More than ever, businesses, organizations, and individuals are seeking the best air purification methods. One popular and sometimes controversial method is known as ionization.
How does an ionizer work, and what are its benefits and drawbacks? What’s the best type of air purifier?
Benefits of Bipolar Ionization
Bipolar ionization is an impressive innovation in air filtration. This high-tech air purification strategy is being used for many commercial and industrial applications.
“Integrated into HVAC systems, the technology utilizes specialized tubes that take oxygen molecules from the air and convert them into charged atoms that then cluster around microparticles, surrounding and deactivating harmful substances like airborne mold, bacteria, allergens, and viruses,” explains Business Insider on bipolar ionization.
The online journal also says that many large hospitals, airports, hotels, arenas, and big businesses have decided to incorporate bipolar ionization technology into their HVAC systems to battle viruses and other airborne pollutants.
Beyond big business applications, there are now many personal and household ionizer (sometimes called an ‘ioniser’ or ‘ion generator’) models on the market. Are there any risks associated with ionization?
The Danger of Using an Ionizer - Ozone
While ionizers may effectively help purify the air of harmful particles, are they safe for home use? The process of ionization produces ozone. This toxic byproduct can pose a threat to human and animal health.
“Inhaling ozone, even in small amounts, can irritate the lungs. Specific effects may include throat irritation, coughing, chest pain, and shortness of breath, as well as an increased risk of respiratory infections,” explains Mayo Clinic.
The risks of ozone inhalation are even higher for people with existing respiratory illnesses or conditions such as asthma.
Consumer Reports says buying air purification units that use an ionizer is not typically recommended because of potential ozone production and advises against purchasing models “marketed as emitting ‘activated oxygen,’ ‘super oxygen,’ or ‘energized oxygen.’”
While some models may produce relatively low amounts of ozone, it’s important to note the risks involved before purchasing an air purifier with an ionizer.
“Under certain use conditions, ion generators and other ozone generating air cleaners can produce levels of this lung irritant significantly above levels thought harmful to human health,” warns the US Environmental Protection Agency.
If you decide to buy a domestic air purification system with an ionizer, avoid using it in enclosed spaces with people or pets inside. Consider using it when nobody is home, and before entering your home again, allow ample time for any ozone build-up to clear out.
The Best Air Purifiers
When searching for the best air purifier, it’s logical to opt for a method that does not reintroduce harmful substances into the air.
“Ionizers do remove particles from the air, causing them to attach to nearby surfaces or to each other and settle out of the air — but they may generate unwanted ozone,” says Mayo Clinic.
An air purifying system, which removes small particles from the air that uses a HEPA filter, is an efficient and effective way to reduce common air pollutants.
Indoor Air Quality Testing - Virginia Beach
If you’re concerned about the air quality in your home, an indoor air quality test can help you assess the safety of the air your family is breathing.
Since 1991, Air Quality Inc. has offered top-notch indoor air quality testing services to the Richmond and Virginia Beach communities.
Please contact us to request a quote.