Air Cleaners and Purifiers
Air Cleaners and Purifiers - You have probably heard the stories by now about how dirty the indoor air in your house can be, up to 100 times more contaminated than outside air according to the EPA. These particles are going to go somewhere and if they are not removed from the air by a mechanical device then they eventually end up in your lungs.
What are the possible effects of breating contaminated air? - Possible effects are allergic reactions, asthma, dizziness or vertigo, ear infections, headaches, nausea, respiratory infections, and sinus problems to name just a few. According to the Athsma and Allergy Foundation of America, over 50 million americans suffer from allergies and asthma. A large percentage of these are forced to visit the doctor each year robing them of their health, and money from doctor visits and lost time at work.
What contaminates can my air contain? - Allergens, dust, dust mites, pollen, pet dander, formaldehyde, benzene, microbes, germs, viruses, bacteria, mold spores, mildew, litter box odors, cooking remianats, animal or human skin, hairs and other natural fibers, nail treatment chemicals, tar and other chemicals from cigarette smoke.
Devices and Methods of Removal - There are many different devices to clean the air with many different methods of removal. There are mechanical devices like standard air filters, ultra violet lights, ozone air purifiers, hepa filtration systems, electronic devices like ionizers, and chemical systems with carbon filtration.
Indoor Air Quality - When people think of pollution most of them think of car emissions and petrochemical plants polluting our city or town. Few think that their home may be a source of pollution but the truth is that the air may be 5 to 100 times more polluted than the air outside their home. According to the House of Representatives and the Environmental Protection Agency or EPA indoor air pollution is the biggest health problem in America. To make problems worse the average person spends 90% of their time indoors. You may have seen some of these contaminants when a beam of sunlight illuminates them but the visible particles only represent about one percent of the contaminants in a home.
Standard or mechanical fiber glass filters only remove about 3 to 40% of these particles leaving the rest to contaminate your home and lungs. The technical definition of a mechanical air filter is any type of filter with a dry media. Mechanical air cleaners are in essence regular filters but some contain a professional grade filter that can remove many more contaminants than a standard fiber glass filter. These filters will also remove animal dander and plant spores. Mechanical air filters trap dust on the filter element. They are usually 1 inch thick but are occasionally 2" or even 4" and can vary greatly in quality.
Electrostatic filters consist of a large carbon filter on one side and a plastic or polyester material on the other side. As dirt passes through the layers an electrostatic charge occurs which attracts the dirt and traps it. Unlike mechanical filters they will remove very small particles. They are installed in the same way as the mechanical filters are but because the are more resistant they must be sized larger than a regular filter so they may require an oversized return air grill to operate properly. This calculation and installation should be done by a professional or if done incorrectly you may create a larger problem with your system. Electrostatic filters should be washed thoroughly with water at least once a month. An electrostatic filter is more durable than a regular mechanical filter and typically comes with a lifetime guarantee. Electrostatic filters are more expensive that mechanical filters, usually costing around a hundred dollars.
An electronic air cleaner can capture up to 95 percent of all airborne particles including pollen, grease, bacteria, dust mites, smoke, and even some viruses. An electronic air cleaner works by electrically attracting these contaminants. First it traps the large particles in its mesh filter then the smallest contaminants are ionized or electrically charged and eliminated by metal plates. The particles that aren't burned up must be cleaned off the plates every few months. Electronic air cleaners are very efficient and only use as much electricity as a 30 watt light bulb. Electronic air cleaners can only be installed by a professional because the ductwork must be modified. It also requires high voltage electrical wiring be run to operate it. While more expensive that a mechanical air filter they are very good for people with high sensitivity to dust and other contaminants, asthma, or allergies.
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