Electronic air cleaners ensure better indoor air quality

Electronic air cleaners ensure better indoor air quality

Many of the best air cleaners rely on filtration devices to remove particulates and volatile organic compounds from the air. Electronic air cleaners (EACs) bypass having to rely on air filters and instead rely on a charge to control indoor air quality. 

Indoor air quality

High-rated minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) and high efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters target very small particles, but their success depends in large part on the homeowner. If you allow the filter to get too full, it will restrict airflow through the HVAC system, and it will no longer rid the air of pollutants. But there's another problem that air filters generally can't resolve: suspended particles. That's where electronic air cleaners come into the picture.

Problematic particles

Filters and EACs both target miniscule particles, typically those that range in size from 0.3 microns to 10 microns (and larger). Experts report that the majority of the pollutants in the air (as much as 99 percent) are made up of particles that are 1 micron or smaller. Some of these very tiny particles stay suspended in the air, and therefore don't move through the HVAC system or aren't captured by less-efficient filters. In the case of filtration devices, their success depends entirely on the movement of particles through the air.

Electronic air cleaners answer to this need without relying on filters. Whereas most EACs contain a pre-filter to capture very large particles, the equipment houses internal ionizing wires and collector plates to do the job. The ionizing wires emit a high-voltage charge into the area immediately surrounding them, giving particles a charge. The collector plates hold the opposite charge, drawing the particles into the plates where they permanently stick to its surface. As a result, the EAC captures the small suspended particles, as well as the larger particles.

Some EACs operate without using collector plates. Instead, these systems release electronic charges into the air, causing particles to collide and then stick together. In this case, because there are no collector plates to rely on, the particles will come to rest on the surfaces of your home, creating a white, often thick dust. You can deal with the dust by opting to run the furnace or A/C fan continuously, which will help move some of the substance through the HVAC filter, where it will be captured.

Perks of an EAC

Opting for a whole-house EAC offers you sevearal benefits:

  • Improved indoor air quality results in fewer particulates and pollutants floating through the air in your home.
  • Peace of mind ensures that indoor air quality measures are getting results.
  • Whole-house capacity helps you enjoy all of the living spaces in your home (whereas portable units are generally restricted to a single room).
  • Low maintenance stems from most contractors who clean the EAC in conjunction with annual service of the HVAC system.

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