There are numerous ways to improve the air quality of your home, but it can become confusing when you’re looking to purchase an appliance to clean your air. There are air purifiers, dehumidifiers, and air ionizers, and each of these serves a different purpose. So, what is an air ionizer anyway?
Is this something that can improve your indoor air quality, and with that, improve your health, too?
Just to complicate matters further, some air purifiers have an ionizer installed along with it, and some air ionizers are machines you can purchase separately from another machine and use them in tandem to effectively clean air.
Find out more about air ionizers and discover whether you should add one of these to your home’s air cleaning tools.
Air Ionizers – The Basics
The most essential question you’ll have when researching air ionizers is what is an air ionizer and what does it do?
Air ionizers do something similar to air purifiers, as air ionizer also cleans the air. But, instead of using a standard filtration system, an air ionizer uses electricity. How does this happen?
When an air ionizer works, it’s using negative ions that cling to positively-charged contaminants, which include dust, pet dander, smoke, odors, bacteria, viruses, and pollen, among other microscopic and large-sized debris that can create an unhealthy breathing environment.
When the negative ions are released into the air and attach to the positive ions, ie the debris, these particles can no longer float in the air and become a nuisance for those suffering from allergies or asthma. Instead, the contaminants sink to the ground where they can be swept or vacuumed up.
Some air ionizers also use modern technology to sanitize the air and effectively remove microbes, but not all of the machines do this, and the process isn’t essential.
However, it’s something extra that can assist you when you’re looking for clean air, especially if you have an issue with mold, mildew, fungus, or bacteria.
Are Air Ionizers Good for You?
An air ionizer sounds like it does good things for your home and for your indoor air quality, but you may not completely understand the meaning of terms like negatively charged ions and positively charged ions – it’s difficult for the layperson to grasp what that can mean in terms of your health.
So, is it healthy to breathe in ionized air? Is it good for you to use one of these daily, or should you consider another type of device to clean your indoor air?
Sometimes people get air ionizers mixed up with ozone generators. Anything that emits ozone in your home is bad for you. However, on the whole, ions aren’t bad for you, and a household ionizer is perfectly healthy to use in your home.
Since some ionizers emit small amounts of ozone, you may want to take note of this. When you’re looking for an air ionizer to purchase, ensure it doesn’t emit any ozone, and if it does, make sure it’s a very small amount, which doctors say is okay to breathe in.
Though air ionizers are safe, if you do have asthma or other breathing difficulties, you may not want to use one just in case a minute amount of ozone does come out, which could aggravate any breathing difficulties.
What’s the Difference Between an Air Purifier and an Air Ionizer?
So, now you’re probably wondering what is the difference between a traditional air purifier and an air ionizer?
Regular air purifiers use a filter to trap particulates, while the air ionizer uses electricity. The main difference is that with an air filter, the contaminants are sucked into the machine and completely removed from the air.
With an ionizer, the contaminants fall to the floor or land on furniture, which can allow you to remove them from the room, but there is always the off-chance that they get kicked up back into the air, a risk you won’t have with an air purifier.
An air ionizer can cover a wider area than an air purifier can, making it more effective at cleaning larger rooms than an air purifier. Most air purifiers max out at around 1,500 square feet, and air ionizers can clean rooms much larger.
Air purifiers cost more than air ionizers, so if you are on a budget, an ionizer might meet your cost expectations better. Air purifiers come in more styles, designs, colors, and sizes than ionizers, which are fairly limited in design.
Benefits and Downsides of Using an Air Ionizer
One of the benefits of using an air ionizer is that you don’t have to remember to change the filter, and there is very little maintenance when it comes to using an air ionizer.
They cost less to operate and maintain, and they’re less expensive to purchase than a traditional air purifier, which is definitely a benefit.
A downside of air purifiers is that they consume more energy and power, so they’re not as energy-efficient as an air purifier. Air purifiers can run silently, but ionizers can rarely run as quiet.
Air ionizers are known for high performance, and they can effectively remove all kinds of impurities from the air, leaving you with good indoor air quality. They’re known for removing even the most microscopic particles such as bacteria and viruses as well as larger contaminants.
The downsides of using an air ionizer include the small amount of ozone leaked into the air as well as the difficulty an ionizer has when removing odors.
If odors are one of the reasons you require an air cleaner, you may wish to get an air purifier since those do better with strong odors in the home, such as pet odors, VOCs, or mildew odors.
Weigh the pros and cons of using an air purifier vs. an ionizer before you buy one.
Considerations When Buying an Air Ionizer
Before you purchase an air ionizer, consider some of these factors as you shop so you can make an educated purchase.
Air Purifier with Ionizer Function vs. Standalone Ionizer
You can split the difference and purchase an air purifier with a built-in ionizer function. This can give you the best of both worlds. Is it a good idea?
Experts say that as long as you maintain it properly by changing the filter and other upkeep, an air purifier with an ionizer can be a great way to clean the air in your home and reduce contaminants.
A regular air purifier uses a fan and a filter in a simple configuration to clean the air. When you add the boost of the ionizer, this can be very effective at cleaning the air.
As a bonus, some air purifiers have a collection system to ensure the contaminants are trapped, unlike a regular air ionizer in which the particles simply fall to the ground with the weight of the ions.
This collection plate must be cleaned and maintained so it can be reused, but if this maintenance is done as well as filter changing, the built-in ionizer can be a definite perk and may be a better choice than the ionizer on its own, especially if you suffer from allergies.
Also, consider how large your room is since the two different types of machines cover different room sizes and square footage.
Budget Ionizer vs. More Expensive Model
You’ll see that some ionizers are very affordable, around $50, while others are much more expensive. What’s the difference between these?
For starters, a more expensive ionizer will likely cover a larger area of space. If you are looking to clean your whole home, or over 1,000 square feet, it will likely cost you to do so.
A more expensive model may have more adjustable settings, an additional deodorizer to ensure odor removal, and the most costly device will likely work for over 2,000 square feet or more.