Ionizers in air purifiers are often highly controversial, because, depending on the configuration of the ionizer, by this ozone can be generated, which is also commonly considered unhealthy. However, this is by no means always the case. The purpose of installing ionizers in air purifiers is manifold. Not every ionizer can be equated with an ozone generator.
Why are ionizers even used in air purifiers?
Manufacturers of air purifiers have different reasons why they use an ionizer in the air purifier.
Ionizer for removing odors
Mainly in stand-alone devices and so-called air purifiers “without filters” strong ionizers are used, which form ozone. This has the advantage that these devices have a strong odor-eliminating effect, as ozone breaks down volatile organic compounds (VOC) and thus quickly eliminates odors. However, for the price of high and harmful ozone pollution in the room and many other health-endangering degradation products, such. As formaldehyde, which may be released by the ozonation.
Although ionizers that cause such a high level of ozone pollution are good for odors, the disadvantages for health and well-being outweigh the benefits. Such ionization must be avoided at all costs. Not only because of the ozone itself but above all because of harmful decomposition products that are produced during the decomposition of VoC (odors).
Ionizer to balance the ion balance and positive physiological effects
The indoor and outdoor air contains charged particles. This is the case all over the world. The ions are usually generated by natural radiation or by air movements or weather events such as thunderstorms. The ions themselves have a cleaning effect on the air as they stimulate particles in the air to form clusters. Therefore, the air is usually much less burdened with particles after thunderstorms. On the one hand, this is due to the formation of clusters and, on the other, to thunderstorms.
In the 1970s, numerous scientific experiments were carried out and the well-being of humans was tested at various ion concentrations. It was found out at that time that, for example, the fatigue that affects some people in the Föhn weather situation has to do with the fact that the ion concentration in the Föhn weather situation is lower and at the same time the number of positively charged ions outweighs it. By artificially generating negatively charged ions, subjects were reported to feel better (See Soyka F., Edmonds A., 1978). Subsequent scientific research, however, cast doubt on these results and found no positive or negative effects from ions. (See Hedge, Eleftherakis, 1982). Although later studies have returned positive results, At least about psychological effects of negatively charged ions, (see Terman 1995) a physiological or psychological effect of negatively charged ions on the body remains scientifically highly controversial. Most manufacturers of stand-alone ionizers justify their effectiveness even today with the findings from the 1970s, which were essentially summarized in the book “The Ion Effect,” although most of the studies discussed therein had strong methodological deficiencies or refuted by later work were.
Ionizer for clustering
Air cleaners with filters also often have ionizers whose main purpose is to promote clustering in the air. In the process, negatively charged ions deposit on dust particles in the air. As a result, these tend to co-store with other dust particles in the air to form a larger cluster. Similar to how a statically charged film glues together with another. This makes it possible to form a larger dust cluster. These clusters can be better filtered in the filter of the air purifier. Thus, the cleaning performance of an air purifier can be further increased and, for example, particulate matter or particles in the air can be reduced more than with pure filter operation.