This information will clarify the differences between HEPA Air Cleaners and Air Purifiers. HEPA is the abbreviation for "High Efficiency Particulate Arrestor (Air filter)." HEPA is not a brand of air cleaner. It is a type of air filter that is used in air cleaning equipment including vacuum cleaners. Most HEPA air cleaners will filter particles in the airborne environment down to 0.3 microns in size, at an efficency rating of 99.97%. They will filter and remove some of the smallest microns of allergens such as dust, smoke, pollen, animal dander, etc.
When companies remove asbestos in buildings, and clean up pharmaceutical and other potentially toxic spills, the HEPA filtered air cleaners and vacuum cleaning equipment are the required tools for the job.These air cleaners work by filtering the particulate (allergens) in the air through a HEPA filter which traps the particles, allowing only the clean air to return into the environment. The more times the air is exchanged through the HEPA air cleaner in the room , the better the air quality. The higher the air exchange rate per hour, the cleaner the air will be in that room.
HEPA air cleaners will most efficiently service one room at a time. If you operate the HEPA air cleaner in your bedroom, it will not be able to clean the air in your living room or in other areas of your home. The better brands of HEPA air cleaners such as Austin Air and Care 2000 will provide approximately 15 air exchanges per hour in an average size bedroom and approximately 5 to 7 air exchanges per hour in a 1500 square foot open room. The average department store quality HEPA air cleaners will only provide approximately 2 to 4 air exchanges per hour in a average size bedroom. In a larger size room, these lower quality brands of air cleaners will not often provide a high enough air exchange rate to make a noticeable difference in your indoor air quality.
The higher quality HEPA air cleaners also contain an average of 15 lbs. of activated coconut cabon / zeolite blends to absorb offgasing chemicals and odors.Some high quality HEPA air cleaners, also have the added feature of a medical grade ultra-violet light system. The ultra-violet lights will quickly kill viruses, bacteria and fungi when the contaminated air enters into the HEPA air cleaner. The ultraviolet-light will also protect the HEPA filter itself from biological and virus contamination. The lower quality brands HEPA air cleaners on the market,contain pre-filters that have been sprayed with carbon dust which is extremely short lived and more of a sales gimmick than a viable way of removing odors and offgasing chemicals.
Air Purifiers are often confused with HEPA air cleaners. The fact of the matter is that the two operate quite differently. Air purifiers do not clean the air by filtration as HEPA air cleaners.
There are two types of air purifiers. First, the zone/ionizer air purifier which uses two steps to clean the air. The ozone purifies the air by oxydation. Ozone is naturally occuring gas. It is created by nature when lightning cuts through the oxygen molecule in the air. It splits the O2 molecule into O3 which is zone. The fresh clean smell after a thunderstorm is the ozone that has just been created. Ozone penetrates into the cellular structure of odor, bacteria and fungus molecules, rupturing the cell wall of the contaminant. After this process is complete, the contaminants and dust are greatly reduced.
The second step in this system is the ionization. There are two types of ionization. The first is eedlepoint ionization where the particulate in the air directly in front of the unit is charged with negative ions. These ionic charges attach to airborne particles such as smoke, dust, pollen, animal ander, etc, forcing the particles to quickly drop out of the air in the breathing environment, down to the ground. These needlepoint onizers usually cover a five to seven foot area in front area of the ionizer.
The second type of ionizer is called radio ionization. Radio ionization is a newer technology that uses similar priciples as needlepoint ionization except that the radio ionizer uses a specialized and safe radio wave that ionizes the air for aprox 50 feet right through the walls in all directions. With radio ionization, you can actually drop particles (allergens) out of the air in surrounding rooms. One unit can often cover an entire home. These air purifiers work especially well on removing cigar and cigarette smoke and their odors.
Both HEPA air cleaners and air purifiers are beneficial for removing allergens and odors from your indoor air environment. Individual problems and living conditions will determine which type of system will work best for you. Often times, the most effective solution will require the use of an air purifier in a central area in your home and a HEPA air cleaner in your bedroom for added protection. It is very important to capture the allergens and particulate in your sleeping area. Our customers report that they sleep more soundly and wake up feeling more refreshed with less allergy and asthma symptoms with a high quality HEPA air cleaner operating in their bedrooms.
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