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Can Air Filters Remove Odors?

February 04, 2012 | Comments: 0 | Views: 153

The question is "Can air filters remove odors", this is a question that requires an understanding of what an odor is and what it takes to remove them.

1) What is an odor? An odor is nothing more than an airborne particle that interacts with the Olfactory gland. Not being a doctor you may want to consult with a Medical Doctor as to where that gland is located and how it specifically works. In this layman's understanding, this is the gland that helps you recognize bacon frying in the background or the nutmeg in that Christmas dinner. Since we know that odor is a particulate, we need to determine how fine a filter we need to capture these airborne items from the air we breathe. We have previously discussed particulates and their sizes in preceding articles, but it merits repeating in that the unit of measure is in microns, A micron is the short reference for micrometer or 1 millionth of a meter. A micron is a metric unit of measure that corresponds to 0.000039 inches American.)

2) Identify the odor. In order for an odor to be removed, we need to identify the odor and the corresponding cause.

Is the smell a result of Bacteria, Mold, Smoke, Virus or a combination of Smog? Identifying the cause, has everything to do with the size of the contaminant. One thing you will quickly realize is that odor is generally caused by something smaller than bacteria. (Most allergy sufferers are already aware of this fact) The following chart lists a number of odor causing sources and their corresponding micron size. To eliminate an odor, we will need a filter or a means of capturing particulates that are the size of bacteria or smaller.

BacteriaSize ranges between 0.1 to 0.10.0 microns

FumesSize ranges between 0.1 to 1.0 Microns

Cooking SmokeSize ranges between 0.01 to 1.0 Microns

Smoke Size ranges between 0.01 to 0.5 Microns

Household DustSize ranges between 0.006 to 10.0 Microns

Viruses Size ranges between 0.006 to 10.0 Microns

Smog Size ranges between <0.0005 to 1.0 Microns

3) Selecting the correct Air Purifier. Assume Smoke is the culprit and you need to eliminate it. Smoke ranges between 0.01 to 0.5 microns in size. So, we need a device that will filter out and/or capture materials as small as 0.01 microns in size.


Portable Air Filter Devices - It may be your first choice to look at High Efficiency Particulate Air Style Portable Air Cleaner Devices. After all they have been around for a long time and stores seem to sell a lot of them. The problem, not all filters are created equal.

(High Efficiency Particulate Air)- In order to qualify as a true HEPA filter, the filter must be designed to remove 99.97% of all particulates greater than 0.3 microns or meet an industrial standard known as MERV having a filter rating of 16 or better. In our choice selection, a minimal 0.3 micron filters would not work. This said, some of these devices are combined with Heating elements that literally cremate contaminates, others utilize Ionics' and still others Charcoal infused secondary filters. Depending on what these devices are rated to remove, should determine your selection.

Thec Pro's

True HEPA filters are designed to remove a minimum of 95% of all bacteriaReplacements are generally very easy to changeReplacements are generally very easy to findAvailability is plentiful and can be purchased from many general merchandise stores

The Con's

Initial prices range from a couple of hundred to several thousands of dollarsReplacement cost can be relatively expensiveUnit efficiency is directly proportional to frequency of maintenanceThe faster you run air through the unit, the noisier the fan element

ELECTROSTATIC PURIFIERS - This style may not be your first consideration, but may be your choice of preference, particularly since many of these purifiers require no filter replacement and minimal maintenance. Electrostatic Technologies - A number of units utilize this technology and depending on what you wish to pay. Your purchase can be as simple as an electronic particulate saturator that uses collection plates or other units with secondary filters, chemical digesters and internal furnaces. The following pros and cons are direct comparisons with the HEPA equivalency standards.

The Pro's

Like High Efficiency Particulate Air Style Air Cleaner units, many Electrostatic Air Purifiers remove the same minimum bacteria level of 95%Many versions can operate filterlessGenerally these units operate at very low energy consumptionFar less noisy because they operate with either smaller fans or no fans at all

The Con's

Particulate fall out is to be expected from units without a backup filter or those without collection plates. (ie: more wall furniture and floor cleaning)Most units are not specifically designed as whole house air cleaners.Considered to be zone units, (ie: protects a maximum square footage).Your personal needs may require the purchase of multiple units

In conclusion; Capture rate of particulates and micron size is all important. Check the manufacturers advertised micron capture size when determining the efficiency of these devices. Many of the devices can provide a high level of comfort and durable performance, but may not remove the particulate specific to your concerns. Finally, check out as many options as possible. High Efficiency Particulate Air Style Cleaners and Electrostatic models are just two of many types of air purifiers available to you. Remember, when Breathing Fresher Air, the health of you and your family are all that is important.

For MORE INFORMATION: We invite you to visit us at: for more detailed information on type of filters, cost efficiencies, methods of operation, portability and more. We have a special selection of air purifiers for the home. How does your family find relief from Air Borne Pollution?

Source: EzineArticles
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