Air pollution indoors is a growing concern of many households nowadays. Do you worry about it too?
Well, you should, because polluted air can cause health issues, and especially with the COVID pandemic, you should take the necessary steps to ensure cleaner air.
However, what can you do? You’ve probably heard about an air ionizer purifier, but you don’t know what it is and how it can help you.
Fortunately, you can learn the following in this article:
- How ionizer air purifiers work
- Types of ionizer air purifiers
- Benefits of ionizer air purifiers
- Drawbacks of air ionizers
Keep reading to learn more.
How Ionizer Air Purifiers Work
To realize the power of an ionic air purifier, you should first understand how it works. An air ion is an electrically-charged molecule invisible to the naked eye.
This ion floats around everywhere. If an ion gains an electron, it’s called a negative ion. On the other hand, it’s a positive ion if it loses an electron.
An ionic purifier is a device releasing negative ions attaching to tiny airborne particles, giving them an electrical charge.
Then, they’ll clump together to land on walls, floors, ceilings, carpets, curtains, tabletops, rugs, and metal collector plants.
Cleaning up will be faster if these charged particles land on a surface.
Pollutants are of two types, gaseous and particulate matter. To improve indoor air quality, you should eliminate both.
Unfortunately, an ionizer can’t eliminate gaseous pollutants because its design is for particulate pollutants only.
Therefore, don’t expect it to be effective against odor, VOCs, and other gaseous pollutants.
However, some types of air ionizers aren’t as efficient. For instance, the airborne contaminants will attach to the surface after clumping together.
It would help to clean them, but regular cleaning may not wipe off everything because some particles return to the air due to air currents.
The fan-less models are adequate for small spaces, while those with fans have a lower clean air delivery rate (CADR). However, the former is very quiet and portable.
On the other hand, the ionizer air cleaner with an electrostatic collector plate is highly efficient at zapping particles from the air.
However, you should always keep the plate clean because efficiency drops if it’s dirty.
In 2018 and 2020, two scientific reviews revealed that negative ions could hamper the viruses’ growth, and the ozone produced by the ionizers inactivates them on surfaces and in the air.
Ozone, a colorless gas that charges other particles with ions, damages the viruses’ membranes and genetic material.
Therefore, people use ionizer air purifiers in restaurants and offices during the COVID-19 pandemic to reduce the virus levels and improve air quality.
Moreover, the ozone works the same way against other types of SARS viruses. However, researchers should study further how it destroys the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Now that you know how the ionizer air purifier works, shall we interest you in learning about the types of ionizer air purifiers? Let’s keep on reading.
Types of Ionizer Air Purifiers
If you prefer an ionizer air purifier, you should first know its types.
1. Bipolar Ionization
This new technology has limited research, but it produces negative and positive air ions and is helpful with HVAC systems and other devices.
A bipolar ionizer works the same ways as a regular ionizer, clumping air molecules to clean the air quickly.
2. Ionizer on Fans
Some fan models can have an ionizer setting, promoting airflow and circulation. Moreover, they release negative ions.
This air ionizer model cleans faster because it circulates the air. It also promotes excellent ventilation but is noisier and not energy-efficient.
3. Fan-less Air Ionizer
Unlike the air ionizer on fans, the fan-less air ionizer is energy-efficient and quiet, but it takes longer to work because the air doesn’t circulate quickly.
4. Electrostatic precipitator Ionizer
This ionizer air purifier has a positive-charge plate collecting particles instead of scattering them. As a result, it requires frequent cleaning and uses more energy than the others.
5. Air Purifier with Ionizer
An air purifier can have ionizer technology to clean the air and emit negative ions.
Generally, it’s beneficial for asthmatic individuals or people with allergies because it effectively removes pollen and dust particles.
Many manufacturers now use a HEPA filter to eliminate larger than 0.3-micron particles with an efficiency of up to 99.97%.
Now that you know the various ionizer air purifiers, you’ll be happy to learn about the benefits of an ionizer air purifier.
Benefits of Ionizer Purifiers
An ionizer eliminates small particles and helps reduce the musty odor. Moreover, negative ions can offer these benefits:
- Boost mood
- Decrease stress
- Increase immune function
- Regulate sleeping patterns
- Inhibit mold, bacteria, and virus growth
Moreover, an air ionizer can eliminate 97% of particles within 30 minutes. Unfortunately, HVAC filters can’t remove these particles because they’re tiny.
An ionizer air purifier can also remove airborne pathogens, mold, allergens, and pollution from fresh air. In addition, it also eliminates harmful particles with smoke.
This device requires little maintenance and can run continuously without issues. In addition, it doesn’t need filter changes because most models are self-cleaning.
Nothing is perfect; therefore, even if an air ionizer has numerous benefits, it has its fair share of disadvantages. You’ll learn more in the next section.
Drawbacks of Ionizer Air Purifiers
When buying an air ionizer, you should first understand its risks.
1. It may not work against allergies and asthma.
An air ionizer can’t remove large particles such as pollen, pet dander, and dust that cause allergic reactions and asthma.
2. It can’t destroy gasses and musty odor.
An air ionizer is inefficient for removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs) released from adhesives, cleaning supplies, and paints.
VOCs can cause several health issues and are indoor pollutants. Unfortunately, having an air ionizer isn’t the solution for eliminating VOCs indoors.
3. Produce ozone
An ionizer is an ozone generator, but ozone is successful in zapping out viruses. But, on the other hand, it’s not for people with lung issues.
Short-term effects of inhaling ozone are:
- Chest pain
- Shortness of breath
- Throat irritation
- Difficulty breathing
Ozone emission has long-term effects of ozone including:
- Worsening asthma
- Lung inflammation
- Reduced lung function
- Heightened risk of respiratory infections
4. Create the “black wall” effect
The wall near the ionizer can have black stains if excessive negative ions exist. You may clean them, though.
5. Build up static electricity
An air ionizer running all day can create excessive static electricity. Therefore, sparks can ignite volatile substances.
However, it’s possible to avoid these drawbacks with the correct setup. For instance, a HEPA air purifier can prevent the build-up of dander and dust because it traps them.
Moreover, a bipolar ionization can avoid the black wall effect by using negative and positive ions to neutralize the air and prevent static build-up.
Lastly, some manufacturers now produce air ionizers producing fewer than 0.05 ppm of ozone to avoid ozone issues.
Older models of ionizers can produce ozone that exacerbates asthma, but the newer models are better at limiting ozone production.
Which Is Better: Air Purifier or Ionizer?
A HEPA air purifier sucks air into the unit through a filter trapping airborne pollutants such as allergens, bacteria, dust mites, mold spores, and smoke.
On the other hand, an ionizer emits negatively-charged ions to attach to the harmful contaminants.
The Science behind the HEPA Air Purifier
This type of air purifier draws air inside through a fan, trapping airborne particles in a dense filter, then pushing fresh air into the room.
The repetitive process continues while the unit is on, and the device continually keeps the room with clean air.
If new contaminants enter the area, the unit will pull and trap them in the filter. Therefore, the HEPA air purifier is best suited for people with allergies and asthma.
A HEPA air cleaner is of the highest grade if it can capture 99.97% of airborne particles measuring at least 0.3 microns.
You have peace of mind that the unit has eliminated the harmful contaminants making the air fresh and clean.
The Science behind the Ionizer Air Purifier
On the other hand, an ionizer air filter emits negative ions into the air to bond with airborne impurities making the molecules too heavy to stay in the air.
The contaminants stick to surfaces or fall to the floor. An ionizer can trap at least 0.1-micron particles.
However, if pets or people touch a contaminated surface or walk on the floor, the particles may return to the air.
Therefore, if the ionizer air purifier is on, it gets into a cycle of removing and then releasing the captured impurities.
An air ionizer isn’t suitable for asthmatic patients or people with allergies.
Differences between a HEPA Air Purifier and an Air Ionizer Purifier
An ionizer draws air into the unit through a fan and uses electrostatic attraction to make the trapped particles stick to the plates.
- The HEPA air purifiers use a mesh filter to trap airborne contaminants.
- The electrostatic collection plates are washable and usable. The HEPA filter is replaceable.
- A HEPA air purifier is more efficient in trapping pollutants even if the filter is dirty because of denser and thicker interwoven fibers.
- An ionic air filter requires regular cleaning because the airborne contaminants can get through the system if the metal plates are dirty.
- An ionic air filter can produce ozone; thus, it’s unsuitable for people with respiratory conditions. However, there’s not enough data to show that negative ions harm pets and humans.
Maximum Area Coverage
A HEPA air purifier can cover at most 1,560 square feet, while an ionizer can purify a room of up to 3,500 square feet.
However, an ionic air purifier can cover a maximum of 500 square feet because of its metal filters. Therefore, the fan drawing in the air has a limited size.
Annual Maintenance and Initial Costs
A HEPA air purifier uses more advanced technology; thus, it’s more expensive than ionic air purifiers and ionizers.
Moreover, a HEPA air purifier is costlier to maintain, except if you have a washable filter. If you have the replaceable filter, you should replace it annually.
Ionizers don’t have filters, and an ionic air purifier has metal plates that require cleaning. However, the maintenance costs don’t come near the costs of filter replacements.
Style and Design Alternatives
An ionizer has limited style and design options and comes only in vertical and compact units. However, an ionic air purifier can have a modern or futuristic design.
On the other hand, a HEPA air purifier can have several sizes and shapes. For example, you may opt for a wall mountable unit.
You also have several options for styles and colors, unlike with an ionizer or ionic air purifier.
An air ionizer purifier can help clean the indoor air by trapping particulate pollutants. Tiny particles clump together and attach to the surface for quick cleanings.
The best air ionizer purifier, especially with a HEPA air filter, provides many benefits and drawbacks.
Therefore, if you prefer to buy the best air purifier, you should first weigh the pros and cons in this article before deciding.
Everyone should take the necessary action to ensure cleaner air indoors; therefore, air purification should be a priority.