WELLNESS ENVIRONMENTS: AIR
Under the right conditions, some air cleaners can effectively
remove certain respirable-size particles (for example,
tobacco smoke particles). Removing such particles may
reduce associated health effects from eye and lung irritation
to more serious effects such as cancer and decreased
GET LATEST ANTIAGING
PRODUCT NEWS & REVIEWS
Some controversy exists about whether air cleaners
can reduce the allergic reactions produced by larger
particles such as pollen, house dust allergens, some
molds, and animal dander.
Air cleaners that do not contain special media, such
as activated carbon or alumina, will not remove gaseous
pollutants, including radon, or reduce their associated
health effects. Whether air cleaners that contain these
media are effective in reducing health risks from gaseous
pollutants cannot be adequately assessed at this time.
In addition, the effectiveness of air cleaners in reducing
the health risks from radon progeny (decay products)
cannot be adequately evaluated at present. The removal
of gaseous pollutants and radon and its progeny is not
addressed further in this fact sheet. Health effects
from these pollutants may be serious, however, and they
are of concern in indoor air.
Types of air cleaners include:
- Mechanical filters, similar to, and including,
the typical furnace filter.
- Electronic air cleaners (for example, electrostatic
precipitators) which trap charged particles using
an electrical field.
- Ion generators which act by charging the particles
in a room. The charged particles are then attracted
to walls, floors, draperies, etc. or a charged collector.
- "Hybrid" devices, which contain two or
more of the particle removal devices discussed above.
Selecting an Air Filter
At a minimum, consider the following major factors
affecting the performance of the air cleaner:
- The percentage of the particles removed as they
go through the device (that is, the efficiency).
- The amount of air handled by the device.
- The effective volume of the air to be cleaned.
- The decrease in performance which may occur between
maintenance periods and if periodic maintenance is
not performed on schedule.
One common method of rating high efficiency filters
uses a procedure in Military Standard 282. This procedure
measures how well small particles of a specific chemical
are removed by the filter.
Adequate performance of any air cleaning system depends
- Proper installation, use, and care. Follow the
manufacturer's directions to assure that the air cleaner
works properly. To avoid any electrical or mechanical
hazards, be sure the unit is listed with Underwriters
Laboratories (UL) or another recognized independent
safety testing laboratory.
- Perform routine maintenance, as required. Generally
speaking, air cleaners rigor frequent cleaning and
filter replacement to function properly.
- Proper placement. Place portable air cleaners so:
- Near a specific pollutant source, if one exists.
- They force the cleaned air into occupied areas.
- The inlet and outlet are not blocked by walls,
furniture, or other obstructions.
- For in-duct devices, assure that the inlets and
outlets of the heating or cooling
system are not blocked by furniture and other obstructions.
Air Purifiers do not clean the air by filtration as
HEPA air cleaners do. There generally use two types
of air purifiers.
More on air purifiers