The filterless air purifier may seem to be a contradiction in terms but this is an option for homeowners who admit to their own limitations.
People are busy today with work and family and interests to pursue. For some, maintaining home equipment is far down on the list of priorities.
If you are one of those homeowners who would like to improve the air quality inside your home but worry about the maintenance required by air purifiers, the filterless air purifier option may be a perfect fit for your lifestyle.
What’s the big deal about a filter? For many of us, changing a filter every few months is not a big deal. For others, the cost associated with buying new filters and the time required to make the change is an obstacle.
What if you buy an air purifier and then find filters hard to locate for your unit? The manufacturer may say you need to change a filter once a year but you may find the dust in your environment requires more frequent changes.
If you buy an air purifier that requires more maintenance that you are able or willing provide, you will end up with an unused piece of equipment sitting in your home. The air won’t be clean and you will have wasted money on the purchase.
Though it’s seldom mentioned, this is the fate of many air purifiers. When they are new they are well cared for but as they age they are taken for granted and not properly maintained.
When it comes to sales to consumers, companies know much of their profit is from repeat sales. Models are updated to add new bells and whistles. The filter that was the “best system available” last year may be replaced next year with the latest shiny new thing.
Small power tools can last for many years but may be rendered useless because the battery charger for the unit wear out and is no longer available. Any consumer product that uses features that must be replaced or are ancillary to use of the product may become a useless item even thought the product itself is in working order. The idea of an air cleaning unit that does not require future purchases of parts or accessories is enticing to many buyers.
Options for a Filterless Air Purifier
The primary option for a filterless air purifier is an electronic air purifier. These units are referred to by several names such as ionic or electrostatic precipitator. In this method, the air in the room is ionized on an electronic plate in the air cleaner.
Particles of contaminant are charged and then attracted by static electricity and trapped in a collection system. Fans may be used to increase the air flow but a fan is not required in order for the air purifier to work.
For a filter based air purifier, a fan is a necessary part of the air cleaning process. In daily use, the fan adds noise to the room (though some newer high end models are whisper quiet in operation) and the fan itself can be a dust catcher.
There is no air cleaner that is 100% maintenance free. A filterless air purifier does not require the user to buy and replace expensive filters but does require you to occasionally clean the plates that are the central feature of the electrostatic precipitation operating system. For some models, this is a quick and easy task while other filterless air purifiers require disassembly of the unit for cleaning.
The units are marketed by advertising the “no maintenance” feature and promising savings from not using expensive replaceable filters. This may be a good solution for someone who knows he will not maintain a unit properly. However, it may not be wise to spend money on a product when you know the process used is not likely to significantly improve the overall air quality in your home.
A Marketing Marvel
No one appreciates the filterless air purifier as much as those who sell these products. The sales copy repeatedly focuses on cheaper price, no noise, and the freedom from maintenance or buying expensive replacement filters.
What is not mentioned is the inefficiency of such air cleaning systems. Another concern that has recently surfaced is focused on the ozone that is a by-product of these ionic air cleaners. The negative ions produced will provide a clean scent to the air and this technology is included in many models of high end air purifiers.
However, the focus of filterless models ignores the necessity of carefully balancing the production of negative ions and using technology that restricts the production of ozone. High ozone levels will make air smell somewhat like rotten eggs and a sulfurous odor is an alert that your air purifier is producing harmful levels of ozone.
Perhaps the larger problem is the inefficiency of the purifier in removing particulates. This type of air cleaner will not provide the air quality needed by asthma sufferers or those with seasonal allergies.
If what you need is to add a freshness to the stale air in your room, this type of air purifier may be all you need. Most models are inexpensive compared to other types of air purifiers.
The filterless air purifier can provide a cleaner scent to the air in your room and will remove larger particles of dust and dander from the indoor air. However, if you need to remove fine pet dander, pollen and other allergens from your environment, this is not the best option for your needs.