There are many brands and many types of air cleaners on the market. Of them all the best clearly is IQAir. These units are made in Switzerland to very high standards. To understand how to choose an air filter first lets consider the basic types.
The two main types are electronic air filters and mechanical HEPA filters. Electronic filters work by charging small particle such as dust and pollen and attracting them to collector plates. These work reasonably well at the beginning but as soon as particles start collecting on the plates their efficiency reduces tremendously. In order for them to work reasonably well you need to clean the many collector plates constantly.
Doing so is both a chore, and often as you clean them the dust, pollen and other particles escape back into the air. Also electronic air cleaners, to a greater or lesser extent, produce ozone. Ozone is a lung irritant. It is especially a bad idea for anyone with asthma. The American Lung Association advises people to avoid air cleaners which produce ozone.
HEPA filters are the most effective method of removing particles from the air. These filters were originally designed for atomic labs to make sure that radioactive particles did not escape from the labs. They are extremely effective at removing all particles from large to small. There are many HEPA filters on the market. I personally have used and rejected many of them over the years. Some, including the most common ones found in the stores, suffer from two problems- one inferior fans that do not last and low efficiency. By low efficiency I mean that while they remove some of the particles in the air- they do not remove enough. Most manufacturers state that they use HEPA filters which are 99.97% efficient, which is true. What they don’t say is that while the filters are highly efficient- there units are not. These are due to poor design- such as air escaping past the filters and cleaned air being sucked back into the air intake. Most of these units average 60-80% efficiency. At an average of 70% efficiency- if there are 2 million particle in a cubic foot of air (an average amount) then 2 million go in and 600,000 come out. At these rates of efficiency the units help clean the air to some degree, but not enough.
IQ Air does things very differently. Let’s examine their Healthpro Plus Model, for example to see how it works.
The units (look at picture to the left) consists of 3 filters with a extremely powerful and quiet fan sandwiched between them. The air is pulled in from the bottom where it passes through a very robust pre-filter- unlike most pre-filters in HEPA units this is not just a flimsy screen but a filter that removes the vast majority (over 90%) of all particles passing through the unit, all but the very smallest. This way the more expensive other filters are spared from having to deal with anything but this filter cannot trap.
Next is the V-5 Gas filter. This contains a large quantity of granular activated carbon and impregnated alumina. These will remove a wide range of unwanted household odors and gaseous chemicals. Finally what gets pass the first two filters goes to not an ordinary HEPA filter but a Cleanroom grade HyperHEPA filter which traps small and ultra-small particles including bacteria, viruses, allergens and sub-micron size dust.
The result of all of this is a unit which unlike the 70% average efficiency unit mentioned above instead is guaranteed to be at least 99.98% efficient. This is not an idle boast- it is guaranteed. Each unit is tested before shipping with a laser particle scanner to determine if it meets this standard. The technician will test to make sure that each fan speed at least meets the specification and checks the indoor air before the cleaner is on and then the cleanliness of the air coming out of each of the 6 outputs at the sides of the top of the unit. Each unit which I have personally received has had outputs ranging from zero to 500 particles per cubic foot- a big difference from the more typical 600,000 of other units. At these high efficiencies these units quickly clean the air- reducing your exposures to allergens, dust, pollen, chemical out-gassing and smoke, thus improving your health.
IQ Air makes many models for different situations- we will discuss 4 different model here- which cover the most common situations. If you have a unusual need call us and we will to discuss which unit will work best for you.
Who Should Use Which Model:
To learn more about each model or to purchase it- click on the Model Name