Are you tired of the stuffy air at the office? We don't blame you. There are hundreds of airborne particles in closed spaces, and many contaminants can ruin your health. Running an air purifier in the office or at home can help remove this particulate matter from the air.
However, before you check out and pay with your favorite online retailer for your new air purifier, it's useful to understand how these devices operate and what they can achieve in remediating the air quality in your office or home. Air purifiers have benefits and limitations, and it's a good idea to have knowledge of both.
Air purification systems can range in size and capacity. Some are suitable for smaller rooms, while others are better for larger spaces. At times, the wrong type of air purifier can present health problems for you and your colleagues at work.
This brief guide to selecting the right air purifying system for your office helps you choose the best model for your needs.
According to research, a 2001 National study shows that the average American spends up to 87% of their time each day indoors. The study also indicates that the most common indoor spaces frequented by people include the home, office, and public buildings, like schools.
It's also important to note that the air quality inside the building can be up to 5-times worse than the air outdoors. The lack of ventilation and air circulation indoors leads to an accumulation of particulate matter, and biological contaminants like viruses and bacteria, in indoor situations.
Some of the pollutants found in indoor settings include mold, dust, pathogens, allergens, and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). The best way to remediate the air inside your office or home is to open the windows and let in the fresh air.
However, what do you do if your office is in an industrial area and the air quality outdoors is terrible? An air purification system helps you manage the air quality in the office without opening doors and windows. There are several different models of air purifiers, each with a specific operating mechanism and different effects in cleaning the air.
There are several different types of air purification systems available for the home and office. Here are your top choices.
Air filters (HEPA)
These filters are the gold standard for air purification. However, they are somewhat ineffective at removing larger particles from the air since they settle quickly to the ground. HEPA filters are also available in True HEPA and HEPA models.
These filters absorb particles and contaminants from the air bypassing the air through a carbon filter. The filter scrubs the air clean, returning it to the room.
Ionizers help remove pathogens like bacteria and viruses from the air, and they also trap mold spores and allergens. Think of it as tiny droplets suspended in the air that suck up all the pollutants they can find. However, some specific health issues are involved with the production of ozone by these machines, and we'll get into that in a minute.
These air purification systems trap gases, pathogens, allergens, and mold, just like ozone generators and ionizers. However, there are limitations to the technology, and the EPA doesn't recommend them for use in the home or office. The agency states that the current catalysts produced by the device are ineffective at destroying gas pollutants indoors in a sufficient volume.
This process is the successor to PCO. PECO utilizes similar principles, but the device operates at a much faster rate. This device can break down atmospheric pollutants fast.
Sure, a portable unit is suitable for a small to mid-sized office. However, if you have larger premises, you might want to think about investing in an air conditioning or HVAC system.
Typically, there are three different types of portable air purification systems available for the home or office.
Compact – Suitable for use as a desktop unit.
Portable – Comes with casters allowing you to move it between rooms.
Console – These are bulky units with a fixed position in the office or home.
There are hundreds of models available across these three categories. Compact and portable options make great choices for people that want to take their air purifier home with them after a day at the office. So, what do you look for when selecting the right air purifier to suit your needs at the home and office?
When you're purchasing your air purification system for the office, make sure you understand the different types available. You'll also need to know what to look for in a prospective model.
We recommend looking for models offering your peak performance in a variety of office conditions. The best models provide PM10 / 2.5 reductions, such as HEPA filters. It's also important to check that you can access the filter area for easy cleaning, maintenance, and filter replacement.
Before making your purchase, check to see if replacement filters are available and the cost of the filters. The filters are the backbone of the appliance. You'll need to change them out every few months or clean them to the manufacturer's specifications.
Therefore, make sure you take the cost of replacement filters into account before settling on your purchase. It's also important to note that there are limitations on the particulate matter and function of HEPA filters, but we'll get into that a bit later.
If you're purchasing a portable air purification system, you'll need to ensure you keep it well-maintained. Even the most advanced systems featuring high-quality components will break down if you don't give them the right care.
Letting dirt and particulate matter build up in the purifier's filter between changes can become problematic. If fungal colonies start to accumulate and build spores, the air purification system could end up pushing them back out into the room, reducing the air quality.
The ionizer function on air purification systems is becoming a hot selling point. Apparently, ions in the atmosphere trap particles and then fall to the ground or stick to walls, removing the particles from the air.
However, along with the production of ions, the purifier also produces ozone. Ozone is a naturally occurring gas in the stratosphere, and it helps to disperse UV radiation. However, at ground level, ozone has a toxic effect on humans.
The effects of ozone exposure lead to the development of upper respiratory issues. Some individuals might find they develop sinus problems, including itchy eyes, sneezing, and coughing. Ozone overexposure can be harmful to your health, and prolonged, repeated exposure to ozone can result in extreme respiratory distress.
In fact, some research shows that the use of ionizers actually increases the amount of particulate matter in the air. Avoiding models with ionizers and ozone functions is the best choice for the health of everyone at the office.
HEPA filters remove between 85% to 99.97% of particulate matter from the air. Why is there such a discrepancy in the amount of particulate matter they can capture? A HEPA filter and a True HEPA filter are two different systems.
True HEPA is the American standard, with the filter capturing 099.97% of all airborne particulate matter in the room. HEPA is the European counterpart standard. HEPS only requires the filter to capture up to 85% of all airborne particulate matter. Make sure you're using True HEPA filters in your air purification device.
When selecting the right unit for your office or home, make sure you match the purifier's capacity to the size of the room. Running an under-powered model in a large space won't do anything to remediate the air.
The reality is that most air purifiers are underpowered, and you might need to get a model that's a step above the recommended model for your room size. Rather pick a larger unit and run it slower than choosing a smaller model that needs to stay on the highest setting all day.
Before you think about finalizing your purchase, consider getting a test on the air quality in your office. The team at MI&T can assist you with a complete breakdown of the air in your office or home. If there are high levels of mold spores or VOCs, we'll let you know.
MI&T is an impartial, unbiased service. We don't work with air remediation companies or mold removal specialists. Therefore, you can rest assured that you're getting an accurate and ethical review of the air quality in your home.