How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are made to reduce the amount of air pollution at microscopic levels. So it can be difficult to tell if air purifier is working properly. To discover if a air purifier is functioning, let’s discuss how air purifiers work. There are many types of air purifiers, ranging from portable, single-room air purifiers to whole-house air purifiers, such as: 

  • Filter-based Air Purifiers: Just like the HVAC system in a building, these purifiers use airflow to draw in airborne particles and trap them in a filter.
  • Ionic Air Purifiers: These purifiers release negative ions that attract and attach to airborne particles. This causes the particles to become heavier and fall onto surfaces to be cleaned. 
  • UV Air Purifiers: Using airflow, UV purifiers pull harmful pollutants and viruses through concentrated beams of ultraviolet light to eradicate them. 
  • Bipolar Ionization Air Purifiers: Similar to Ionic purifiers, bipolar ionization purifiers release ions that attract and attach to airborne particles. However, these purifiers actually release both positively and negatively charged ions. The positively and negatively charged ions work together to attract and eliminate pathogens more efficiently. 

How Do UV Air Purifiers Work? 

UV air purifiers operate by using ultraviolet light to destroy air pollutants. Inside UV purifiers, there is an enclosed space where air flows through. Within this area, UV-C light can completely remove contaminants from the air. Hospitals often use this type of air purifier as it’s great for eradicating viruses, germs, bacteria, and mold spores. However, they are not as effective in removing volatile organic compounds (VOCs). Additionally, Despite using a type of ultraviolet light, UV purifiers are cost-effective as they don’t use much electricity.

An important note about UV air purifiers is that some device models can emit ozone as a by-product of operation. So ask your professional HVAC technician if your air purifier model is safe for your home and family.

What Is UV-C Air Purifier? 

Ultraviolet light can be broken down into frequencies. UV-C is the highest energy portion on the UV spectrum, which makes it effective for eliminating air pollutants. DNA of these molecules is sensitive to this type of light. Therefore, exposure to UV-C light in purifiers actually damages the DNA, which kills microorganisms such as viruses, bacteria, and more.

How Do Filterless Air Purifiers Work? 

Improvements in air purification systems over the years have developed technologies that eliminate the requirement for filters. Filterless air purification systems are just as effective as purifiers with filters while removing the need to replace filters.  Both UV purifiers and bipolar ionization purifiers are types of filterless air purification systems. Advanced technologies such as the UV and bipolar ionization purifiers are one of the best methods to effectively improve air quality. As UV air purifiers are discussed in the above paragraphs, let’s focus on bipolar ionization purifiers such as the IWave-R. 

One of the reasons why bipolar ionization purifiers work so well is due to the nature of single-celled, carbon-based organisms. Molecules that form organisms like fungi, viruses, mold, and bacteria all have a positive or negative charge. This allows the IWave-R purifiers to release positively and negatively charged ions to breakdown pollutants by disrupting their DNA. Other particles like dust, pollen, and more attract the ions, causing them to grow in size. The additional weight and size of the particles can cause them to become unable to pass through the HVAC filter. 

Bipolar ionization purifiers can handle just about every type of air pollutant including:

  • Odors: Mold, Mildew, Smoke, Food, Pets
  • Particles: Dust, Pollen, Hair
  • Organisms: Bateria, Fungi, Viruses, Mold Spores
  • VOCs: This type of harmful air pollutant is created by chemical-based cleaning products, paint, aerosols, and other household items. Unlike UV purifiers, bipolar ionization can break these down by disrupting its molecular structure.

How to Tell If Air Purifier is Working?

Indoor air pollution is difficult to judge without a specific monitor. Furthermore, filterless air purifiers use UV light or bipolar ionization to remove air particles. Without a filter to watch dirt accumulate on, further increases the difficulty of how to tell if your air purifier is working to improve air quality. Here are 3 simple ways to judge improvements of air quality in your home or business.

  • Lack of Odors: From pet odors to potent candles, odors are constantly influencing indoor air quality within homes and businesses alike. Air purifiers will easily dissipate odors by breaking down and removing the odor particles. 
  • Absence of Dust: Dust is one of the most common factors affecting indoor air quality. Whole-house air purification systems, like the IWave-R, are extremely effective against dust, making a noticeable decline in dust accumulation in living spaces.
  • Professional Indoor Air Quality Assessment: Experts have the tools to examine and monitor indoor air quality and can easily tell if your air purifier is working. 


How Long Does an Air Purifier Take to Work?

The time it takes to notice a difference in air quality is dependent on several factors such as:

  • Air purifier setting 
  • Current air quality
  • Size of your home or building

Typically, homeowners can start noticing a difference around 30 min. However, larger buildings and homes can increase that time to around 2-3 hours. Keep in mind that air pollution is always invading and accumulating, so don’t shut off the purifier after a few hours. One of the best benefits of the IWave-R whole-house air purifiers is that they operate whisper-quiet. They are built so homeowners can leave it on at night to breathe easier, sleep better, and feel great in the morning with healthier air. If you have questions about air purifiers, don’t hesitate to reach out! Our professionals at Satterlee are always happy to answer any questions!


Additional Questions

How to Use Air Purifier? 

Using an air purifier is quite simple and easy with a whole-house air purification system. Rather than portable air purifiers which only work in a single room, whole-house purifiers are tied into the HVAC system. This allows the system to reduce the amount of airborne particles like dust from even entering the ductwork.

To remove air pollutants, homeowners sometimes use HVAC filters with higher MERV ratings. While these filters are more effective in removing pollutants, they also create problems such as restricting airflow. However, whole-house purifiers are effectively better than HVAC filters with higher MERV ratings. This type of purification system is able to eliminate harmful pollutants while boosting airflow which can improve HVAC performance and efficiency!  

What Size Air Purifier Do I Need?

Finding the right air purification system for your home or business can be difficult. Overall, there are 3 different sizes of air purifiers:

  • Personal Air Purifiers: can efficiently clean a room up to 200 sq ft
  • Medium Air Purifiers: can efficiently clean a room up to 400 sq ft
  • Large Air Purifiers: can efficiently clean a room up to 1,500 sq ft

Rather than buying multiple portable air purifiers or moving them around the house, most homeowners prefer whole-house air purifiers. This type of air purification system can efficiently clean every room by using the HVAC ventilation system. Furthermore, it doesn’t need individual units per room so homeowners don’t need to worry about the size of air purifiers.


How Long Do Air Purifiers Last?

For best cleaning results, air purifiers need to be left on to run with the HVAC system. Which means the hours of operation on an air purification system can accumulate quickly. Regardless, product tests have shown air purifiers to be a great and cost-effective investment. Air purifiers can operate for more than 10,000 hours with proper care. Just like an HVAC system, maintenance is key to longer equipment lifespans. It’s often recommended to keep up-to-date on purifier filter schedules, however with whole-home air purifiers, there’s no filter to replace! In addition, a home or building’s level of air quality also plays an important role. Days with lower air quality due to outdoor pollution seeping indoors can cause air purifiers to run longer. The user manual or manufacturer’s website are the best resources to use to prolong the life of your air purifier. 


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