If you are reading this page the chances are you have been considering the purchase of something to purify the air in your home or maybe your office. The term Ioniser has become synonymous with air purification due to the technology having been around for so long, yet believe it or not Ioniser air filters are actually one of the lowest forms of air purification available today.
What is an Ioniser & What Does an Ioniser Do?
Ionisers (also sometimes known as Ionizers) or negative ion generators, work by creating a static charge around the airborne contaminants that are floating around your room. Once charged with static, these particles (dust, allergens, pet dander etc,) simply stick to the nearest surface they find. Your air feels fresh because the contaminants are no longer floating around in mid air, but the fact is those contaminants are now firmly stuck to many of the surfaces of the room such as the walls, furniture, carpets and table tops. This is why you often see a ring of black around the base of an ionizer when it has been moved.
Some Ionisers have ‘collection’ plates inside them. These are supposed to collect the charged particles for you to wash off when the plates get full. But in reality most of the particles have already stuck to the nearest surface in the room and very few actually make it all the way back to the Ioniser.
Is an Ioniser an effective form of air purification then?
In a word, no. Ultimately an Ioniser air filter does not remove any of the offending particles from the room, it simply deposits them onto a nearby surface. If you are seriously looking to improve the air quality in your home then you should be looking to remove the offending allergens and dust particles as opposed to just moving them around. The logical choice would be either a good quality Hepa Filter or possibly even an Air Steriliser.
If not an Ioniser, then what should I be looking for?
Well, depending upon what you want to remove from the air, your first thought should probably be a good quality Hepa Air Purifier. A decent Hepa Air Purifier will actually gather and remove over 99% of all airborne contaminants right down to 0.3 microns in diameter. In fact the best Hepa air purifiers like the ones manufactured by the Swedish company Blueair actually trap particles all the way down to 0.1 microns. That is quite remarkable when you consider that a human hair is about 100 microns in diameter! You can view the Blueair range of Hepa air purifiers here.
What micron sizes are Airborne Allergens and Dust then?
Most common allergens like pollen, mould spores, pet dander and dust mite feces range from about 100 microns down to around 0.3 Microns and so are easily filtered out by a good hepa air purifier. Some household dust, insecticide dust, fungi and bacteria can be as small as 0.01 and then right at the smallest end of the scale you have viruses and bacteria which can be as small as 0.001 micron. If you are concerned about micro-organisms like mould spores and also want to destroy all viruses and bacteria then you should consider an Air sterilizer like the Airfree models. These are totally silent and never need any maintenance or replacement air filters. They are not so good for large ‘visible’ dust particles, but are unbeatable for destroying the really nasty or even hazardous contaminants. You can view the Airfree models here.