The air around us is filled with particles such as dust, dander, smoke, odors, and even viruses and bacteria. Ionization helps reduce particles in the air by introducing ions into the space. When these ions disperse throughout a space, they carry an electrical charge and attach to particles in the air through a process called agglomeration. This creates a snowball effect in which particles begin to cluster together. The larger a cluster of particles becomes, the easier it is for your HVAC system to filter it out of the air.
Another aspect of ionization is the ion’s ability to disrupt the organism’s ability to produce by disrupting the organism’s cell walls. This effectively prevents the organisms from reproducing. For more details, check out our previous post that breaks this down.
Air filtration systems that use this technology are referred to as ionization or plasma air purification.
Household ionization during a pandemic
Ionization as a means of air purification has been around for several decades. What started as a cool “what if” has become widely used as an effective way to purify the air we breathe. Since it first began, the technology for ionizing air molecules has evolved. Today, companies get ions by different pathways. This means that while the ions may be the same, the overall system may have different costs and impacts.
As COVID-19 began to spread around the world and more information was gathered about how it propagated, ionized air purifiers were in hot demand. Since COVID-19 spread primarily through air droplets, people began searching for ways to actively purify the air in their homes and workspaces.
Many people turned to ionization to solve their need for clean air. Ionization was seen as a good investment since it’s low maintenance, actively purifies the air and has minimal disruption to the environment it’s placed in.
How is ionization used today?
Ionizers have two primary means of distributing the ionized air: ducted and standalone
In ducted ion distribution, air is forced past the ionizer:
Ionized air systems can be installed within ductwork (whether by electrification or plasma) and delivered into the room. This uses existing ductwork and supply diffusers to direct the flow of air. As a result, the ionized air circulates only as well as the existing HVAC system can distribute air. Another downside is that ions will only be delivered to a space with the ventilation system running which can be expensive considering the large fans used to drive air through ducts.
Standalone ion distribution relies on in-room devices utilizing fans:
Standalone systems pass air over the ionizer emitters. Standalone ion distribution systems are best for spaces with no forced air ductwork. In-room devices use highly efficient fans consuming only a fraction of the energy needed to circulate ions in a space compared to ducted systems. Standalone systems can also be great for targeting areas that have stagnant air or lots of obstructions that impede airflow.
These days it is easy to find ionizers for common, household use. Ionized air purifiers are used in commercial/industrial settings as well, from retail to factories to schools.
Installing an ionized air purifier in a commercial setting allows for shoppers, workers, and students to breathe easier. Ionizing technology helps improve the air by reducing airborne particles including certain odors, viruses and bacteria. This is just as important in a commercial environment as in someone’s home.
In a commercial setting, most systems for air purification are ducted systems that rely on a fan to deliver ionized air into the location. With pathogen control as a primary issue, a ducted system takes an active approach to eliminating pathogens compared to a more passive, standalone system. Commercial spaces tend to have more traffic than a home and thus need the air to be cleaned more quickly than a standalone system could handle.
Testing has also shown that by combining ionization with a basic filtration and ventilation system, the number of harmful particles is significantly reduced.
Is Ionization/Plasma right for me?
There are a few things to consider when deciding if ionization/plasma is right for you and your situation.
First, where are you expecting to use these systems? Since standalone ionization systems require little to no power and are easily transportable, they are useful to be used in a variety of retrofit settings. You don’t need any special wiring or hook-ups, just a standard electrical outlet.
If cost is an issue, ionization could be a great option. While these systems can cost more up front, the maintenance is virtually zero and they have a long lifespan. In the long run, you’ll end up spending less for ionization than filters or UV bulbs that you have to replace continually.
While no system is perfect, ionization systems are proven to help improve the air quality. If odors, viruses and bacteria are concerns to you in your setting, consider installing an ionization system.
A final consideration is the space that you’re occupying. Are you wanting to clean the entire space, including surfaces? Or just clean the air that is circulating? Since ionized air fills the whole space, it will affect pathogens throughout the room getting into all the little nooks and crannies to thoroughly clean the room, even the surfaces.
Ionized air purification systems have been adopted by many in their homes to keep the air clean. They work to safely clean the air inside industrial, commercial, and residential buildings. Installing an ionization system in your business could save you money in the long run and stop any worry about the air you’re breathing.
If you’re considering an ionized air purification system, consider Airius. Our PureAir system is ideal for indoor gathering spaces and other establishments because it provides a safe, continuous flow of air that is effective at combating airborne pathogens to keep your customers and employees healthy, safe and comfortable.
Talk with a PureAir expert today to see if the ionized air purification system is right for you and your building.