Filtration Cliff

There is no lack of comment, opinion and overblown diatribe regarding the upcoming potential “fiscal cliff.” The politicos love to be able to scare people by predicting economic catastrophe if certain members of either party don’t come to a consensus on how to resolve this problem. The interesting thing is that even if the parties don’t agree something will happen without their involvement or decision. And, chances are that all this partisan posturing will be replaced with a compromise that will give credit to both parties while making the right decision for the American public. Disaster averted!

In the field of air filtration there are often two distinct approaches to resolving the same problem. And, like the political parties, one is often more correct than the other. More over, the right decision will have a very positive effect over a very long period of time and for a large number of individuals.

The removal of airborne particles from indoor air environments has always employed some type of mechanical filter. Cloth medias, fiberglass filters, cotton fiber filters and the man made medias ( including HEPA ) have been around for over 70 years. Mechanical filters are simple in nature. They capture the airborne particles that are drawn through them ( usually by a fan or air moving device) and the larger particles get caught in the media fibers while some of the tiny particles pass through. Over time as the filter media loads up, or gets dirtier, even most of the smaller particles are caught in the filter. In the case of HEPA filters, sub-micron particles are captured at efficiencies approaching 99.99% at less than 0.3 microns in size.

One other type of filtration device was also developed and used in the early 50’s and a variation of that technology is still use today. The electronic air cleaner was a simple device that used positive/negative charges to attract particles as they passed through a charged wire grid. The earlier versions were not very effective except for capturing very large particles. The newer versions are slightly better but this technology is really not appropriate for any applications except general duty residential.

In the 70’s another style of air filtration device hit the market. However, these devices were referred to as air purifiers and not air filters. These consisted of ozone generators and ionizers. They did not use any type of media and were touted as being able to purify the air in your home or office and no filters needed to be changed. Simply wipe the attraction plates or replace a small component part once in a while and you had all the clean air you could ask for. Unless you really wanted it to actually work at removing airborne particles.

Air purifiers are simply not capable of eliminating the harmful, sub-micron, airborne particles and allergens in the air. This is the reason that hospitals, laboratories, chip manufacturers, optics companies, the CDC, etc. etc. do not use air purifiers for any application. They rely only on mechanical filters such as HEPA filters. But, the discussion continues to rage on and there are proponents on both sides of the equation.

For more information on mechanical filter and HEPA air filtration systems please go to our website at: or follow us on Twitter @pureairsystems. You can always reach us at our toll-free number at: 800-869-8025.

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