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Do Ionic Air Purifiers Actually Work?

The Difference Between an Air Cleaner and an Air Purifier

Why all the hype about air purifiers? After all, we only breathe 12-14 times a minute, and air only makes it as far as our lungs except for things like Radon, viruses, and perhaps the occasional smallpox terrorist attack. So who needs an air purifier?

Many people do not understand the difference between an air cleaner and an air purifier

  • Air cleaning is when the harmful particles are filtered from the air. 
  • An air purifier, on the other hand, kills bacteria, mold, and viruses.  Although ionic air purifiers are called "purifiers," they aren't truly purifying the air.  This is because they do not kill organisms.  Instead, they are air cleaners.

air cleanerThe Science Behind Ionic Air Purifiers

Ionic air purifiers, also called ionizers, are built with negative ion generators.  These generators continually send 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 airborne particles in the air.  As a result, the negative ions join with the positive particles in the air.  This causes the particles in the ionic air to become heavy.  Eventually, they fall to the floor because of their own weight.  This removes all sorts of particles from the air.

The Quiet Air Purifier

Many people seek an ionic air purifier because the science behind it seems to make sense.  They are also popular because they are quiet and use little energy.  In addition, it is usually unnecessary to change the air filters of ionic air purifiers, unlike many other types of air purifiers.

The Black Wall Effect of Ionic Air Purifiers

Ionic air purifiers cause particles to fall to the floor.  But, they can also fall to other areas of the room.  Nearly all surfaces in a room are positively charged.  Therefore, the particles falling from the ionic air are attracted to the room's surfaces.  As a result, the area around the ionic air purifier tends to get dark and dirty.

The Great Return of Unhealthy Air Particles

Although the ionic air purifier removes harmful particles from the air (because they become heavy and fall to the ground), it is easy for them to be returned to the air.  This is because the particles are on the floor and other surfaces of the room.  Regular activity in the room can easily stir the particles back up.  As a result, the harmful particles are put back into the air.  Some ionic air purifiers, however, have special electrostatic precipitators.  Electronic precipitators trap particles on charged metal plates.  These plates need to be cleaned regularly, however, in order to be effective.

Consumer Report Studies on Ionic Air Purifiers

In May of 2005, Consumer Reports published a study about ionic air purifiers.  According to their research, ionic air purifiers failed to clean the air.  In addition, they found that an ionic air purifier could actually add harmful levels of ozone to the air.  Unfortunately, high levels of ozone are toxic.  In fact, it has been proven to damage the lungs and the respiratory tract.

The Better Choice

If you want to keep you air healthy, an ionic air purifier is probably not the best answer.  In fact, your goal shouldn't be to clean the air after it becomes unhealthy.  Instead, take steps to keep the air healthy in the first place.  One way to do this is to get rid of carpets and rugs, which collect and hold harmful pollutants. Many people nowadays, as part of restructuring the interior design of their home, are choosing to replace carpets with laminate flooring, which is attractice and practical, being very easy to clean.

You should also only smoke outside and never burn candles and incense indoors.  To help circulate the air, install outdoor venting fans in your kitchen and bathroom.  Also, a simple and natural measure is to keep your windows open as much as possible.  These natural air purifier techniques will work far better than any ionic air purifier on the market.

In the ever-increasing battle to separate not only the good air from the bad, but also the good customer from the bad money, it all comes down to one thing. Either do your homework or pay the price.

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Provided by MedicineNet