Room air filters vary in construction and efficiency. An air filter does just what its name implies; it filters air by removing particles of dust and other fragments. The efficiency with which a filter removes particles from air is dependent on its construction and the quality of the materials that it is made from.
The most common filter is a dry mechanical screen-like type made of fiberglass or some other fiber that catches dust particles. Other types of room air filters can employ wet viscous strainers or washers and sometimes bubblers. In these types of filters, air passes through a container or stream of water. These filters can also employ centrifugal separators or electrostatic separators.
A true electrostatic air filter, or cleaner, uses electricity, whatever the source. The typical electrostatic filter can remove particles 10 microns and larger in size. This is good for filtering out pollen, common dust, spores and other common household contaminants.
The electricity used in Ingram’s filter is generated without having to plug anything in. It does this by the air passing over a plastic element that gives it a positive electrostatic charge. This filter, since it has no moving parts should last the lifetime of any system that it is used on. It just needs to be cleaned once a month.
There are add-on “packs” that are offered. One uses activated carbon to absorb specific household pollutants like cooking odors. Other “packs” are available for use in hospitals or nursing homes. These filters are said to filter out 91.7 percent household pollutants.
Electrostatic equipment uses an ionization field that gives a positive electrostatic charge to particles in the air, like dust or pollen. As the particles pass by metal plates that are charged negatively, the positively charged dust or pollen particles are attached (precipitated) onto these plates.
Things that are charged alike repel one another and oppositely charged things attract. This fact about the nature of electricity can also be seen in philosophy dating back thousands of years. Light and dark, good and evil, yin and yang are examples. Photocopiers also use a similar technology employing heat and light along with electrostatic charges and the copier powder to make photo copies.
The one big advantage of a permanent filter is that it can be cleaned and reused for an indefinite period of time. All filters should be cleaned or replaced at least every 200 hours. In a well-insulated home, the replacement should be monthly. Some of the newer types of thermostats have filter timers built into them. These are pretty nifty and make it easy to keep track of filter usage.
There are small room-sized ionization air cleaners that could be used. These cleaners are not tremendously expensive and can be moved easily, if need be, from room to room. The ones that I have seen cost anywhere from $80 and up.
Some of these small filters can be as expensive as or more expensive than the whole house filter mentioned above. There are also larger self-contained filters that work on the same basic principle. The units all have built-in fans that draw air through the filtering system and then circulate the filtered air back into the room. Some of these units are very efficient. They also offer a variety of filtering elements to extract specific odors or contaminants from the air.
Remember, some air-cleaning products can be expensive. So make sure you check things out and be sure you are satisfied that you understand how a product works and what its benefits are before you buy.