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How does an air purifier work?

July 18, 2021 2 min read

The simplest answer to the question 'How an Air Purifier works?' is that air purifiers consist of a filter, or multiple filters, and a fan that sucks in and circulates air. As air moves through the filter(s), pollutants and particles are captured and the clean air is pushed back out into the living space.

Today most people are looking for ways to improve their indoor air quality. Air purifiers lead the pack in advancements for cleaner air. Air purifiers are part of a comprehensive approach to the reduction of allergens. Allergens like smoke, mold spores, pollen, bacteria, viruses, pet dander, and other pollutants damage your lungs and immune system. Unfortunately, most of these irritants cannot be seen by the naked eye. Air purifiers filter out allergens and pollutants from the air that can and cannot be seen by the human eye. To remove these objects, air purifiers typically use filters, electrical attraction, or ozone.

High Efficiency Particulate Air or HEPA

Air purifier filters utilize fine sieves that filter particles out of the circulating air. As air flows into the air purifier, the finer the sieves inside of the air purifier, the smaller the particles it will trap. High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters are the benchmark for air purifier filters.

Standard HEPA filters trap 99.97% of airborne particles larger than 0.3 microns in size. H13 HEPA filters raise the bar by trapping 99.9% of airborne particles down to 0.1 microns.

Microns are the standard unit that is used to measure the size of particles in the air. Each micron is equal to 1/25,400 of an inch. The naked eye cannot see anything that is smaller than 10 microns in size, so pollutants like bacteria and viruses escape detection. HEPA filters efficiently remove smaller-sized allergens like dust, smoke, chemicals, asbestos, pollen, and pet dander.

Room air conditioner filters can only capture particles 10.0 microns or larger, so they are not as efficient as air purifier filters for cleaning the air.

Most air purifiers come with a pre-filter in addition to the HEPA filter. The pre-filter can remove some larger particle sharing the load with the HEPA. If your purifier comes with a washable or replaceable pre-filter, it can reduce the need to change your HEPA frequently and lower the cost of owning a purifier substantially.

Often, purifiers also use additional technologies like a Carbon Filter (to reduce odor), an Ionizer (for additional purification), a UV lamp (for sanitization) or a combination of these.

Purification Capacity or CADR

Room capacity of a HEPA air purifier determines whether the purifier can handle your air purifying needs. An air purifier’s capacity is measured in CADR or Clean Air Delivery Rate. It is a measure of the volume of air the purifier can process in a fixed amount of time, usually 30 minutes.

The right air purifier will provide asthma and allergy sufferers with air that is free of harmful airborne pollutants. Most importantly, an air purifier will help establish healthy, clean air quality in your home that is safe for you and your family to breathe.

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