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In the world of air ionizing, there was a feud between the Consumer Union and Sharper Image Corp that ended with the latter paying over $500,000 in court fees in 2004. The feud emanated from a CU report showing that some ionic purifiers emitted dangerous amounts of ozone. One of the air purifiers was a product by Sharper Image Corp. Today, the debate between using ionic purifiers and filters still exist, but the shift now lies towards using HEPA air purifiers.
In several other Consumer Reports, ionic air purifiers have failed to pass tests in eliminating smoke, dust and some types of pollen. But does make ionic air purifiers bad? Let’s examine how the devices work.
A typical ionic air purifier contains built in needle-like structures that create electrons when the voltage is applied. These electrons are discharged into the air to form negatively charged ions. Inside the room, these ions get attached to pollutants such as pollen and dust, smoke and pet fur. Once attached to the pollutants, the ion becomes heavy and falls onto different surfaces in your home. If none of these pollutants exist in your room, the ions can also descend on the floor.
Types of Ionic Air Purifiers
Ionic air purifiers can come in two types:
- Electrostatic precipitators
- Air Ionizers
Electrostatic precipitators are purifiers that feature a positively and negatively charged plate. It often also features fans to attract air towards the purifiers. As the air gets inside, the air pollutants are attached on the plate, just like filters do. The greatest advantage of this system of air purification is that it does not hold the disadvantages of releasing ions into the room. On the downside, the system is less efficient since it mostly filters out the big particles.
Air ionizers, on the other hand, are what most manufacturers sell. They are purifiers that release negatively charged ions in the hopes that they will trap pollutants and drop them on your floor. The biggest benefits of air ionizers are that they are quiet in operation. Basically, an ionizer is an air purifier that probably doesn’t feature a fan or even a motor. They are simply designed to release negatively charged ions when you switch them on. Unfortunately, ionizers are not the most efficient purifiers either. The ions released attach themselves onto anything they find, from carpets to walls, your clothes to kitchen items.
Most people know ozone is the layer that protects us from dangerous sun rays. What you probably don’t know is that ozone is dangerous for your health. When using an ionic air purifier that releases a lot of ozone as a byproduct, you are exposed to a lot of dangers. Too much ozone, for example, increases breathing problems, which is certainly the least you, would expect from a device meant to protect you from asthmatic attacks.
Why Do People Buy Air Purifiers?
Most air purifier experts are harsh on ionic air purifiers. People with allergic conditions are also advised against using these devices, yet somehow ionic air purifiers still exist in the market. So, who buy the products and why?
- First time buyers on a low budget. Ionic air purifiers are generally cheap, and they are cost effective when it comes to maintenance as well. Ionizers don’t have filters to be replaced regularly. They also use less power compared to air filters
- Hotels to remove smoke odors. Many hotels tend to buy air purifiers with an ionic mechanism because they are better at removing smoke particles. However, the advent of carbon filters is slowly giving ionizers tough competition in odor removal.
- Consumers who know how to pick the right ionizer. Despite many negative reviews, a quality ionic air purifier can still do the job right. In fact, many studies conducted in real-home environments show that ionic air purifiers are very much underrated. That makes them a good choice for people who understand such facts and can pick the right air ionizer for their needs.
As already stated, research about different ionizers, their ozone release levels, efficiency and pricing and you could end up with your dream air purifier. If you don’t want to get exposed to the risk of having ozone in your home. however, stick to HEPA air filters.