Ionization Filters & Ionizers - Cleaning
The Air You Breathe
Ionization filters clean the air you breathe by creating an electrical field in which particles in the air pass through. This electrical field is known as corona discharge. As particles in the air pass through this field they become negatively charge or positively charged. The negative charge is the result of adding one electron to the particle. Positively charged particles occur when one electron is removed from the particle. This creates a magnetic attraction between negative and positive particles causing them to clump together and fall out of the air.
Ionization filters have at least two metal plates. One plate is negatively charged and the other plate is positively charged. Clumped particles will wind up with an overall positive or negative charge. This will determine which of the two metal plates will collect the clumped particles.
As particles clump they become heavier and are attracted to either one of the two plates, depending on the overall charge of the clumped particles. Those particles that do not get attracted to one of the metal plates will fall out of the air onto the floor once they exit the air purifier. Even though these particles fall out of the air on to the floor just outside the air purifier, they are impossible to see.
The strengths of ionization air purifiers are that they can remove very fine particles, such as animal dander. Animal dander is as small as 0.1 microns and Hepa filters can only typically remove particles as small as 0.3 microns. Although Hepa filters will remove clumped particles as they exit the air purifier. The best place for the Hepa air filter is on the exit side of the air purifier for optimum air cleaning performance.
Ionization purifiers also neutralize viruses and bacteria, which can not be collected by Hepa filters. These purifiers will also remove cigarette smoke and chemical fumes form the air. Ionization filters with fans can circulate the air in a room to eventually clean all the air in the room.
The weaknesses of ionization air purifiers are that they do not collect all the air particles in the air. These air purifiers should be used with a Hepa filter for optimum air cleaning performance. Ionization air filters will not remove strong odors, germs, or fungi that may be in the air. This air purifier will also not remove all chemicals that may be in the air.
Other types of ionization air purifiers use needle point ionization. This involves using high voltage to apply to pins that produce a concentrated electrical field that particles must pass through. These are generally more effective in collecting more particles because of the larger magnetic field.
One issue that may cause problems with ionization air purifiers is their location. If they are permanently mounted on or next to a wall, the black wall effect may occur. Black wall effect is the result of all the particles that did not attach to the metal plates tend to collect on the walls next to the purifier over a long period of time. Using a Hepa filter on the output side of the air purifier can help to eliminate this problem.