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how electronic air cleaners workHow Electronic Air Cleaners Work | Indoor Air Quality - The electronic air cleaner cleans the air electronically. Most electronic air cleaners (EACs) have two ways of filtering the air. In addition to cleaning the air electronically, electronic air cleaners have metal mesh pre-filters. These pre-filters catch large particles that the electronic portion of the cleaner would not be able to filter effectively. It is necessary to ensure these pre-filters are cleaned on a regular maintenance schedule along with the electronic cells inside the electronic air cleaner. Additionally,electronic air cleaners use a minimal amount of energy and only use power when the fan is running.

Electronic Air Cleaner Care and Maintenance | How Electronic Air Cleaners Work

Most electronic air cleaner manufacturers recommend a bi-annual cleaning of the pre-filters and electronic cells. This maintenance and cleaning schedule frequency should be tailored according to the air quality inside the dwelling. It is important to remember that many of the electronic cells are very fragile and to be handled with care. Lastly, it should be noted that tiny ionizing wires on the electronic air cleaner electronic cells can be easily broken.

If these ionizing wires are broken they should be replaced. It is recommended that a qualified HVAC Technician perform the regular scheduled maintenance so that care is taken to perform the maintenance in a proper manner. Electronic air cleaners which are not properly cared for or maintained will not provide effective air cleaning as designed so it is important not to ignore maintaining electronic air cleaners otherwise they will not be effective for indoor air quality standards.

Cleaning and Effectiveness | How Electronic Air Cleaners Work

The EAC is installed in the return air duct work. It is upstream of the cooling coil and the air handler in the air stream. As air is pulled through the return duct (usually at a central point where the regular filter is located) it moves through the return duct towards the cooling coil and air handler. This air contains dust particles and volatile organic compounds. Particles too small to be caught up in regular filter and the electronic air cleaners pre-filter are pulled into electronic air cleaner where they pass across ionizing wires.

Depending on the model and manufacturer depends on if the ionizing wires have a negative charge or a positive charge. After the ionizing wires are collector plates with an opposite electrical charge as the ionizing wires. The particles are given an opposite charge as the collector plates which cause the particles to be automatically attracted to the opposite charged collector plates. Lastly, some manufacturers claim that their electronic air cleaners filter particles down to one micron.

Top Brands and Alternative Air Cleaning Methods | How Electronic Air Cleaners Work

Honeywell is probably the most recognized name for electronic air cleaners. The Honeywell F300 fits into the duct work upstream from the air handler and removes up to 99% of particles in the air. It has a pref-filter, the electronic air cleaner cells, and a post filter giving it three stages of filtering for eliminating duct particles. Honeywell claims the F300 will filter dust particles and other particulates down to 10 microns. How small is 10 microns? Quoting Honeywell, the dot in “i” in micron is about 400 microns so 10 microns is pretty small. Furthermore, for extra protection and a proven method to kill viruses, bacteria and mold use the Honeywell ultra-violet air cleaner in conjunction with the Honeywell EAC.

Aprilaire EAC controlAprilaire also makes electronic air cleaners. The model 5000 Aprilaire EAC even comes with a special control that typically mounts next to your heating and cooling thermostat. The control offers you the ability to change settings for the Aprilaire EAC and how it operates. The control also has a filter monitor that can be tailored to your use. Finally, you set the number of operating hours and the control will remind you when you need to clean the filters.

The Aprilaire EAC works much the same way the Honeywell works described above. When its time to clean the filter you simply pop it out, wash it using recommended methods, and replace it. Simple as that except don’t forget ti turn the power off before removing the filtering media.

 Conclusion | How Electronic Air Cleaners Work

There are also HVAC brands like Carrier, Lennox and Trane that produce their very own EAC systems. I always recommend electronic air cleaners with ultraviolet air cleaners. That along with your typical off the shelf air filters for the best indoor air quality. Having good filtering media removes many things from the air that are invisible to you. They also remove some odors from the air. While these systems don’t remove everything from the air they are much better than just having a single filtering media in your HVAC system.

Remember to keep your EAC freshly maintained with clean filtering cells. Electronic air cleaner studies have shown that the dirtier the collector plates become the less effective they are at collecting small particles. Finally, it is important to properly maintain your electronic air cleaner. Maintained on a regular maintenance schedule so that it will filter the air effectively.

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How Electronic Air Cleaners Work

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