Pollutants that can affect air quality in a home fall into the following categories:Particulate matter includes dust, smoke, pollen, animal dander, tobacco smoke, particles generated from combustion appliances such as cooking stoves, and particles associated with tiny organisms such as: dust mites molds bacteria viruses Gaseous pollutants come from combustion processes. Sources include gas cooking stoves, vehicle exhaust and tobacco smoke. They also come from: building materials furnishings the use of products such as adhesives paints varnishes cleaning products pesticides
What Types of Pollutants Can an Air Cleaner Remove?
There are several types of air cleaning devices available, each designed to remove certain types of pollutants.
Two types of air cleaning devices can remove particles from the air — mechanical air filters and electronic air cleaners. Mechanical air filters remove particles by capturing them on filter materials.
High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters are in this category. Electronic air cleaners such as electrostatic precipitators use a process called electrostatic attraction to trap charged particles. They draw air through an ionization section where particles obtain an electrical charge. The charged particles then accumulate on a series of flat plates called a collector that is oppositely charged. Ion generators, or ionizers, disperse charged ions into the air, similar to the electronic air cleaners but without a collector. These ions attach to airborne particles, giving them a charge so that they attach to nearby surfaces such as walls or furniture, or attach to one another and settle faster.
Gaseous Pollutant Removal
Gas-phase air filters remove gases and odors by using a material called a sorbent, such as activated carbon, which adsorbs the pollutants. These filters are typically intended to remove one or more gaseous pollutants from the airstream that passes through them. Because gas-phase filters are specific to one or a limited number of gaseous pollutants, they will not reduce concentrations of pollutants for which they were not designed. Some air cleaning devices with gas-phase filters may remove a portion of the gaseous pollutants and some of the related hazards, at least on a temporary basis. However, none are expected to remove all of the gaseous pollutants present in the air of a typical home.