful microbes and gaseous substances from the environment.
The appliances utilizes UV-C light which possesses the wavelength of 100 nm to 280 nm. These radiations act as mutagens on the surface of substance they strike and often lead to the alternation of organisms DNA. UV-C radiations have been used over years as a purification agent for contaminated water and infected surfaces.
When these radiations strike the microorganisms they attack the only DNA strand present inside the living organism body and disrupt their replication process. Therefore, eliminating them from the environment. In a UV-C based air purifier water is converted into ozone and other by-products which then interact with atmospheric pollutants and convert them into less harmful compounds.
The issue associated with a UV technology is the formation of ozone which acts as a secondary air pollutant in troposphere. In order to increase the efficiency of a UV air purifier, it is often used with other filtration technology such as activated carbon technique or HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorption) filters.
HEPA Air Purifier
HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Absorption) air purifiers are a class of air purifiers embedded with HEPA filtration system. HEPA filtration mechanism is highly efficient technique for capturing particles that are not visible to naked eye. A true HEPA filter has the efficiency of 99.97% and can absorb particles ranging up to 0.3 microns in size.
HEPA filter is constructed using fine membranes that are overlapped several times to create a complex system. This system possesses the potential to trap particles of varying sizes when passed through it. HEPA filters are also extremely effective against bacteria and viruses that might cause serious health concerns among consumers.
High Efficiency Particulate Absorption air purifiers operate by passing the air through the complex HEPA membranes where harmful pollutants and other microscopic substances get absorbed by the system. Afterwards, clean air is released from the outlet and distributed in the surroundings. Most of the harmful substances can be cleared completely after repetitive use of HEPA filtration system.
Unfortunately HEPA filters have the life of 2 to 4 years only and may need to be replaced. Good maintenance might enhance the lifespan of the filters for a few years. Negligence in this regard might lead to clogging of the system and decrease the efficiency of the device. Additionally, HEPA filters are not very effective against removing odors and might require additional filtration.
Activated Carbon Air Purifier
Activated Carbon Air Purifiers utilize activated charcoal also known as activated carbon for the filtration of polluted air. Charcoal is manufactured from the vacuum distillation of remnants of wood after its incomplete combustion and is an excellent adsorbent as well as absorbent. Over the years, it has been used as a purification material at household and industrial level.
Charcoal is converted into activated charcoal by injecting it with carbon dioxide to increase the porosity of the compound. Increase in the pores lead to better entrapment of pollutants in the substance. Activated carbon is exceptionally effective against volatile organic compounds, harmful gaseous compounds and various types of odors and formaldehyde.
The activated carbon integrated in the air purifiers trap molecules in their pores and prevent them from releasing in the atmosphere. As, a result clean air leaves the air purifier after entering it. Activated carbon air purifiers are more efficient than their HEPA counterparts because of their ability to capture odor perfectly.
Activated carbon eliminates pollutants by adsorbing them on its surface. The phenomenon of adsorption refers to the attachment of the pollutants on the surface of the compound which in this case is activated charcoal. The gaseous molecules in the air stick to the surface of the purifying material and clean air leaves the system. The problem associated with these purifiers in their inefficiency to capture faraway particles.
Ionic Air Purifiers
Ionic air purifiers involve the use of anionic compounds such as anions of oxygen to remove the pollutants from the air. But unfortunately not completely from the environment. The appliance operates by releasing negative ions in the environment which attract the pollutants already present in the air.
Attraction among compounds results in the pollutants attaching themselves to other slid surfaces in the surroundings such as walls and furniture. So, although the contaminants have been eliminated from the air, they are actually not eliminated from the environment and are a serious health concern.
These particles present on furniture pose a health threat if they contain heavy metals as well, which have many reproductive, genetic and other health impacts. Most consumers also consider Ionic air purifiers as ineffective appliance against air pollution as it does not solve the main problem instead creates another on top of it. Ionic air purifiers are also characterized with the production of ozone, a secondary air pollutant.
Ozone Air Purifier
Ozone air purifiers as the name indicates work with ozone to supposedly clean the air. But as mentioned earlier, ozone is a secondary air pollutant in the troposphere and does more harm than good. A small concentration of ozone in the lower atmosphere can have devastating impacts. Ozone air purifiers intentionally generate ozone to clear other pollutants.
Researches have proved that ozone is capable of cleaning water but not the air borne particles. The gas only has the potential to change the molecular structure of the contaminants, which leads to the elimination of odor from the surroundings and makes air feel cleaner. But in reality, the main problem, which is airborne particles and allergens remains same.
Scientific research has also found out that ozone acts as a trigger for asthma patients and might aggravate symptoms of asthma and allergies in patients. Although ozone air purifiers are effective against certain microorganisms, they are absolutely ineffective against other harmful pollutants and might require advance filtration system.
Some tips to Choose a Suitable Air Purifiers
There are certain factors that should be taken into account while buying an air purifier.
Firstly, it is important to understand the dynamics of your surroundings and the main reason for which you want to buy an air purifying device. HEPA air purifiers are particularly efficient for asthma patients but might not get rid of odor.
Thus, if you want to get rid of odor generating pollutants, activated carbon air purifier is a good choice.
Secondly, it is important to look for the features and specification you want in your air purifier along with the size of the device. If you live at a small house and do not have much space to place an air purifier, it is recommended to choose a small sized air purifier.
Lastly, it is important to take maintenance and price into account. Certain air purifiers might require a lot of maintenance and require regular replacement of filters such as HEPA. This might incur additional cost on the consumer. It is also important to take the price of gadget into consideration and then buy according to your budget.
Air purifiers are an effective tool against increasing atmospheric pollution and are available in a variety of types. With time HEPA air purifiers and Activated Carbon air purifiers have proved to be two best types of air purifiers that are effective against most of the pollutants and do not generate ozone. Other types either are inefficient in removing the pollutants or generate other secondary pollutants. Therefore, if you are looking for performance efficient air purifiers HEPA and activated carbon air purifier are a good choice.
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