How Does an Air Purifier Work

An air purifier is an appliance that purifies air by getting rid of dust particles, pollen, mould, smoke, odour, and animal dander from the air. With an air purifier, you can purify the air in your living space and improve the air quality. Air purifiers also reduce the risks of developing a respiratory allergy.

Since this is a crucial device that takes your living standards to the next level, knowing how it functions makes it easier for you to use it. In this post, we are going to show you exactly how does an air purifier work. We are also going to give you an insight into the different parts of an air purifier and how they work to make your air fresher. Let’s get right into it, shall we?

Two Types of Air Purifiers

Air purifiers can either be installed as a standalone unit or get installed in your home ventilation system.

Air purifiers that are installed in your home ventilation system will filter all the air that gets into your living space.

On the other hand, standalone units are developed to get rid of airborne pollutants in a specified space in your home. Such purifiers are suitable for specific rooms such as the lounge, bedroom, toilet, and kitchen.

Not to mention, air purifiers are designed to get rid of different types of pollutants that might be present in your indoor air. The type of pollutant that an air purifier can remove might differ from one filter to another.

Different Parts of an Air Purifier

Now before we get into any details on how does an air purifier work, let’s first take a look at the different parts of an air purifier. This will make it easier for you to understand how it works and clear up the jargon that might confuse you.


A fan draws in indoor air into the interior compartments for purification. Once the air gets purified completely, it is released back into circulation by the fan, also.


This is the most important part of an air cleaner. As the name hints, it filters out different particles such as pet dander, dust particles, and smoke that might be present in indoor air. Needless to say, air cleaners have various filters that work differently.

How an Air Purifier Works

Air is purified in three main stages by purifiers. These are the three stages of air cleaning:

  1. For starters, air must get sucked into the inner compartments by the fan that is situated on the front part of every air cleaner. In some situations, air can flow into the interior compartments through natural airflow.
  2. Once it is sucked into the air purifier, it passes through a series of filters that remove dust particles, pollens, and dust mites.
  3. After the air is purified completely, cleaner air is released into your home through the fan.

Different Types of Air Purifying Filters

To start off, most home air purifiers use fine filters that get rid of different particles from your home air. Not to mention, the finer the filter, the more effective it will be in trapping smaller particles like dust.

As a result, air cleaners have different types of air purifying filters that capture particles of different sizes. Such filters also clean air in different ways. These are the different types of filters that air purifiers have:

HEPA Filter (HEPA Technology/HEPA Filtration)

Also known as High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA), this is one of the most popular filters. It gets rid of 99% of particles that are bigger than 0.3 microns. A micron is a standard unit of measuring tiny things that cannot be seen by the naked eye. In fact, one micron is equivalent to 1/25,400 of an inch.

HEPA air purifiers also remove small particles like pollen, dust, asbestos, pet dander, and smoke from indoor air.

Electrical Attraction

This is another technology that is utilized by air purifiers to get rid of nasty particles from the air in your indoor space. These are three types of electrical attraction air purifiers that clean air:

Electret Filters

filters of cleaning appliance

Electret filters have synthetic filters, which creates a static charge that gets rid of contaminants that might be present in the air. The best thing about this filtering mechanism is that it offers you different types of filters based on your preferences. For instance, you can use an electret filter that has a plain, pleated, disposable, plain, or reusable filter.

Some air purifiers combine both electret filters with HEPA filters to maximize the efficiency of the air purifier. In such air purifiers, polluted air that is drawn into the air purifiers gets electrically charged. After that, it moves to the HEPA filter for further purification. In the end, the efficiency of an air purifier is maximized by charging contaminants and making them stick easily to the HEPA filter.

Electrostatic Precipitating Cleaners

Electrostatic precipitating cleaners come with high-voltage wires that electrically charge air once it is drawn into the purifier. It has a series of plates that get rid of nasty particles by attracting contaminants that have the opposite charge to the plate. While this air purifier has an advanced mechanism that removes contaminants from indoor air, it is not as effective as the HEPA filter. It only removes 99.5% of contaminants present in the air.

Negative Ion Generators

Negative ion generators come with small, electrically-charged wires that produce negative-charged gas molecules, which adhere to contaminants.

This makes it easier to filter out airborne particles. Once the gas molecules adhere to the contaminants, they are attracted by the filter easily. While negative ion generators get rid of some contaminants from indoor air, they are not quite effective in removing all particles from the air. In some situations, some particles might be re-circulated back into your home.

If ions are recirculated back into your living space, they might stain your appliances. Since they are electrically charged, they stick to various appliances very quickly.

Ozone Generators

Some air purifiers have a more advanced technology that gets rid of contaminants and pollutants through chemical reactions. An example of such a purifier is the ozone generator. As the name hints, an ozone generator uses an electrical current to changes oxygen to ozone gas.

Since ozone gas is a strong oxidant, it breaks down contaminants into various molecules and removes various microorganisms from the air.

Activated Carbon Filter

Unlike other contaminants that are made from solid particles, gases are not made from solid particles and can pass through the finest filters. This is where a carbon filter comes in. When carbon gets exposed to oxygen, tons of pores will form on the surface and increase the total surface area.

Activated carbon filters are made from carbon that has been passed through a high concentration of oxygen. Since such filters have tons and tons of pores, they are quite effective in filtering out pollutants. Once gasses pass through a carbon filter, they will get adsorbed and bond to the carbon surface.

Such air filters are ideal for getting rid of nasty odours and vehicle emissions present in the air. As if that’s enough, some charcoal filters are developed to maximize the efficiency of air purification. They can even get rid of odours from pets.

UV Light Purifiers

sleeping woman with cleaning appliance on the floor

Well, a UV light purifier gets rid of different bacteria, viruses, and contaminants that might be present in a room. A UV light purifier concentrates intense ultraviolet light on bacterias, breaking up their basic DNA. Once the DNA is broken down, the viruses and bacteria die because they cannot function effectively.

Bacteria and viruses have different structures, so different light intensity is required to break down the structure of different microorganisms. Some microorganisms have to be treated continuously for multiple hours, while others die off after minutes. The only setback with this mechanism is that some viruses might survive after being treated with ultraviolet light. Not to mention, the technology has not been perfected.

Over to You

If you come from a family that is allergic to pollutants, an air purifier might be a suitable appliance for you. Using an air purifier makes it easier for you to improve the indoor air quality of your home. Air purifiers are effective in getting rid of pollutants like mould spores, pet dander, dust particles, and dust mites. Such pollutants can cause an allergy that might affect the respiratory system.

So how does an air purifier work? To summarise, air purifiers are made from multiple types of filters that capture different particles, they can easily clean the air in your room and improve the indoor air quality by using a fan to force the air through the machine.

Now you know how they work, we hope you the best of luck choosing the right air purifier for you. Whether you are sensitive to pet dander, allergic to mould, or simply want to enjoy fresher air, we hope you can use this information to find something that works for you and your home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *