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Types Of Air Purifiers

Updated on October 22, 2011

In order to live a healthy life, it is very important that the environment in which the person is living is clean and healthy. And for one’s environment to be clean the air which is the most important factor of an environment must be clean too.

The air that surrounds use, the air that we take in is full of impurities. It consists of many pollutants and microorganisms that can destroy our health. An air purifier is a device which cleans the air for us. This device is fitted in homes and buildings so that the air from the outside gets purified and free of any sort of contaminants before we can take it in.

There are many different types of air purifiers that work on different principles to clean the air around us.

Below given are some commonly used air purifiers:

An air filter used in the HVAC systems
An air filter used in the HVAC systems

Filters

Filters are simple materials that are placed in the heating or the cooling systems to clean the outside air before it enters the house. The filters are usually made of foam, cotton, synthetic fibers or fiber glass and are installed between the air return duct and the furnace of the heating or the cooling system.

They can also be installed into the air return vents of every room in the house. The capability of the filter to clean the air depends on the material used. Some fibers have really small pores that trap the contaminants in the air and do not let them through.

Filters basically clean the macro particles such as dust particles and other such impurities from the air. It may allow the micro contaminants to pass. 

Some pleated filters may catch highly small particles but they are quite expensive and require a lot of caring. Filters in general need a lot of caring and they should be changed once a month otherwise their pores get clogged and they lose their property of purifying the air. 

Working description of a HEPA filter.
Working description of a HEPA filter.

HEPA Filters

HEPA filters are a special type of filters which can trap the particles of minimum 0.3 micrometer in size. These filters are perhaps the most effective filters of them all as they are believed to remove 99.97% of the contaminants in the air.

In most cases they can even trap particles as small as 0.01 micrometers. If the environment around is dusty then usually an extra filter to remove coarse particles is also attached to the HEPA filter.  The best thing about these filters is that they do not generate any harmful by products.

Ozone Generators

Ozone is a highly reactive gas which consists of tri atomic oxygen molecules. An ozone generator releases ozone which is formed when the air which consists of diatomic oxygen molecules passes through it and is made to react with more oxygen to form the ozone. This ozone then reacts with the contaminants in the air and hence purifies the air.

An ozone generator may clean the air more efficiently than filters but according to recent researches, it is not a healthy purifier to use.

Since ozone is quite an unstable molecule, its highly reactive nature makes it dangerous to be in the environment. The ozone also reacts with metals and may cause corrosion of metallic objects over a period of time.

UV Light
UV Light
Activated Carbon
Activated Carbon

Ionizing Purifiers

Ionizing purifiers consist of electrically charged plates or needles which generate electrically charged negative and positive ions.

When the air passes through these purifiers they get attracted to these ions and accumulate on the plates.

For instance if the particle is negatively charged it will get attached to the positive ion and if it is positively charged it will get attached to negative ions.

If the contaminants are neutrally charged they may get attached to either of the particles.

The ionizing purifiers are comparatively safer to use than the ozone purifiers although they too release ozone and some other oxidants as a byproduct. The mechanism that is used in these purifiers is called Corona discharge.

UV Light Purifiers

The UV light purifiers make use of the UV radiations to kill the bacteria and other dangerous microorganisms in the air.

These purifiers do not remove the solid materials in the air but when the air passes through them it gets clean of all the dangerous microorganisms.

Activated Carbon

The activated carbon is a special type of filter used to clean the air of harmful chemical components.

This purifier like the UV light purifier does not remove the large macro particles from the air.

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