Air purifiers have been picking a lot of attention lately. One of the reasons behind that is that people are more conscious about the air they breathe.
But have you ever wondered how do air purifiers work?
Do they simply just take air in and let it out through the exhaust? Not really!
Air purifiers rely on the fan to pull in the air and the internal filter to clear out all the contaminants from that air. After going through the filter, this air will return to the room through the exhaust. This process runs in a cycle, and eventually, the air purifier boosts indoor air quality.
However, there is more to the topic that you should know if you really want to understand air purifiers.
What Does an Air Purifier Do & How Does It Work?
Starting with what does an air purifier do for your home? At its core, the air purifier is a device that sanitizes the air in your room.
It does that by removing pollutants and impurities. That means the air purification device is basically making the air inside your home clean and pure.
That said, when it comes to how they work, you will need to understand the core components of the air purifier.
If you own an air purifier, you might have noticed that there is a fan in one direction.
At first glance, many might think that the fan is there to produce air, but the case is totally different.
The fan sucks air inside. It is the component that starts the air purification process.
And if the fan is really exhausting air instead of taking it in, the device would be just another fan that can cool you off during summer. But it is not that.
The Filtration Unit
Most of the air purifiers will have a filter inside. This filter is responsible for cleaning the air that the intake fair takes inside.
Basically, when the pollutants go through this filtration unit, the fibers of the filter capture them.
As a result, the air that gets out from the air purifier becomes free of pollutants and safe for breathing.
Special Filtration Technology
Some of the air purifiers might not have a filter. On the other hand, some might not rely solely on the filter for the purification process.
So, what other things in an air purifier can purify the air? Special air purifier technology! An example of that would be ozone generators.
The ozone air purifiers will produce ozone gas. This gas can mask the odors that are inside your home.
However, masking odd smells is not the only thing that ozone generators can do; it can also purify the air.
The thing is, ozone has a highly reactive composition. It has oxygen atoms that attach to organic contaminants.
Now, when the oxygen atoms stick with the contaminants, the pollutants become heavy.
As a result, they eventually fall to the floor. That leaves you with clean and pure air inside your home.
What Is an UV Air Purifier? How Does It Work?
An ozone generator is not the only technology that air purifiers rely on. There are other special air purification technologies available in the market.
UV light technology is one of them. Nonetheless, a UV air purifier is an air purification device that has a UV light.
But the real question is, what does the UV light do inside the air purifier?
Well, as you might already know, UV light is highly effective in disinfecting. And the case is pretty much the same for the UV air purifiers.
The UV light on those air purifiers will remove bacteria, mold, and viruses. In short, the main purpose of UV light inside the air purifier is to sterilize the air.
But, note that the purification’s effectiveness will vary from one device to another.
What Contaminants Can the Air Purifier Filter Out?
When it comes to what pollutants an air purifier can remove, it will depend on the model and the purification methods that it is using.
As we have stated earlier, some of the devices have filtration units, while some will utilize purification technology alone or with a filter.
To give you a proper idea regarding the matter, let’s go through each type of filter and air purification technology that air purifiers generally use –
High Efficiency Particulate Air, or HEPA, filters are pleated mechanical air filtration units.
Depending on the type, these filters can clear out airborne particulates that are 0.3 microns in size with an efficiency of 99.97 percent.
Now, which airborne particles are 0.3 microns in size?
Well, there are many, but the ones that these filters mainly clear out from your room’s air include mold, bacteria, dust, and pollen.
But why does the filter focus on the particles that are 0.3 microns in size?
According to HEPA, pollutants that are 0.3 microns in size are the hardest to capture.
So, with a 99.97 percent efficiency, HEPA is pretty much on the top of the list in terms of purification capability.
VOCs abbreviates as Volatile Organic Compounds, have low water solubility and high vapor pressure.
Certain liquids or solids emit VOCs in the form of gas. And you can find it in many household materials, which include lacquers, paints, paint strippers, building materials, cleaning supplies, and specific office equipment.
Nonetheless, VOCs make the room have a terrible odor to it. And carbon filters that are present in some of the air purifiers help to remove this odor.
Filtering Air Cleaners
HEPA is not the only air filter out there. There are others with no specific purification standards.
These filters clean the air by sequestering the polluting gases and particles. However, the efficiency of the purification is not as high as HEPA.
That said, these filters can take care of mold spores, animal dander, house dust allergens, and pollens.
Electronic Air Cleaners
Electronic air cleaners include hydroxyl generators, electrostatic precipitators, and ionizers.
These devices utilize voltage for converting the oxygen molecules and other molecules into charged ions. That eventually inactivates the airborne contaminants.
On that note, the ionic components of oxygen are reactive radicals. These radicals can remove hydrogen that is on other molecules.
And when it comes to pollutants, these air purifiers can take care of pathogens and germs.
Ozone Generating Air Cleaners
These air purifiers create ozone to purify the air. The chemical alternation in the ozone makes the compounds of the pollutants alter.
Eventually, the contaminants inside the air purifier do not make it out from the device’s exhaust.
Ozone air purifiers can take care of biological contaminants that are in the air. That includes chemicals, viruses, odors, bacteria, and other airborne particles.
Frequently Asked Questions
1. How do I know if my air purifier is working?
To check whether the air purifier is working, you need to first see whether the device is offering consistent airflow or not. If the air purifier is not blowing out air, it is not working.
Secondly, check the status indicator of the device. If it is not lit, the device might not be on. Finally, see if you can hear the fan. It should produce a whirling sound.
2. Do air purifiers actually work?
Air purifiers can clean indoor air. However, when it comes to effectiveness, it will depend on the filter and cleaning technology that the air purifier relies on. Also, you need to consider which contaminants you want to remove from your home air. Why so? Some air purifiers only target a specific group of contaminants.
3. What are the benefits of using an air purifier?
Air purifiers can offer you relief from allergenic problems. They will eliminate airborne allergens and provide you with a safe breathing space. But that is not all! Some air purifiers are also capable of removing odor from the air. So, with those, you can always make your home smell clean and fresh.
4. What are the disadvantages of air purifiers?
Maintenance is one of the things that you need to consider before getting an air purifier. After a specific amount of time, you will need to clean or change the filter. Secondly, the ozone air purifier models are not safe. You could have serious health complications by inhaling ozone.
To sum up, in terms of how do air purifiers work, you just need to know two things.
The first one is the fan, which is responsible for taking the air inside and making it flow through.
Secondly, there is the filtration unit or technology. That is responsible for capturing the pollutants from the air.
Last Updated on August 30, 2023