Air Filtration Systems
Clear the air with a home air filtration system
The statistics and study results are alarming: indoor air quality in residential buildings can be up to twice as bad as the outdoor air quality in the smoggiest, most polluted urban environments in the country. If you're concerned about the quality of your indoor air, you should look into residential air filtration systems.
An Overview of Home Air Filtration
Filtering out pollutants is the most effective way to ensure you're breathing clean air. The first thing you should do before shopping for air filtration products is identify the source of the contaminants. If tobacco smoke is the culprit, make your home smoke-free. Forced-air heating and air conditioning systems often spread mold, dust and bacteria throughout your home; even though these systems have built-in air filters, they are not able to trap all the pollutants they generate. Dust and germs build up over time, too, even with regular house cleaning.
Essentially, air purification systems "suck in" contaminated air, run it through a complex network of filtration equipment, then release purified air into your home. The end result is air that's cleaner, healthier and easier for you to breathe.
Types of Air Purifiers
There are five major types of air purifiers on the market: filters, HEPA purifiers, ionizing purifiers, ozone generators and adsorbents. Each uses different technologies to remove impurities from the air.
Sometimes called "air cleaners," filters are the simplest and least expensive option. They simply cycle air through a network of filters that remove pollutants before releasing it back into the room.
HEPA ("High Efficiency Particulate Air") filters operate much the same way as filters, but they are subject to U.S. Department of Energy standards for air purification. They are particularly good for removing dust and allergens from indoor air.
Ionizing purifiers use more complex technologies. They attach opposing charges (positive and negative) to air contaminants, causing them to attract one another. The fused-together contaminants are then trapped by specialized filters to prevent them from returning to the air. Ozone generators use this same principle to turn oxygen particles into ozone, which is believed to disinfect the air around it.
Finally, adsorbents are primarily used to remove chemicals and odors from the air. Most air purifiers include a built-in adsorbent, but you can purchase them individually as well.
Typically, residential buildings use filters, and ionizing purifiers and ozone generators are used in industrial settings. However, if you have particularly poor indoor air quality, you may benefit from a more complex system. You should guide your air purifier shopping based on the results of an indoor air quality test, because in the vast majority of cases, opening your windows is simply not enough to improve the quality of your indoor air.