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Does My Portable AC's Ion Mode Really Get Rid of Dust?

dusty-book-300With the constant increase in pollution, people are becoming more attracted to air cleaning products, including ion filters.

Some of these air purification systems use complex engineering and require large installation, but others are quite cost effective to purchase and can easily be carried from one place to another. These air purification systems clean the air in your room and improve its quality.

To avoid having to purchase a bunch of products, air condition manufacturers have merged a few of them into one so that now you can buy ACs with ion features.

Nowadays you will find portable air conditioners with a built-in air purifier and even a dehumidifier. There are quite a few types of air purifiers available in the market today. There are some which use a fan and filter to suck the impurities in. And then there are others that use a slightly advanced technology. These are the air purifiers known as ion filters.

They are commonly found in portable air conditioners. However, you can easily acquire one separately from a departmental store. The ion filters use an innovative and intriguing technology -- but does it really work?

What Are Ion Filters?

First, let's go over what ion filters actually do:

Ion purifiers work by the concept of static electricity. It is safe to say that these purifiers attract dust using this principle. However, the dust and particles in the air need to be given a negative charge. This is where the purifier's emitter comes in.

How ion filters work:

  1. The emitter is responsible for sending out a stream of ions, and these ions have a negative charge.
  2. These ions then develop a negative charge amongst the dust and particles in the air.
  3. Once the ions have charged the particles and dust in the air, these particles become attracted to positively charged ions. This is where the built in plates of the ion purifiers come in handy, as they are charged positively.
  4. Since the particles and dust are negatively charged already, the positively charged plates attract them.
  5. The dust and particles in the air are then sucked out and into the plates.

Most ion filters do not require fans or any other means of attracting dust and particles from the air. It simply relies on the concept of charging ions. These filters are also quite convenient in a home setting as they are relatively quiet.

Advantages of Using an Ion Filter Purifier

Ionic air purifiers have become immensely popular due to a number of reasons, including:

  1. They are effective, and without a doubt, they clean the air like no other.
  2. They do not require much maintenance.

Quieter Operation

quiet shh 250Most air purifiers use a blower and suck in the dirt and particles from the air. Such purifiers can prove to be inconvenient in various settings. For instance, a hospital environment has to be extremely quiet. However, the HEPA type air purifiers make a lot of noise. Compared to this, ionic air purifiers are virtually silent and you wouldn't even know when they are in operation.

This is because the dust and particles are attracted using a positively charged filter plate. There are no moving parts in an ion purifier. There are a few models that use a fan combined with a positively charged plate to increase efficiency, but even then those filters do not make as much noise as regular air purifiers. This makes ionic purifiers extremely convenient for use in quiet environments.

Maintenance Is Next To Nothing

Not only are ionic purifiers quieter, they are also low maintenance. This is due to the fact that there are no moving parts in these purifiers. Since there are no moving parts, there are very few things that can actually malfunction within such air purifiers.

This not only makes these air purifiers reliable, but also low maintenance and convenient. You can be sure that an ionic air purifier will last a long while. Not to mention, the quality of air will increase significantly, which makes it a worthwhile investment.

Types of Air Conditioners with Ionic Purifiers

Generally, ionic air purifiers are not very common in air conditioners. However, there are quite a few models that are introducing this feature. In most cases, you will find these air purifiers or filters in portable air conditioners. These air conditioners can be carried from one place to another. This is why they require a reliable air purifier to improve the quality of air wherever they are installed.

As a standard, air conditioners use HEPA purifiers to clean the air. These purifiers need to be removed and cleaned.

Benefits of Portable ACs with Ion Feature

  • The portable air conditioners with ionic purifiers keep the air clean more efficiently.
  • Little-to-no maintenance compared to HEPA type filters that need to be removed and cleaned, or in some cases, replaced.

When an air conditioner is equipped with an ionic filter, it cools the air and improves its quality. This makes the air conditioner even more efficient at cooling. Good air quality combined with cool air is the perfect combination.

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The Truth Behind Ion Filter Purifiers

Ionic air purifiers present many advantages but they have one major drawback.


  • Ozone - When the ionic air purifiers work, they produce ozone. Generally an air purifier can generate about 2.2 milligrams in an hour.
  • Potential inefficiency - Criticism that ion filters don't attract dust well enough. In theory, the negatively charged particles and dust are attracted by the positively charged plates. However, this can present a problem if there are other appliances and furniture in the room.


To fully understand why ozone production is dangerous, one must understand what ozone is.

Most people know ozone as a bubble which is protecting the earth from ultraviolet rays. Actually, it is a beneficial molecule. However, it presents a serious problem if it gets into the air we breathe. If you are exposed to ozone for elongated periods of time, you could develop respiratory conditions. Amongst these conditions is breath shortness, irritation in the throat, coughing, and even chest ache.

An ionic air purifier is meant to enhance the quality of air. Unfortunately, the by product is extremely dangerous to our respiratory health. It does not make sense to have a product to clean air that produces a byproduct that damages the lungs.

dusty-laptop-screen-300Potential Inefficiency

When it comes to the efficiency of an ionic filter, there is no match. Undoubtedly, ionic filters can really enhance the quality of air in a room. It pulls out all particles and dust.

But another issue behind the use of air purifiers is that they do not fully attract the particles.

The negatively charged particles often get attracted to televisions, computers and even glass tables. Instead of removing the dust and particles from the air, the purifier actually results in particle buildup amongst appliances and furniture.

Statistics and Effectiveness of Ionic Air Purifiers

The Air Quality Index is a chart used by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). This easy to understand chart is meant to provide the general public with information regarding the quality of air. The idea of this index is to guide the public as to whether or not the current air quality poses a threat to the health or not.

According to the EPA, an ionizer is effective in removing dust and bacteria from the room.


  • A typical ion purifier can bring down the amount of dust in the air by 52%.
  • The number of bacteria is brought down to 95%.
  • The pollutants automatically are reduced as they need the support of dust particles to be transported.

The EPA has even advised asthma patients and others with respiratory diseases to use ionized air purifiers. There is also sufficient research to suggest that the negative ions released by ionized purifiers help in preventing these respiratory conditions.

In fact, ion purifiers have proven to be so effective that they are even being used by hospitals. There have also been various clinical studies involving negative ions.

Overall, the effectiveness of your portable air conditioner's ion feature is enough to warrant a place on your appliance and enough to gain some recognition by the EPA. However, it's usefulness becomes problematic when considering the ozone emissions, and having many other appliances in the room that could interfere with how well it attracts dust. Ion feature or no, it seems the more definitive benefit is whether or not your choice brings you peace of mind.

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