An air ionizer is a device that is intended to purify the air in a room by electrically charging the air molecules. Instead of using fans and filters to purify the air, an air ionizer uses ions to remove microscopic particles from the air. An air ionizer makes the air in a room healthier for people who are suffering from asthma, allergies, impaired immunity or respiratory ailments because fewer allergens circulate into the lungs.
Ions Bond to Particles
Air ionizers rely on the chemical properties of particles. An ion is just a particle that is charged, either negatively or positively. Air ionizers, which can be tabletop or standalone units, create negative ions using electricity. Opposites attract, so the negative ions flood the room and seek out positively charged particles, such as dust, bacteria, pollen, smoke and many other allergens.
The negative ions and positively charged particles bond together. This creates dirt particles that are too heavy to keep floating around in the air, so they fall to the ground and can be cleaned by normal means. Some particles might fall onto other surfaces in the room, such as furniture, television screens or shelves, and can be cleaned off by dusting or wiping those surfaces.
Most particles near the ground are positively charged. Natural phenomena, such as lightning or waterfalls, generate negative ions and ozone. This creates a "fresh" smell that a person might encounter during an electrical storm or near white rapids on a river. Ozone is a naturally occurring gas related to oxygen. Building insulation interferes with atmospheric air circulation, so an air ionizer seeks to compensate for this disequilibrium.
Outdoor pollutants often get a lot of attention because they can cause health hazards. Indoor air pollution gets less attention but also is a serious problem. Dust and mold collects inside heating and air conditioning ducts, and the higher humidity indoors allows bacteria to thrive. An air ionizer addresses these indoor sources of pollution and odor. The ozone that is created when negative ions are generated battles pollution by breaking it down into smaller, harmless components; makes it more difficult for germs to grow; and deodorizes as well.
Air ionizers conserve power and run silently, unlike fan-driven air purifiers. Another advantage over other purifiers is that no parts need regular replacement, because there are no physical filters that get dirty. Even though most air ionizers don't have motorized fans, the ionization creates a faint breeze that helps distribute the ions throughout a room. Some ionizers are outfitted with screens that catch the particles of dust as they fall to the ground.