Electrostatic Air Filter: Working Principle, Usage, Pros, And cons

Do you feel the indoor air is fresh and clean? Many of us feel that. Right? But the fact is that indoor air is 2-5 times more polluted than outdoor air.

How the indoor air gets polluted? You are dealing with varieties of contaminants inside your house, dust, smoke from kitchen chores, pollen grains, air fresheners, and if you are an animal lover, pet dander too.

These particles are unhealthy for you. Specifically, the real problem arises when you have a member in your family who has an underlying health condition.

But, how to get the fresh air?. One option is to use air filters. Air filters help to remove the deadly contaminants from the air.

Electrostatic Air Filter
Electrostatic Air Filter

Now the problem is that there are different types of air filters available in the market. Out of those, which one is the best?

So in this article will focus on Electrostatic Air Filter that can remove most airborne deadly particles. We will also learn how Electrostatic Air Filter works along with its advantages and disadvantages.

What Is A Electrostatic Air Filter?

The electrostatic air filter uses static electricity to catch dust, pollen, and other airborne particles before entering your room. Electrostatic air filters are also called reusable air filters or washable air filters, as you can wash the filter and reuse it.

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How Does Electrostatic Air Filter Work?

Well, the process looks complicated, but in actual it is not. We know that the positive pole and the negative pole of a magnet attract each other. The same rule applies here too which is called ” Electrostatic Attraction.”

electrostatic air filter
Schematic Of Electrostatic Air Filter
Credit : Link

When the polluted air is entering the filter, the pre-filter is creating electricity. Then the air passes through the ionizer. Ionizer emits charged gas, which attracts dust particles and adds additional charge.

The additionally charged dust particle is then attracted by the collectors and, in turn, traps those. The optional charcoal filter then removes the remaining dust particle and gives us clean air.

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Different Types Of Electrostatic Air Filters

Electrostatic air filters are categorized based on the MERV Rating standard (Minimum efficiency reporting value) and Arrestance capacity. Arrestance is the measure of the ability to pull stubborn stains out of the air. The more Arrestance, the better air filtration.

The standard range of Arrestance capacity is 82%. However, for heavy-duty air conditioners, the value goes as high as 94%

MERVMin. particle sizeTypical controlled contaminantTypical Application
1–4> 10.0 μmPollen, dust mites, cockroach debris, sanding dust, spray paint dust, textile fibers, carpet fibersResidential window AC units
5–8[2]10.0–3.0 μmMold spores, dust mite debris, cat and dog dander, hair spray, fabric protector, dusting aids, pudding mixBetter residential, general commercial, industrial workspaces
9–123.0–1.0 μmLegionella, humidifier dust, lead dust, milled flour, auto emission particulates, nebulizer dropletsSuperior residential, better commercial, hospital laboratories
13–161.0–0.3 μmBacteria, droplet nuclei (sneeze), cooking oil, most smoke and insecticide dust, most face powder, most paint pigmentsHospital & general surgery
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Advantages Of Electrostatic Air Filters

  • The cleaning process is easy and quick
  • Can removes particles having a size of smaller than 10 microns like dust, pollen, bacteria, spores etc.
  • Can be washed and reused for years without replacement
  • The loading pattern improves the airflow and maximum filtration
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Disadvantages Of Electrostatic Air Filters

  • You have to clean it regularly.
  • Can not remove harmful gases like volatile organic compounds, odors, etc.
  • Along with the electric field, it produces ozone, which is very harmful to health, especially asthma patients.
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How To Clean Electrostatic Air Filters?

Regular Cleaning is necessary for any machine to work efficiently, and the same applies to electrostatic air filters because the dust can shackle the airflow.

For best performance, it is advisable to clean the filter every 4-5 weeks.

  • Remove the air filter from the AC and apply a gentle stream of water from the opposite side of the filter. The higher the pressure, the better cleaning of filters.
  • Rinse the filter thoroughly from the opposite side.
  • Use specified cleaners to remove heavy, tight stains.
  • Rinse thoroughly if it has some dirt remaining.
  • Drain the excess water with left remains in the system and leave the screen for a couple of minutes to get dry for reinstallation
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Difference Between HEPA Air Filters & Electrostatic Air Filters

Both the HEPA Air filters and Electrostatic Air filters are good at cleaning the air. HEPA filters are nothing but just a mat of fibers, aligned randomly.

These fibers are made from either glass or synthetic materials, whereas the electrostatic air filters are made up of coarse fibers, works on the principle of electromagnetism.

HEPA filters can also remove viruses, bacteria, mold, pollen grains, and many other contaminants.

AttributesHEPAElectrostatic Filter
Remove GasesNoNo
Remove odorsNoNo
Effectiveness against bacteriaExcellentModerate
Effectiveness against VirusGoodModerate
Clean pet danderExcellentExcellent
Clean pollensExcellentExcellent
Clean dustExcellentExcellent
CostModerateModerate
Life expectancy2-3 years5-7 years
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Usage of Electrostatic Air Filters In Air Conditioners

Many high-end air conditioners nowadays come with an electrostatic filter to clean the air, for example, Daikin air conditioners. But the problem is that it requires regular maintenance.

Pleated Air filters are not suitable for AC as they restrict air filtration, whereas electrostatic air filters ensure maximum air filtration.

The best part of these filters is, you can wash and reuse them. So the cost of frequent replacement is saved.

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Conclusion: Electrostatic Air Filter

I hope this article gave enough information about Electrostatic air filters. So next time when you buy an AC, make sure it comes with an electrostatic air filter.

Of Course, the price will be more. But nothing is more important than clean and fresh air. Considering that, investing in an AC with an electrostatic air filter makes sense.

You may also like to read: What is PM 2.5 filter

Rajib is the Co-Founder and the Lead Product Analyst of RiansTech. A BTech in Mechanical Engineering and a veteran in the Home Appliance industry with over 17 years of experience in designing appliances for industry leaders like GE and Whirlpool. He also runs a successful niche blog (RiansClub) on Mechanical Engineering

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