May 31, 2011

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, the indoor air quality of Phoenix homes is often worse than the air quality outside. Dust, mold spores, germs and other pollutants circulate through the air with the potential to cause allergies, bouts of asthma and the spread of airborne diseases. Electronic air cleaners, as a result, have become popular as a way to clear the air and prevent health problems. There are many types of electronic air cleaners, though, and some do a much better job than others.

There are three general types of air cleaners in common use: air filters, ionizers, and germicidal elements.

  • Air filters clean the air by catching dust and other particles.
  • Ionizers create an electric charge in the air, which causes pollutants to stick to a metal collector plate via static cling. (Note: it is important not to confuse ionizers with ozone generators. Though they seem similar, such devices work by creating ozone, which is itself a form of air pollution.)
  • Germicidal elements, such as UV lights, kill microorganisms like bacteria, viruses and mold.

Each type can work well for certain types of pollution. Because of this, the best electronic air cleaners use a combination of these three. For instance, though a germicidal element is the best at killing germs, it does not by itself remove any other pollutants from the air. Combine it with an air filter, though, and you get the full benefits of each.

Even among air cleaners of the same type, there can be big differences in quality. Some filters, for example, remove only 5 percent of pollutants, while others can remove more than 99 percent. One good way to compare the effectiveness of different electronic air cleaners is to compare their MERV ratings. The higher the rating, the better the air cleaner is. For home use, you can get air cleaners with a MERV as high as 16, which is considered clean enough for general surgery.

For more information on electronic air cleaners, contact us at Wolff Mechanical. We have a wide range of air cleaners to suit every Arizona home and will be happy to answer whatever questions you have.

Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).

Wolff Mechanical services the Phoenix Valley area in Arizona. To get started, check out our website.

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