Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Live Longer – Breathe Better With Air Purifiers!

"Understanding Air Purifier Filters"

DID YOU KNOW? The air in your home could be up to 100 times dirtier than the air outside – with millions of particles, pollutants, allergens, gases and bacteria in the air. Air purifiers can help clean this air to ensure you are breathing in healthy, uncontaminated air.

Just because you can't see anything doesn't mean it is not there.

Many people spend a significant amount of time in their home so it is important to minimize the health risks from indoor air pollutants. These pollutants can be a direct cause of asthma, headaches, congestion, allergic reactions, low energy, nausea, dizziness and irritation of eyes, nose and throat. Unfortunately pollution in today's world is everywhere. The good news is there are things you can do to improve the quality of air in your home and air purifiers are more available and affordable than ever before.

STOP! Before you buy an air purifier, it is important to understand different types of filtration systems that are available. This way you will ensure you are getting an air purifier that addresses your specific concerns. There are a variety of techniques used in indoor air purifiers:

1. HEPA Filters

HEPA Filters stand for High Efficiency Particulate Air Filter. These are the most popular filters used in air purifiers designed to eliminate dust, dust mites, animal dander, skin flakes, pollen and smoke.. In order for HEPA filters to get certified they must pass rigorous testing which confirms the HEPA filter is able to filter our 99.97% of pollutants in the air that are 0.3 micrometers in size.

BEWARE! Air purifiers with filters that claim to be "HEPA type" or "HEPA like" filters may not meet those standards.

Many air purifiers use HEPA filters because they are extremely effective and can trap more pollutants than other filters. HEPA filters tend to be expensive which is why many companies use a pre-filter which is less expensive and helps preserve the life of the HEPA filter. Most pre-filters will remove particles 5-10 microns and larger, such as pet hair and large dust particles. In fact, some pre-filters are proven to remove 90% of all particles in the air!

HEPA filters will not remove gases or odors and for this reason air purifiers often use HEPA filters in conjunction with carbon filters.

2. Carbon Filters

Carbon filters are the most effective odor remover used in air purifiers. In addition to odors, carbon filters also have the ability to remove chlorine and pesticides. Activated carbon is recognized by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to remove many chemicals, some potentially lethal, from the air.

When considering a carbon filter, understand how much activated carbon is in the filter. The more activated carbon a filter has, typically the longer it will last. Activated carbon absorbs to its surface so when there is no longer any surface left – it needs to be replaced. Ideally get an air purifier with Granulated Carbon instead of Carbon Pads because it has more surface area and therefore will last longer.

Carbon filters do not remove airborne allergens or micro-organisms for this you should use an Ultra-Violet (UV) Light Filter.

3. UV Filters

UV Filters are proven effective to sterilize germs, bacteria, fungi, mildew, mold and other micro –organisms. It is important the micro-organisms are exposed to the right amount of light for a specified period of time to be effective. For this reason there is some debate on the effectiveness of UV Filters. UV filters can be successful when combined with HEPA filters because the HEPA filters are used to capture the air long enough to be sterilized by the UV light from the UV filter.

4. Ionic Filters

Air purifiers using Ionic Filters purify the air by sending out ions into the air which have an opposing charge to the particles. These particles such as dust, smoke and pollen, stick to the ions and simply drop out of the air. They are cleaned up when you vacuum, mop and dust. If you buy an ionizer without a fan, ensure it is placed in an area that has good air flow. Also, some ionic air purifiers produce ozone as a byproduct. Ozone can be bad for your health in large amounts so to be safe ensure the unit emits less than 50 parts per billion.

5. Electrostatic Filters

Electrostatic Air Purifiers are a variation on the ionic air purifiers. Electrostatic purifiers pull air through a carbon or HEPA pre-filter which catches larger particles like pet hair and dust. The smaller particles then pass through an electrical field where they stick to ions which have an opposing charge and are collected on magnetic plates inside the filter. Electrostatic filters are effective in cleaning viruses, gases, allergens and bacteria from your home. They tend to get dirty quickly so it is important to clean the filter and plates regularly to maintain its effectiveness.

These are five of the most popular and effective filters on the market. It is important to do your homework and understand which air purifier and filter is best for you! Check online – the internet is a wealth of information and you can find many great air purifiers and filter providers. You spend a lot of time in your home so it's important to ensure you are breathing the cleanest, healthiest air you can!

DISCLAIMER: The information in this article is intended for educational purposes only. The author of this article is not a medically trained physician; therefore, any theories or suggestions put forward are intended to supplement and not replace the advice of medically or legally trained professionals. All matters concerning your health require medical supervision. Please ensure that you consult your doctor prior to adopting any suggestions put forward by e-Smart Living, as well as about any condition that may require medical diagnosis or medical attention. E-Smart Living is not responsible in any manner whatsoever for any injury sustained either directly or indirectly from information put forward in this article.

About The Author
Shelley Moore has spent over 15 years in the health and wellness industry. She is a certified Personal Trainer and Health and Wellness Specialist. Her website provides healthy, safe home products that help people lead a life full of energy and vitality.

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