Air Purification Systems
by Building Inspector and Indoor Air Specialist, Dan Schilling
What is the difference between an air purifier and an air filter?
An air filter is simply a media material with holes in it. There is little technology involved. The principle of operation is to trap particles that are too big to fit through the filter media holes that the air passes through. A true air purifier may incorporate filtration, but it does not depend upon a filter to clean (purify) the air. Instead, it replaces the missing electrical ions and oxidizers into your indoor air to allow the indoor air to be purified in the same manner as nature does for our outdoor air.
While many doctors recommend air filters and purifiers, there is little or no information provided about the limitations of air filters or the various benefits of natural air purification.
Here are some comparisons to consider:
Air filters work on particles. They do not purify the indoor air or indoor surfaces of biological pollutants, they have no effect on gasses (odors) created from mold and bacteria, and they have no effect on chemical gasses created from new building materials, paints, carpet, vinyl flooring, furniture, etc.
Air purifiers replace the missing oxidizers in the indoor air. Oxidizers go beyond particles and help to overcome chemical and biological air pollutants that can cause illness. Some models of air purifiers also have the ability to rapidly annihilate bacteria and mold when used on sanitize settings in unoccupied spaces. This added benefit can do a lot to improve indoor air quality. Temporarily unoccupied rooms such as bedrooms and bathrooms can be easily sanitized without the use of chemicals or manual labor. Air purifiers can also be used in attics, crawl spaces, and basements to kill mold. On June 26, 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration formally approved the use of ozone in air as an anti-microbial agent.
Air filters only work on particles that happen to be "larger" than the holes in the filter media. By default, this means the smaller particles will pass through. Even the best HEPA filters are limited to particles down to .3 microns. Being that an average grain of beach sand is about 200 microns, a HEPA filter does quite a good job. However, there are many particles smaller than .3 microns which can travel much deeper into the recesses of our lungs. These smaller particles, called condensation nuclei, can be as much as a million times smaller than a micron. Man will never be able to invent an air filter that can contend with particles like electrical ions.
Air purifiers replace the missing electrical ions indoors. Ions are not limited by particle size like filters and will work effectively on all airborne particles.
Air filters only work on particles that actually make to the filter. Because of air flow patterns established around an air filter, the filter is limited as to what it can accomplish. Manufacturers of air filters do not explain that it is an impossibility to get particles from all over your home to go over to an air filter to get stuck. It just doesn't work that way.
Air purifiers are not dependent upon attracting contaminants to the machine. They deliver the active air cleaning ingredients outward and into the indoor air so the air can purify itself without filters, just as nature does outdoors.
Air filters are expensive to operate. The replacement cartridges typically cost between $40.00 and $100.00 each. Figure in the cost of electricity to run the large fans needed to move air through them and it quickly adds up.
Air purifiers do not require filter replacements to operate and only use about 30 watts of power consumption. Average cost of operation is about five cents a day.
Air filters must move a lot of air which means they require big fan motors, and this translates into noise.
Air purifiers are not dependent on big fans to work. Even when you are in the same room they are barely perceptible audibly.
Air filters are limited to only one room. This means you would need to purchase one for each room of your home.
Air purifiers, provided you get the correct model, will treat all of the air in an average size home with only one machine required. While an air purifier may be a little more expensive than an air filter at the onset, the fact that you only need one, and that they are effective on all types of contaminants, makes them the smarter investment.
I couldn't begin to tell you how many cheap air purifiers and air filtering devices I have seen unplugged in homes. People who own them no longer use them because they are tired of the noise, the expense, and are unsatisfied with the results. Conversely, I hear great reviews about natural air purification systems. An air purifier accomplishes two of the six air cleaning strategies that can (and should) be followed, but if I could only do one thing to my personal indoor air, it would be using a true air purifier. This is because air purifiers operate on totally different principles. Your indoor air cannot be truly purified without the replacement of the proper amounts of ions and safe oxidizers to your indoor environment. This is how nature has purified the air outdoors for thousands of years, and the replacement of those essential ingredients is one of the most important steps you can take to improving your indoor air quality.
Air purifiers that replace ions and safe oxidizers have been used for years in every conceivable indoor environment including, homes, offices, day care centers, bars, restaurants, hospitals, laboratories, retail stores, etc. Purchasing an air purification system should be thought of as an investment into the health and well being of all the people and pets living in your home.
The technologies in the air purifiers I provide for clients are proprietary by the manufacturer and can only be purchased through authorized dealers.
If you would like to know what model would work best for your home or business, please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org and provide me with 1) the approximate square footage of your indoor environment, 2) the number of floors in your home or building, 3) the number and types of heating and/or cooling systems you use, (wall units, air ducts, electric, hot water, etc.) I will then reply with an electronic brochure which will have purchase and shipping information for a system that will best suit your needs.
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