How Electronic Air Cleaners Work
Electronic air cleaners clean the air without a filter. Most contain a collection grid to attract the impurities. These must be cleaned regularly. You can purchase these systems to clean one room at a time or have a whole house system installed to keep every room clean.
As the air passes through the machine, it is given an electrical charge. This also charges the impurities in the air. The charged particles are then attracted to an oppositely charged collection grid, which acts as a magnet for the particles. Some have no collection grid. In this case, the particles attach to the walls, floors and furniture in your home. These must be removed by dusting or vacuuming the room.
For the system to work properly, the collection grid must be kept clean. This is easy to do with a damp rag. If your home is very dusty or you have pets, you will need to clean the grid frequently, possibly several times each week. If it isn’t kept clean, the grid will stop attracting the particles and won’t clean the air in your home.
A separate pre filter on the system can help reduce the amount of impurities on the collection grid. The pre filter removes larger particles. This helps reduce the amount of particles that become attached to the collection grid and you won’t need to clean it as often. The pre filter must be changed regularly to keep it working properly. You will have the added expense of purchasing replacement filters.
Types of Electronic Air Cleaners
Whole House Air Cleaners
Whole house air cleaners can be installed on your forced air heating system. You will need to hire a heating contractor to install the system. Whole house systems help clean the air in every room of your home. A large collection grid attracts the impurities in your home. You will need to clean the grid frequently to keep it working properly.
Portable units are sold online or in home appliance stores. These are intended to be used in one area of the home at a time. You can purchase more than one, or move the unit from room to room throughout the day. Products are labelled according to the square footage they cover. Make sure the one you are using is sufficient for the area where it is being used. One that is too small won’t be effective. On the other hand, if it’s too large, you will have a high level of ozone in your house.
Negative Ion Generators
Negative ion generators have no collection grid. The walls, furniture and other surfaces of your home become the collection grid. You will notice a film on your furnishings and may see soot like film on the walls. This will need to be cleaned away by dusting or vacuuming.
Safe Use of Electronic Air Cleaners
This type of air cleaner has come under fire recently, due to the ozone that is produced as a by product of the electrostatic process. Ozone is considered a pollutant and high levels of ozone in the air in your home can be an irritant. It is particularly a problem for people who suffer from asthma or other respiratory or lung disorders.
To reduce the risk associated with ozone, consider running the air cleaner when the room is not in use. For example, run the system in your bedroom in the early evening. Turn it off about an hour or so before you plan to go to sleep. Run the machine in the kitchen or other living areas at night and turn it off first thing in the morning. This will allow the ozone in the air to dissipate before you enter the room.
If your system has a high and low setting, run it on the low setting. If odor is a problem, run it on high when the room is empty and air out the room before you enter it. When the room is occupied, use only the low setting. A separate hepa filtration system can help remove some of the excess ozone in the air.