Research In recent years, air purifiers and air ionizers have gained popularity with homeowners and workplaces. This is as a result of air pollution awareness. This has therefore made people conscious of their lifestyle choices. Ionizers and air purifiers have become an important choice. They are vital in improving our overall wellbeing and are especially crucial to those who have allergies and asthma.
As a result, confusion about the technologies used to clean the air, especially for first-time buyers has been noted. They are not sure whether to settle for an air purifier with filters or an ionizer. These two sound like rocket science to some people. I promise you it is not.
In this article, we will clarify the differences between an ionizer and an air purifier (commonly referred to as HEPA filter purifiers). We will help you understand how they operate to help you make an educated.
Table of Contents
- What Is An Air Ionizer?
- What Is An Air Purifier?
- Which One Is Efficient: An Ionizer Air Purifier Or An Air Purifier?
- Differences between An Air Ionizer And An Air Purifier
- Benefits Of Air Ionizers
- What Are The Dangers Of Air Ionizers?
- Complementary technologies used with ionizers and HEPA filter air purifiers
What Is An Air Ionizer?
An ionizer is a device that uses chemical properties to clean air. Research has given this a clean bill of health as one of the available technology that is very powerful and which eliminate particles as small as 0.1 microns.
What are these microns you keep on referring to? You ask.
Micron is the standard measurement of tiny airborne particles, including dust, bacteria, viruses, and other microscopic particles that can’t be seen with bare eyes. One micron is equivalent to one-millionth of a meter.
Here is how an Ionizer Air Purifier is also known as an Ionic air purifier operates:
An ionizer releases negatively charged particles known as ions into the air. The negative ions, in turn, attract positive ions, including dust, allergens, bacteria, and other microscopic particles. When the negative and positive ions meet, they form a bond between them. The formed bond makes the articles heavier than usual.
The heavy particles can no longer float in the air, so they fall on the ground and other surfaces. Alternatively, the heavy particles can fall on the electrostatic collection plate on the ionizer. However, that depends on whether your ionizer comes with the plate.
What Is An Air Purifier?
An air purifier is an electronic device used to clean the air by removing tiny and large particles such as hair, pet dander, mold, nails, ash, smoke, and many other particles.
Unlike air ionizers, air purifiers are fitted with High-efficiency Particular air(HEPA) filters which offer high standard air purification than any other filters.
How Do HEPA Filters Purifier Work?
HEPA filters are made of a tightly packed web of fibers that trap particles drawn to them. How particles are dealt with by the HEPA depends on the type, size, and how they collide with the filter.
Large particles do not make it through the surface of the filters. By large, we are referring to particles bigger than one micro. That includes human hair and pet dander. They are trapped on the surface. The medium-sized particles are lucky to sail through the pre-filter, but their trap lies ahead. The inner layer of the filter snags them.
The smallest particles can quickly get through the first few layers of the filter, but eventually, they are also trapped before they can make it to the other side. It is the ability to trap these articles that allows a filter to gain the HEPA title. It must be able to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns and less.
HEPA filters go through a series of testing before they are certified. They are capable of capturing up to 99.97% of airborne contaminants.
Which One Is Efficient: An Ionizer Air Purifier Or An Air Purifier?
The answer: depends. The efficiency of either an ionizer or an air purifier depends on the scope of contaminants you want to get rid of, the range you want to be covered, and the potential for the recirculation of airborne pollutants after they have been captured.
An air ionizer can only capture small contaminants such as smoke, fine dust, pollen, and bacteria. Therefore, an air ionizer will not be useful if you want to eliminate bigger particles like hair, pet dander, and dust mites. On the other hand, an air purifier can capture both big and small particles.
When it comes to the recirculation of germs and particles, the onus goes to the device owner. Like we mentioned earlier, air filters clean the air by trapping pollutants and troublesome particles. Well, the trapped particles remain in the filter. With time the particles accumulate and may clog the filter. If the air filters are changed as recommended, there is no risk of recirculation.
Similarly, the recirculation of dirt while using an air ionizer depends on the owner. As mentioned above, the bonded ions land on the surfaces around your home or the electrostatic collection plate. If you do not clean your home often, there is a possibility of recirculation. Also, you should clean the collection plate as recommended.
Differences between An Air Ionizer And An Air Purifier
Since they are both used for improving the air quality, an ionizer differs from an air purifier in a variety of ways.
Here are some of the differences:
Mode of Operation
The significant difference between an air ionizer and an air purifier is the mode of operation. An air ionizer cleans the air by releasing negative ions that bond with positive ions (contaminants), while a HEPA air purifier uses physical filters to trap contaminants.
Scope of Contaminants
As we mentioned earlier, an air purifier can eliminate a broader scope of contaminants. It gets rid of small and large particles such as hair, pet dander, soil, and dust termites. On the other hand, the ionizer can only eliminate small contaminants such as smoke, dust, and even bacteria.
During operation, an air ionizer can produce Ozone gas. Ozone helps eliminate odors. However, some people claim that it can be harmful to asthmatic people and cause other respiratory illnesses.
HEPA filters do not produce any material.
Cost and Maintenance
Air filters feature more advanced technology than Ionizer filters. As expected, advanced technology comes with an extra cost. Air purifiers with HEPA filters are a bit expensive than air ionizers.
In addition, HEPA filters cost more to maintain since the filters need to be replaced regularly. (Twice a year or annually). Air ionizers, on the other hand, require no maintenance cost except those that have a collection plate.
Even so, the collection plate does not require replacement. The plate is washable and re-usable for the entire life span of the ionizer.
Design and Style Options
For those concerned about aesthetics, Ionizers will lose as they are limited in styles and designs. Most ionizers come in a vertical or compact square design. The kind of models can only be placed in the corner of a room or on a stool.
HEPA air purifiers, on the other hand, come in all shapes, sizes, and designs. It is easy to find a model that matches your home décor. You can also get a model that can be mounted on the wall and others that can hang around your neck.
Considering that air purifiers rely on a physical mechanism to clean the air, the coverage area is low compared to ionizers. HEPA air purifiers have an ideal coverage for an average home.
Benefits Of Air Ionizers
Despite improving the air quality by eliminating allergens, dust, dander, and some bacteria, the negative ions emitted by ionizers are known to have many other benefits. This include:
Reduce Symptoms Of Chronic Depression And Seasonal Affective Disorder (SAD)
According to a survey conducted on people with chronic depression and SAD, exposure to negative Ions for an extended period reduced some of the symptoms’ intensity.
Suppress Seasonal Depression
Exposure to negative ions for a short duration(an hour or so) positively affects people with seasonal depression.
Protect the Lungs
Negative ions, also known as anions, improves the function of the cilium found in your respiratory tracts, thus protecting your lungs from inflammation and irritation. Therefore, you will have fewer cases of respiratory-related diseases such as flu, cold, and hay-fever.
Studies have revealed that anions relieve tension, decrease your blood pressure, and normalize your breathing, leaving you relaxed. This is achieved because anions are absorbed directly into the bloodstream, helping the immune system fight free radicals.
Increase Energy Levels
Studies conducted from the University of California revealed that exposure to negative ions normalizes serotonin( a chemical in the brain) levels, improving a person, mood, focus, and energy levels.
Studies have revealed that negative ions help boost immunity and enhance overall wellbeing. People who use ionizers either in workplaces or at home are said to report fewer cases of headaches and other sicknesses.,
Improves Mental Concentration
Anions are said to improve the flow of oxygen in the brain. As a result, one is more alert and has more mental energy. Therefore, it is easy to tackle mentally challenging tasks.
What Are The Dangers Of Air Ionizers?
As the adage goes, nothing is perfect in this world. Everything has its pros and cons. An air ionizer is no different. Naturally, negative ions have a lot of benefits, as indicated above. However, because the negative ions emitted by ionizers are artificial, they pose a certain degree of risk.
Sometimes, electrical charges found in the air knock off negative ions. The ions then settle on surfaces. This can include the respiratory system (lungs and windpipe). An extended exposure can lead to a build-up of particles in your airways thus increasing your risk of respiratory illnesses or worsen the symptoms of allergies and asthma.
Negative ions produced by an ionizer are made through a process known as Electric Discharge. When creating the ions, there is a possibility of the production of Ozone, which is a harmful gas.
Ozone is a colorless gas (like oxygen) that exists in the atmosphere. It belongs to the family of oxygen. However, it has more oxygen atoms making it harmful for a human to breathe.
Ozone exists on two levels. The first level is found high up in the atmosphere (about 30 miles high). you might have heard of the ozone layer. This layer is good as it protects us from the harmful radiation of the sun.
The second layer of Ozone is found low on the ground. Together with the air that we breathe. This is the bad level of Ozone. Breathing it in can result in adverse side effects such as chest pains, coughing, and shortness of breath. It can also cause some damages to the lungs.
So, does an air ionizer emit Ozone? You wonder
Yes, it does. Like many other artificial particles, negative ions emitted by ionizers can produce Ozone due to molecular reaction.
But don’t dismiss an air ionizer yet. There is some good news.
According to The National Institute of Occupational Safety and Health, a small amount of Ozone are not harmful. However, they should not be beyond 100pp.
So what’s the good news?
Thanks to technology, air ionizers today come with smart ozone sensors. These sensors monitor the levels of Ozone produced. They suppress Ozone and stop it from spreading to the air that you breathe.
Complementary technologies used with ionizers and HEPA filter air purifiers
Both ionizers and air purifiers can be complemented with other technologies to make them more effective. Some of the technologies include;
Activated Carbon Air Filter
It is derived from wood charcoal, wood, or coconut shells. This type of filter is highly absorbent and thus effective in helping eliminate smoke, odors, gases, and chemical fumes.
Germicidal UV Lamp
The UV lamp effectively destroys microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, fungi, and other germs.
We hope we have answered any questions and clarified any doubts you had about ionizers and HEPA filter air purifiers. The ball is now on your court. Choose an air purifying device that suits your needs.