If you’re looking for a way to clean the air in your home of dust and particulate matter, electronic air cleaners are an affordable alternative to HEPA filters. There are two kinds of electronic air cleaners available: electrostatic precipitators and ion generators. Similar to mechanical air filters, the electronic models may be positioned inside heating and cooling systems, or used as separate, smaller units.
An electrostatic precipitator is made up of an ionization piece and a collecting plate, which is connected to an exterior power source. As air passes through, particles receive an electric charge. These charged particles then stick to a series of oppositely charged plates, called a collector. To keep the unit working properly, cleaning the collector plates regularly is crucial.
An ion generator electronic air cleaner, or ionizer, releases charged particles just like an electrostatic model, only it doesn’t use collecting plates. Instead, ionizers use ultraviolet (UV) light to create charged particles called ions. These ions cling to particles like dust and other tiny debris, charging them so they’ll stick to each other and fall from circulation, or gather on household items such as furnishings, walls and ceilings. This keeps them out of the air and out of your lungs. These kinds of electronic air cleaners are simply constructed, and are usually small and portable, or can be ceiling mounted.
Although electronic air cleaners remove particles from indoor air, they do not remove gases or ambient odors. Some may produce ozone (a known lung irritant) as a by-product of operation, or even by design. Carefully read through product specs, and consult a heating & cooling specialist for help in finding the electronic air cleaner that’s right for you.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about electronic air cleaners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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