Do you know what the difference is between an indoor air cleaner and an air purifier? Air cleaning is when harmful particles are filtered from the air. A room air purifier, in contrast, is intended to destroy mold spores, bacteria and viruses that are in the air.
Despite their name, ionic air purifiers do not actually purify the surrounding air. This is because they do nothing to kill off airborne microorganisms. Instead, they are air cleaners and should, in reality, be called that.
The Technology Behind Ionic Air Purifiers
Ionic air purifiers, also called ionizers, are built with negative ion generators. As you may guess from the name, it continually generates and sends out a stream of negative ions. Negative ions are atoms or molecules that have lost an electron.
These negative ions are attracted to the positive particles in the air and as a result, the negative ions join with the positive particles. This combined weight of the particles in the ionic air, results in them becoming too heavy and eventually, they fall to the floor because of their own weight. The end result is that all manner of particles are removed from the surrounding air.
The Quiet Air Cleaner Purifier
To many people, the science behind how an ionic air purifier works makes it the ideal choice. They are also popular because they are quiet and use little energy. Unlike most air purifiers, ionic air cleaners do not normally have air filters that need regular replacement.
What is the Black Dust from Ionic Air Purifiers?
Ionic air purifiers emit a stream of negative ions, which are attracted to particles in the air, causing those particles to fall to the floor. However, they can also fall onto other surfaces within the room. These areas and surfaces are also positively charged. Therefore, the particles falling from the ionic air are attracted to the room’s surfaces. The black dust effect that can be seen around the ionic air purifier is the result of this process.
While it is true that ionic air purifiers are able to remove airborne particles, the downside is that are easily returned to the air. This is because they are on the floor and other surfaces of the room. Movement of people through the room can create a draft, which stirs them back up. Ultimately, the harmful particles are returned to the air.
To overcome this problem, some ionic air purifiers have some additional electronics called electrostatic precipitators. They work as a filtration device that effectively traps harmful particles onto charged metal plates. So that they remain effective, the plates need to be cleaned on a regular basis.
Consumer Report Studies on Ionic Air Purifiers
In 2005, Consumer Reports published the results of a study into ionic air purifiers. The research concluded that ionic air purifiers failed in their job of cleaning the air. As well as that, they also discovered that these type air purifiers also added high levels of ozone to the air.
Unfortunately, high levels of ozone are toxic. In fact, studies suggest that ozone can cause damage to the lungs and the respiratory tract.
The Healthier Option.
If you are looking to improve the air quality in your home, an ionic air purifier is probably not the best answer from a health point of view. They say that prevention is better than cure and that can apply to air quality as well. Keeping the air healthy in the first place is a far better option.
One way to do this is to get rid of carpets and rugs, which collect and hold harmful pollutants. You should also only smoke outside and never burn candles or incense indoors. Installation of outdoor venting fans in a bathroom and kitchen will go a long way in helping air circulation. Whenever possible, open windows to air you house.
These simple but effective ways to purify the air in your home will be a lot more effective than any ionic air purifier out there.