Archive for Air Cleaner Technology

Smoke Removal Technologies

Second hand smoke consists of a toxic blend of particles, gasses and odors. Generally, smoke eaters fall into two main categories, electrostatic or media based. Some newer hybrid smoke eaters combine technologies in an effort to offer features, convenience and benefits from both smoke eater groups.

Electrostatic smoke eater technology

Electrostatic smoke eaters usually consist of a prefilter, to remove large particles, an ionizing section and a cell containing several electrostatic collector plates. When second hand smoke is brought into the system, the prefilter removes that large particles of smoke, dust and other contaminates. Next, the second hand smoke passes through the ionizing section, which charges the smoke particles in the air. The charged particles then pass through the electronic cell, where the smoke particles magnetically stick to the collector plates. Some hybrid smoke eaters also include a carbon post filter section, which helps to remove gasses and remove smoke odor.

Media based smoke removal systems consist of a prefilter, a main filter and usually a carbon post filter. These smoke filters work together to remove smoke particles and to remove smoke smell. Media filters, such as HEPA, are made of tightly woven fabric, which traps the smoke particles, removing them from the airstream. Gas phase media is usually granulated carbon, or a specialized carbon blend. Potassium iodide or potassium permanganate is often used to treat carbon. Activated carbon contains thousands of tiny pores which trap gasses and smoke odors through a process called “adsorption.” Potassium additives oxidize gaseous contaminants and combine with carbon to provide superior smoke odor removal.

There are a few things to keep in mind when selecting the right smoke removal system for your needs. Some smoke eaters claim to have carbon post filters, when in fact they use a foam pad with carbon dust sprinkled onto it which has very little effect in removing toxic gasses or odors. Always look for a unit that has several pounds of granulated carbon if you want to effectively remove smoke odor.

Pros and Cons of Different Smoke Eater Technologies

There are benefits to each kind of smoke eater, when choosing a smoke removal system you should select a system that best suits your needs and budget. Electrostatic smoke eaters use a washable filter as the main filter in the smoke removal system. This filter does not need to be replaced, but it does need to be cleaned regularly. Washable electronic filter cells offer considerable long term savings, but they do require some labor.

Another benefit in using a smoke eater that utilizes an electronic filter cell is that, unlike media filters, they do not decrease the airflow as they load. The benefit of not restricting airflow means that the unit will provide the same coverage area, even when the filters are dirty. The same cannot be said for media filters, which lose as much as 50% of their airflow, when the filters are only halfway through their lifespan.

Media based smoke eaters use a replaceable smoke filter, which do not require regular maintenance, but the smoke filter does require replacement about once per year. Media smoke filter replacements usually cost around $200 or more. Any smoke removal system with carbon must have the carbon replaced periodically if it is to remove smoke smell.

Other Smoke Removal Technologies

In recent years there have been a number of companies claiming to have found the next great smoke removal system. It is important to understand what these technologies are, how they work and what other effects they have, or may cause.

Ozone Generators

Many new products on the market that claim to be smoke removal systems use ozone. Ozone is a powerful cleaning agent and is capable of odor removal. Ozone is not a smoke filter and does not remove smoke particles. There are many companies on the internet touting their ozone producing machines as a smoke eater or a smoke odor eliminator. It is important to know that ozone has been proven to be harmful to humans and may pose a potential health hazard.

Ozone producing units are more suited to restoration work and should not be used in occupied spaces. While some manufacturers claim that their units only emit a “safe level” of ozone, the fact is, almost all units exceed this specification. What is deemed a safe level is not nearly enough ozone for it to be effective as an air cleaner or “smoke odor eliminator.” Furthermore, ozone levels are measured in “parts per million” and in order for a claim of a “safe level” one would need to know the total volume of air in the area in the area in which the unit is to be used.

Ionizers and Ionic Air Cleaners

Ionization is the process that charges the particles in the air with an electric polarity. When these charged particles come into contact with other items, they cling to the surface. Electrostatic smoke eaters have an ionizing section followed by a series of collector plates to capture the smoke particles.

Most ionic air cleaners, claiming to be smoke eaters or smoke removal systems, use only an ionizing section. These ionizers emit the air with the charged particles; the particles adhere to anything with which they come into contact. This commonly includes walls, clothing, furnishings and even the interior of your mouth and lungs. Some ionizers will have only 1 or 2 collector plates which are not really enough to effectively handle smoke removal and are more intended to reduce household dust.

Comments (18)

BPA News

Airpura Air CleanersOne of our most popular residential product lines, Airpura has undergone a few recent changes. A new Swiss built motor will now be used in place of the German motor we have previously used. The new motor features the same high output CFM rating but runs much quieter. Some customers had reported a buzzing sound while operating the unit on lower speed settings, we have replaced these units with new units featuring the Swiss motor and all shipments starting at the beginning of this week and all future units will sport the new Swiss motor.

While the cost of this motor is markedly higher that it’s predecessor, we are expecting to hold the current pricing through 2006. The new motor is so quiet we’ve been hearing feedback from customers claiming that the only sound you hear is the air moving through the machine. We will be re-testing the units very soon and posting new decibel levels, but our current observations conclude that this is one of the quietest air cleaners on the market for CFM vs. sound levels.

All Airpura air purifiers will feature this new Swiss motor as will our BPA Smoke Muncher XL and BPA Smoke Muncher XL Deluxe line of residential smoke eaters.

Comments (4)

Air Cleaner Technologies

This post starts of the various post that have to do with the various technologies used to purify the air.

Comments (7)