Ionizers air purifier side effects: Air purifiers were invented a very long time ago; at that time, the underlying technology it applies to get the job done is by making use of specially designed and treated filters. As time passed, technology improved, other ways of cleaning the air without the traditional use of filters were developed to reduce costs (filter replacements) and create more convenience (lesser clean time, frequency, and environmental impact duration). This led to the creation of air purifiers with no filters, but use ionizers instead to clean the air.
Air purifiers that make use of ionizers have been known to be very efficient, as well as capture organisms and particles that could escape a regular filter. Despite this, the safety level of ionizers and the adverse effect they could have on the human body have been questioned, including studies carried out to ascertain how safe they are. After years of experiments and tests, it was concluded that not all ionizers are entirely safe. This would be discussed in this article explicitly.
Read Here: Baby air purifier vs Humidifier
What is the difference between an air purifier and ionizer?
The question of whether an air purifier is the same with an ionizer or not could be a bit confusing, but not to worry, much light would be share on it.
Firstly, you should know that an air purifier and an ionizer basically exists for the same goal; the only difference comes in how they achieve it. In most cases these days, there are units that both apply the traditional air purifier’s means of operation as well as the ionizers too.
Creating a distinction between the two, a traditional air purifier or better known as HEPA air purifier works by drawing in the air into the device and forcing it through a tense filter called the HEPA filter, which is responsible for trapping contaminants in the air.
After this, the air is released back into the atmosphere cleaner and fresher than it was. The device repeats this cycle of filtration over and over again, trapping even new contaminants that find their way into the air.
Ionizers, on the other hand, works by not actually drawing in air to itself, but instead releasing electrically charged ions into the atmosphere, which bonds with harmful contaminants, making them too heavy to remain afloat and consequentially dragging them to the ground or any nearby surface that should eventually be wiped clean by the user.
Some ionizers have a collection plate, where the particle falls to, after being dragged by charged ions, which should be cleaned regularly too.
Also Read: How to Purify air from smoke
Types of air ions – the positive and Negative
We will have to discuss the nature of the charged ions and how they are able to attract pollutants so firmly that they are able to pull them to the ground.
Ionizers produce and release negatively charged ions into the air and are designed that way, owing to the fact that most pollutants are positively charged ions. This is why they are able to effectively bond with, and pull down all the way to the ground, pollutants because a combination of the two is more massive than the individuals apart.
In essence, air particle contaminants are mostly positive in nature, which is why they are easily attracted to electrical appliances, which mostly leave a residue of negatively charged ions on their body surface.
Another explanation or proof of how ionic pollutants are in nature is that a highly polluted environment tends to leave static residues on everything around, ranging from clothes to towels and walls. The tingling minute shock gotten when you come in contact with such surface is as a result of the concentration of those ions.
Wrapping things up and putting it simple, positive ions are molecules that have lost one or more electrons, whereas negative ions are simply oxygen atoms with an extra negatively charged electron.
What does a negative ionizer do?
Negative ionizers exist and live for one purpose alone, which is to create and emit negative ions into the atmosphere. These negative ions are present in the air we breathe and also in our bodies, therefore making them both harmless and beneficial to human life. They are abundantly found in nature too.
On the contrary, most polluted areas in cities and confined spaces, homes, and industrial areas, have been found to contain a substantial amount of positive ions, and this is why there is a need for negative ions. In large quantities, they are able to bond with positive ions, effectively forming a heavy molecule, dropping off the atmosphere, alongside the repercussion they carry with them.
What do ionizers do in air purifiers?
As earlier said, some air purifiers are also fused with ionizers, which works in hand with the HEPA and other filters present in the device to eradicate contaminants from your air.
Now how do they work? When you find an ionizer in an air purifier, it still works like it is designed to. They perform the primary task of releasing charged electrical ions into the air, and as a result, dropping contaminants off it.
Some devices, however, contain internal ionizers. Meaning the electrically charged particles are released to the air that is drawn from the atmosphere into the device during the process of filtering, and the resulting massive particles collected on a charged plate that is cleaned at intervals.
Do air ionizers really work?
There is no straight answer to this, and here is why. Ionizers generally just knock of particles off your atmosphere; however, these particles still remain in the surroundings.
For example, after the electrically charged ions have been released into the air, and ponds with contaminants, they fall off on your table, floor, bed, or windows, who knows where they would land and stays there. The dirt is only completely rid of when the user cleans the surrounding or electrostatic plate as the case may be, but until then, it can be knocked back into the atmosphere, hence becoming free again.
For this reason, the ionizer is only as capable as the cleaning habit of the individual using it. Therefore answering that question, yes, an ionizer is useful in taking off pollutants from the air but could be rendered powerless and totally ineffective by a poor cleaning habit.
How does an air ionizer work?
The basic principle by which an ionizer operates is by generating and releasing negative ions into the air to bond with the positive pollutants ones. However, going a bit deeper beyond the surface, there are actually two methods by which ionizers get to create these negative ions, which namely is by either alpha ionization or corona ionization.
Alpha ionization process makes use of a nuclear source, which, when collided with air, releases electrons by causing the neutral air molecules to become negative ions. An example of a nuclear material that could be used is polonium 210. In the process of negative ions production, polonium loses electrons, hence becoming positively charged, meaning using this process would create an equal number of positive and negatively charged ions.
Corona effect, on the other hand, makes use of an electrical current in order to create a bipolar ionized air. It does this by applying high voltage electrical current composing of negatively charged electrons across a metal. This causes the electrons to detach from the metal and get attracted to molecules of oxygen in the air and, as a result, creating negatively charged ions.
The negatively charged electrons created through both processes can then be released into the atmosphere for bonding and neutralizing positive pollutant ions.
The Ionizer air purifier pros cons
Now let’s figure out the Ionizers air purifier side effects. Ionizers are relatively effective in removing contaminants from your air in a short amount of time, but what is the catch, seems too cool to be just that simple.
Well, asides from the already discussed problem of the particles finding their way back to the atmosphere due to poor cleaning habits of the user, what are the general benefits of the ionizer, as well as the negative sides to using one
Merits of Ionizers
If you are looking for a way to rid your air of contaminants without breaking the bank, then an ionizer is your way out, as they are relatively inexpensive compared to their HEPA filter counterparts.
The device is both less expensive to purchase, as well as run over time. Generally, a True HEPA filter would cost about 3 times the price of an ionizer, and since the filter would need to be replaced at least once in a year.
Ionizers are also efficient in clearing the tiniest of pollutants, even as small as 0.01 microns, off the air. As a result, they can capture particles that would most likely go through a True HEPA filter type. Their mode of operation and result also ensures that you have the cleanest of ambient air (the one you breathe in).
Demerits of Ionizers
Air purifying ionizers are only able to clean the air temporarily until the particles are disturbed and pushed back into the atmosphere.
Its effectiveness is only for a while until the environment is cleaned correctly, as opposed to a HEPA filter purifier, which is able to both remove and trap the pollutants within its fabrics, never letting them go till it is washed or changed completely.
Now to the ionizers air purifier side effects; Ionizers are not ozone generators, which are totally harmful to the human body, you should know that in their process of negative ion generation, they still release a very tiny bit of ozone into the air.
In confined spaces, this can accumulate to a small degree at least and, when inhaled, causes irritation to sensitive lungs, chest pain, coughing, shortness of breath or even trigger asthmatic attack.
Conclusion: Ionizers air purifier side effects
Ionizers have been seen to be a cheap and efficient way of getting rid of pollutants, with an impact time that is very admirable compared to filter air purifiers; however, they should be appropriately used, and the environment in which they are used cleaned regularly.
One should also keep an eye on the possible event of ozone accumulation in the area where it is used, in order to avoid the device doing more harm than good.