“If you haven’t got your health, you haven’t got anything.” So said Count Rugen in The Princess Bride, one of my favorite movies! And he was right. The basic tenets of health are good sleep, healthy food, clean water, exercise, and air that is free of pollutants. Unfortunately, for all of us that don’t live on pristine mountaintops, pollution is just a part of life. And what’s worse, is that indoor pollution levels often rank 2 to 5 times higher than outdoor levels, according to the EPA. Plus, Americans spend 93% of their lives indoors! So, how do we balance this need for clean air with the reality of breathing polluted air day in and day out? Air purifiers to the rescue!
How do purification systems work? Well, there are several different types and we will discuss 4 that are on the market currently. They can be bought as small, portable, stand-alone units for cleaning a room at a time, or larger units that can be attached to your HVAC. Different types of purifiers can remove dust and allergens, mold spores, dust mites, smoke, and viruses and bacteria. They use a variety of technologies to accomplish this, and your specific goals should be considered when choosing the type you want to install.
1. HEPA Technology
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Air. These are advanced air filters that remove 99.7% of all particles larger than 0.2 microns from the air. If you are looking to filter out particles like dust, pollen, dander, and mold then this is a great option. For allergy sufferers, HEPA air filters are a favorite and cost anywhere from $30-$300 depending on the model. However HEPA filters do not address odors or volatile organic compounds, and they cannot trap smaller microorganisms like viruses, bacteria, and mold.
2. UV Technology
Ultraviolet (UV) air purifiers use ultraviolet light to kill pathogens such as bacteria and viruses, although it doesn’t actually remove them from the air. They use a special light bulb and were first utilized to disinfect patient rooms and laboratories.
3. Activated Carbon Technology
Activated Carbon was first used in the early 1900’s to purify water and protect soldiers during WW1 as the filter in their gas masks. Activated carbon is particularly good for reducing odors, gases and volatile organic compounds (VOCs) compared to other types of air purifiers. When combined with HEPA filters, these offer a complete, albeit expensive, solution to most of your air purifying needs.
You know the distinct fresh air smell after a thunderstorm? What you are smelling are the electrically charged oxygen molecules known as ions. Just like a thunderstorm can clean the air and make it smell fresh, Non-ozone producing ionization can do the same thing inside your home. Proper ionization helps dramatically reduce bacteria and viruses in the air, in addition to reducing volatile organic compounds, particulate matter and allergens.
If you have a central HVAC system in your home, regardless of other air purifiers and filters, you will also want to regularly service your system, including cleaning the air ducts. This will help put less strain on all the other air purifying solutions in your home.
At IAQuality we have been in the business of air movement for over 10 years and we understand how to create optimal environments for you to live, work and play in. Contact us to find out how we can help deliver a balanced, safe, and affordable solution to provide you with cleaner air.