Portable Air Purifier Technologies - What You Need to Know
Air purifiers are convenient and affordable ways to provide clean air technologies to small and large indoor spaces.
With concerns over indoor air quality (IAQ) in the workplace, sick building syndrome, and high risks for viral transmission (in the case of the flu and the coronavirus), having a portable air purifier system in your office helps address these concerns. Air purifiers have many perks for businesses, such as clean air, which your HVAC system may not be capable of providing, and protection against virus transmission.
The biggest bonus of all is reducing sick days while increasing productivity and providing safer workspaces. While the assumption might be that portable air purifier technologies may sound "small," they are mighty and can handle more than you think. Therefore, this article will cover everything you will need to know when researching the optimal portable air purifier controls for your facility.
What Is A Portable Air Purifier?
Portable air purifiers are filtration devices that can clean the air of pathogens, viruses, bacteria, particulates (such as; pollen, dander, and dust mites), and contaminants, including VOCs. However, not all air purifiers are created equal. Portable air cleaners offer various technologies supporting different applications, with some systems delivering more air cleaning power than others.
For example, Sanalife's portable air purifiers are fully scalable solutions, providing effective multi-stage air filtration and robust surface sanitization in facilities of all sizes. Sanalife's systems also range up to 300 CFM for continuous air exchanges within deployed spaces. In the Indoor Air Quality (IAQ) solutions industry, portable air purifiers are denoted by their unique plug-and-play setup and a vast range of capabilities. Portable air purifiers are very convenient, especially since they do not require any updates to the heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system.
How Do Portable Air Purifiers Work?
Portable air purifiers use powerful and whisper-quiet fans to draw polluted air into the system through an intake. The air then passes through each stage or layer of filtration media capturing and reducing airborne pollutants and contaminants. The fan then exhausts the clean air out of the system and back into the indoor space.
For portable air purifiers, their effectiveness in delivering clean air and reducing viral transmission often depends on the following key factors:
- What filtration media types are used? Filtration media types include High-Efficiency Particulate Absorbing Filters (HEPA), Pre-Filters, and Activated Carbon Filters.
- How small and what percentage of airborne particulate matter and contaminants can the filtration media remove (measured in microns)?
- What electronic air cleaning technologies are used? Technologies include UV-C Lights/Photocatalytic-Oxidation Technology (PCO), Negative Ionization, and Hydroxyl Radical Technology.
- What number of air exchanges can the system provide per hour within a space? Otherwise known as Air Exchanges Per Hour (ACH)
- How much air can the system deliver every minute? Measured in cubic feet per minute (CFM)
True HEPA Filters
HEPA Filters are a type of mechanical particulate air filter that collects around 99.95% to 99.97% of the particulates in the air that are 0.3 µm (or microns) in size. The types of particles that a HEPA Filter will catch include pollen, dust, moisture, bacteria, viruses, dirt, and submicron liquid aerosols. HEPA is the most popular air filter out there, and this is because they are easy to implement (they are a mesh of fibers (sometimes plastic fibers, glass fibers, or fiberglass).
They are bound together to trap particles from getting through. The filter's effectiveness has to do with how tightly bound the fibers are, ranging in equivalency from MERV 12 to MERV 17 filters. However, not all HEPA filters are legitimate. Some off-brands try to make HEPA filters but cannot guarantee the accuracy of the filter mesh. Therefore, always look for the True HEPA identifier when researching portable air cleaners.
Activated Carbon Filters
An Activated Carbon Filter is an adsorbent media filter that uses a type of carbon or charcoal that has been activated to be porous. The activation of the carbon (which can be done through physical activation like carbonization or chemical activation) increases the porosity and the number of caverns that the carbon can adsorb, making the carbon a highly effective filter for hard to capture particles.
Activated Carbon Filters in air purifier systems act as a pre-filter for HEPA filters. They are best at capturing harmful gases known as volatile organic compounds (VOCs), which can cause allergies, asthma, sick building syndrome (SBS), and other respiratory infections. VOCs are ubiquitous in office buildings due to machines like copiers and from building materials and furnishings.
UV-C Light, UVGI, or PCO Technology
The majority of airborne are microscopic and hard to capture, including viruses, bacteria, and mold. Therefore, portable air purifiers often feature electronic air cleaning technologies to reduce these harmful pathogens from the air. One of the most commonly used technologies is UV-C, UVGI, or PCO Technology.
Within a UVGI or PCO process, UV-C light, which also comes from the sun, is harnessed and used for disinfection. When used, UV-C light can kill the membranes and DNA of pathogens, viruses, and drug-resistant bacteria particulates. This technology is effective in minimizing the spread of illnesses, acting as a potent disinfectant.
Another form of electronic air cleaning technology is negative ionization. Also known as bi-polar ionization or needle-point ionization, this technology enables portable air purifiers to attract and clump together airborne particulate. When used, ionic air purifier charges particles and ions through electrostatic attraction. This technology helps HEPA and Activated Carbon Filters effectively capture particles, like VOCs and particles smaller than 0.3 microns in size.
Although negative ionization has benefits, some manufacturers with low-quality and untested systems may put out ozone. Within confined spaces, continuous exposure to high levels of ozone may be hazardous to health. Therefore, it is imperative to know if the air purifier you are considering or are using meets the guidelines set by the California Air Resource Board (CARB).
Learn more about CARB and regulatory information on portable air purifier systems by visiting: https://ww2.arb.ca.gov/list-carb-certified-air-cleaning-devices
Benefits of A Portable Air Purifier?
Portable air purifiers have become popular due to the COVID-19 pandemic because they are easy to use and offer an additional layer of protection and viral mitigation. Businesses can easily plug in an air purifier to improve indoor air quality and reduce the likelihood of transmitting COVID-19.
Suppose your organization is hesitant about reopening the office. In that case, they should consider purchasing a portable air purifier. Most air purifiers are portable, so they can be moved into any room depending on the occasion. They are also straightforward to use; all you need to do is plug it in, and it is ready to go.
Hydroxyl Radical Technology
Hydroxyl radical technology harnesses the power of hydroxyl radicals through continuous (and safe) oxidation. These hydroxyl radicals (OH-) react with many pollutants and initiate a process of air purifiers. With this technology, hydroxyl radicals are released into the air to latch onto pathogenic microorganisms (like viruses and bacteria) and reduce VOCs and particulate matter (PM) levels in the air.
This technology is 99.9% effective at removing pathogenic microorganisms. Hydroxyl radical technology is clean (it does not emit ozone), and it capitalizes on one of the essential oxidants found in nature. Hydroxyl radicals are significant to the elimination of greenhouse gases!
Luckily, air purifier systems are affordable (many of which are supported by government grants for purposes related to the COVID-19 pandemic). Therefore, getting one won't require a significant financial investment.
Keep Your Indoor Air Clean With A Portable Air Purifier
With a range of filter types and air exchange capacity, you can choose air purifiers with a large room capacity, more air cycles per hour, or more room coverage, and the ability to target hard-to-capture virus particles or VOCs. With air purifiers from Sanalife, you don't have to compromise. Our systems provide adequate coverage for large and small rooms, add more air changes per hour, and move air through five stages of filters.