Electronic Air Cleaners: What You Need to Know

The air quality in the Los Angeles area might not be the best, but that doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy high indoor air quality at home. The right air filter and air cleaner will help you keep out the contaminants.

An Extra Level of Filtration

An electronic air cleaner removes contaminant particles from your air using static electricity. The device contains a pre-filter, ionizing wires, and a metal collector plate.

As air enters, it first passes through the pre-filter, which traps larger contaminant particles. The air then flows into the ionizing chamber, where the remaining contaminant particles receive an electric charge. Next, air flows to the collector plate, which has an opposite charge as the one given to the particles. These opposite charges cause the contaminant particles to stick to the collector plate.

This method allows electronic air cleaners to trap the tiny particles most HVAC air filters miss. Fiberglass and other air filters must have space between the fibers to allow air to pass through, but these spaces also let contaminants through. An electronic air cleaner doesn’t rely on fibrous filter material, so it isn’t affected by this limitation.

The Pros and Cons

Electronic air cleaners can trap up to 99.7 percent of particles as small as 0.30 micron in size, making them as efficient as HEPA filters.

The air cleaner requires monthly maintenance to keep it efficient. A dirty collector plate impairs the device’s ability to trap particles. You’ll need to remove both the pre-filter and collector plate for washing. Most models are dishwasher safe.

In-duct electronic air cleaners run only when the blower on your furnace or A/C is running, so they won’t clean your air continuously.

They can’t capture gaseous contaminants such as volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that come from paint, new carpet and furniture, cleaning products, and many other common household items. They also can’t kill mold spores, bacteria or viruses. You’ll need different types of air cleaners to control pollutants such as these.

For more guidance on choosing air filters and air cleaners, contact us at Reliance Home Services in the Los Angeles area.