FAQ

Questions and answers about all LifeAir air purifiers as well as everything you want to ask about indoor air quality.

About IonFlow air purifiers

How does the IonFlow air purifier work?

The ion generator produces billions of electrons that instantly become negative ions. These ions spread out in the air through the natural air movements that exist in every indoor space. They attach to particles in the air, of which many are positively charged, thereby negatively charging these particles. The negatively charged particles are then attracted to the positively charged collector, where they attach. Larger particles become so heavy once the negative ions attach to them leading them to drop to the floor. The result is a cleaner and healthier air.

The IonFlow has a positive side-effect where it rejuvenates the air with negative ions. Negative ions are in abundance in nature. They are especially found in large amounts where air molecules break apart. This partly explains why the air feels fresh and crisp by waterfalls and after a thunderstorm with lightning has passed. In environments such as offices and homes, the amounts of negative ions are very low. The air quality is further exacerbated by the production of the unhealthy positive ions that are produced by electrical appliances such as printers, TVs, computers, and etc.

In summary, it can be said that IonFlow cleans the air by harnessing the forces of nature through the production of negative ions. It’s natural cleaning at its best.

How should I place my IonFlow 50?

We recommend that you place your IonFlow air purifier at least 3 feet (1 meter) away from all walls and furniture and that you hang the Sky model 1.5 feet (0.5 meter) down from the ceiling. If these recommendations are not followed, nearby walls and/or furniture may become somewhat dirty.

We also recommend that you place the air purifier at least 3 feet (1 meter) from all metallic objects because of their potential risk to become static and act as collectors. The small electric charge the metallic objects might attain is harmless.

How do I clean the IonFlow 50 and how often?

Cleaning the IonFlow 50 is extremely easy and only takes a few minutes.

How often you need to clean the collector depends on how polluted the environment is where it is placed. In general the collector should be cleaned approximately once every two weeks, but may require more frequent cleaning if used in highly contaminated environments.

How is it possible that IonFlow 50 does NOT produce any ozone since it is an ionizing air purifier?

Lightair IonFlow 50 air purifier is based on traditional ionization technique, but it has been further developed and optimized, which means that the major previous disadvantage like generation of ozone has been successfully eliminated.

The basic idea to clean the air with negative ions and trap them with a collector is still the same, but the technology used to attain this objective is entirely different. Lightair has worked many years to solve the problem of ozone generation. The result is a very efficient air purifier that is completely ozone free.

Please find ozone report HERE.

What is the capacity of IonFlow air purifier?

Lightair recommends that you use IonFlow 50 in rooms up to 50 m2 or 540 sq ft in a normal home environment.
It is however important to understand that depending on the sources of pollution the air purifiers capacity alters. For example, if you smoke, have a dog, work at home, frequently use printers and/or live in a busy city environment you might need two units to cover the same area. This logic goes for all air purifiers on the market.

Do the products remove dust, pollen, smoke, etc.?

Yes, the IonFlow products remove all types of particles. Dust, pollen, tobacco, and etc. all cause allergic and harmful reactions in many people. By removing these particles from the air, the products are able to alleviate allergic reactions.

Do the products remove smell, like for example tobacco smell?

Yes, smell in essence are particles. LifeAir products remove particles, hence they remove the smell caused by these particles.

Do the products remove virus and other pathogens?

Yes, according to a study by Karolinska Institutet (one of the largest and most renowned hospitals and medical institutes in the world as well as the awarder of the Nobel Prize in Medicine) that was published in Nature Scientific Reports (one of the most prestigious scientific journals in the world) our air purifiers eliminate virus in the air. The test was performed on live guinea pigs. When the air purifiers was on 3 out of 4 guinea pigs were infected by an airborne influenza virus, but none were infected when the LifeAir air purifier was on.

No other air purifier has had their air purifier researched and tested by a similar renowned medical and research institute. No other purifier has also had their tests published in a similarly renowned scientific journal. Furthermore, as far as we know only LifeAir air purifiers have been tested on animals and in conditions that mimic authentic real-life conditions.

Do the products remove gases?

Gases are not particles, but molecules. IonFlow, like HEPA filters, does not remove gases from the air.

Do particles on the collector get released back in the air once the unit is turned off?

No, once the particles have attached to the collector they stay there even if the unit is turned off. It is also important to know that already at the moment a negative ion attaches itself to a particle, that particle becomes neutralized. Hence, losing its harmful effects as a virus, bacteria, allergen, etc. on humans.

Does the product lose efficiency over time as the collector gets dirtier?

No, contrary to HEPA filters which quickly loses efficiency once they get dirty (could be as quickly as a few weeks in dirty environments) the IonFlow product does not lose efficiency over time. Even if the collector get extremely dirty it still maintains its capability to attract negatively charged particles. As mentioned above, it is important to note that it’s not the collector that neutralizes dangerous particles such as viruses, bacteria or allergens, but these particles are already neutralized in the air at the moment negative ions attached to them. Furthermore, even in the absence of a collector the ions would attach to particles causing them to eventually drop to the ground due to their increased weight or stick to walls and furniture, thereby making the air cleaner.

Should I keep the IonFlow air purifier on all the time?

Yes, since the IonFlow products don’t produce any noise and are completely silent as well as extremely energy efficient we recommend to have the product on at all times. Thanks to a built-in sensor that senses the air quality, the ion generator will adjust its production of electrons and the strength of the collector accordingly. Hence, if the air is dirty more ions will be generated.

How much energy does IonFlow consume?

The IonFlow products only consume 5W/h, which translates into only USD 5/year in the US, far less compared to our competitors’ products. The low consumption of energy makes the products extremely energy efficient and environmentally friendly.

How loud are the IonFlow products?

IonFlow air purifier absolute noise level is at only 5dB. The relative noise level including background noise according to standard is 21dB. The threshold for hearing is usually set at 10dB. Our competitors’ air purifiers typically give off a noise between 30 and 70dB, which is potentially harmful to the human health when exposed for a longer period of time.

How long do the products work?

Our products work indefinitely. We have had prototypes that have been on for 20 years and they are still fully functional.

How safe are the products?

All our products have been tested by third-party institutes and organizations in order to ensure that we meet all current regulations and legislation around the world.

Ozone

Our product’s ozone emission has been tested and approved by the Air Resources Board in California and Finnish VTT Technical Research Center of Finland. The levels of ozone that our products produce are below the detection limit of the measurement instrument (0,002ppm). Hence, the ozone generation is negligible and harmless.

Electric discharge

The electric discharge that can be felt when you touch the collector is extremely small. According to tests that Intertek performed in order to meet regulations and legislation, the electric discharge was over 2000 times below levels that would be considered dangerous. Even babies and animals can touch the collector without being harmed.

Electromagnetic field

The electromagnetic field has been tested and approved by Intertek in order to meet regulations and legislation.

Are the products effective in high humidity?

Yes, our products have been used in extremely humid climates like in Thailand to drier climates like in Sweden without any decrease in efficiency or quality.

Hot and wet climate facilitates the growth of mites and mold. Buildings with poor ventilation also don’t allow humidity to disperse.

How does IonFlow compare with other technologies?

As with other health-related appliances, there is a multitude of claims made by companies regarding their products’ efficiency. Air purifiers may be rated on: CADR; efficient area coverage; air changes per hour; the clean air delivery rate, which determines how well air has been purified; energy usage; and the cost of the replacement filters. Two other important factors to consider are the length that the filters are expected to last (measured in months or years) and the noise produced (measured in decibels) by the various settings that the purifier runs on. As stated above noise is often an ignored problem with air purifiers. The health consequences of a loud air purifier can be serious. All these figures and facts make it very difficult for regular consumers to properly evaluate an air purifier.

Furthermore, it is important that the tests that many companies base their statements on are properly evaluated if a fair and correct comparison between different products are to be made. Certainly if the tests are done by lesser known institutes.

 

HEPA filter

The majority of air purifiers today are sold with HEPA filters, because the technology has been around for some time and it’s a relatively simple solution to clean the air. However, there are many drawbacks with using HEPA filters that IonFlow are able to solve. Some of them are the following:

  1. Rapid decrease in efficiency.
  2. Noisy
  3. Expensive, frequent and inconvenient filter replacement.
  4. Focus is on cleaning the air from particles that are larger than 0.3 microns.

 

Ionizers

Many of the ionizers in the marketplace have very little or no reliable data regarding the number of ions they produce, which make it very difficult to evaluate them properly. Many ionizers that claim to produce large amounts of ions also produce ozone at levels that are above safety levels.

Other technologies that are being marketed are plasmacluster and various combinations of different technologies such as HEPA together with ionization and carbon filters.

About Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Why do I need an air purifier?

An air cleaner is useful in many areas in our society, from households and offices to hospitals, laboratories and industries. Each market has one thing in common; they need to improve the indoor air quality (sometimes even make it sterile). Lightair will in time meet the demand for all air cleaning markets. There are three main reasons as to why we need an air purifier:

  1. The indoor air quality is more polluted than the outdoor air, even in the most industrialised cities and we spend approx. 90% of our time indoors.
  2. Polluted air is harmful to your health and can cause severe health symptoms such as asthma, allergy, cardio & vascular decease, fatigue, nausea, headache, respiratory decease and more.
  3. Polluted air cost you and the society health, time and money.
What is PM2.5?

Particulate matter, or PM, is the term for particles found in the air, including dust, dirt, soot, smoke, and liquid droplets. 2.5 refers to the particle size, number of micrometers in diameter of the particle.

Particles less than 2.5 micrometers in diameter (PM2.5) are referred to as “fine” particles and are believed to pose the greatest health risks. Because of their small size (approximately 1/30th the average width of a human hair), fine particles can lodge deeply into the lungs.

Sources of fine particles include all types of combustion activities (motor vehicles, power plants, wood burning, etc.) and certain industrial processes.

Why are fine and ultra-fine particles the most dangerous?

Although we can’t see them, the air we breathe is full of microscopic particles. These particles are usually health hazardous and are thus considered as a specific type of air pollution. The size of these particles is in the order of several nanometers (one millionth of a millimeter) to several micrometers (one thousandth of a millimeter).

In recent years, scientists have investigated the relation of particle size and health effects. They are finding convincing results indicating that ultra-fine particles (in the range around one hundred nanometer) play a special role and are potentially more health hazardous than the coarse particles.

These results are well described in literature, for example in the WHO Air Quality Guidelines

In short, statistical evidence has been found that acute negative health effects related with increased levels of airborne particles include:

  • Increased use of asthma medication
  • Asthma attacks in patients having asthma
  • COPD (chronic obstructive pulmonary disease) attacks
  • Hospital admissions for cardiovascular diseases
  • Deaths from heart attacks, strokes and respiratory problems

 

Beside these acute health effects on people with high susceptibility towards particles, scientists also expect a long-term effect on normal people: life expectancy decreases significantly as a result of high particle concentrations. Furthermore, a study (Effect of exposure to traffic on lung development from 10 to 18 years of age: a cohort study, Gauderman, www.thelancet.com. Published online January 26, 2007.) describing the relation between the development of the lungs of children and the distance between their homes and a busy road may support this statement.

Deposition of ultrafine nanoparticles in the lungs and its relation to the human health

Ultra-fine particles (in the range around one hundred nanometer) seem to play a special role and are potentially more health hazardous than coarse particles. For this reason it is still subject of ongoing scientific research. Some possible explanations have been suggested.

One is that, due to their aerodynamic properties, ultra-fine particles penetrate and deposit deeper in the lungs than coarser particles. About 50% of the particles around 20 nm deposits deep in the lungs as is shown in the graph below. Larger particles are caught in the nose and throat.

Another explanation is that the concentration of ultra-fine particles is generally much higher than the concentration of coarser particles. The lungs cannot deal with the high amounts of particles that deposit in the lung sacs, which lead to inflammation.

Related to this is the relatively high total surface area of ultra-fine particles. The surface area of a given number or volume of particles is much higher for ultra-fine particles than for courser particles. Scientists assume surface area is related to free radical activity and oxidative stress in the lungs. Oxidative stress is known to have inflammatory effects.

A fourth possible explanation is that the size of the particles is much smaller than the human cellular structures. They can enter the human body and end up in the blood stream causing heart and brain diseases.

Yet another aspect in the harmful effect of airborne particles is that (ultra-fine) particles like diesel exhaust are often covered with toxic chemicals like polycyclicaromatic hydrocarbons, which are known carcinogenic.

Is it true that indoor air is more polluted then outdoor air?

Most buildings constructed during the last 60 years have integrated complete ventilation systems (mechanical supply & exhaust air). It has been necessary because of the size of buildings and due to tighter and better insulated construction materials. All such buildings function like large vacuum cleaners whereby we spend most of our time in the filter bag i.e. indoors an absurd situation but unfortunately the truth. The indoor climate also creates a friendly environment for bacteria, fungus and virus to grow in.

The indoor air quality is in general proven to be 4-5 times worse than the outdoor air because most ventilation can not handle the large amount of fine particles and the systems are often also malfunctioning as a result of:

  • Complete isolation (especially in countries with changing climate), which decrease the natural ventilation.
  • Ventilation ductwork systems have been found to be dangerously dirty inside preventing airflow and balance.
  • Only a fraction of the air particles get stuck in the supply air filter system, the rest pass on straight into the building.
  • The exhaust system is unable to efficiently handle the extraction of particles partially because they have a certain weight.
  • Bad situated supply air, for example too close to car exhaust fumes, restaurant exhaust, industry exhaust.
  • Exhaust air is situated to close to the supply air, which means that the air the just went out comes back in again.
  • Temporary turn-off of the ventilation system during the night (to save money) expose the filters and the ventilation systems to evaporation, which creates a living friendly environment for fungus, bacteria, virus, and mould. These microbes are in the morning pushed into the building when the ventilation system is turned on.
  • The supply filter is changed too seldom, which results in the filter becoming a living environment for microbes that are constantly pushed into the building.
  • Mechanical exhaust have been shown to cause pressure, which makes polluted air to be sucked into natural chinks and holes in the isolation and ground.
  • There are regulations and standards almost everywhere for minimum fresh air supply, these standards are however in general never met.
What are airborne ultra-fine and nanoparticles?

Although we can’t see them, the air we breathe is full of microscopic particles. These particles are health hazardous and are thus considered a specific type of air pollution. Often this type of air pollution is called fine dust. The size of these particles is in the order of several nanometers to several micrometers. Currently regulation focuses primarily on the measurement and reduction of fine particles. Fine particles are often identified by Particle Matter (PM) ratings. PM10 represents particles that have a diameter smaller than 10 micrometer.

However, a very large fraction of particles in urban air (>90%) has minute particles of around 100 nanometers (nm) and smaller. These we call ultra-fine particles or nanoparticles. The picture above clearly demonstrates the difference is dimensions of fine and ultra-fine particles. Ultra-fine particles range below the currently monitored levels. In other words, there is an important actually invisible factor in the air around people. Most of today’s air purifiers with HEPA filters can by their own accounts only capture particles as small as 300 nm. In other words they only clean less than 10% of the air.

What are nanoparticles?

A special class of ultra-fine particles are those intentionally made by the nanomaterial industry. Due to their ultra-small size, such nano-materials have very special properties. They are used in medical, industrial and consumer applications. For example, carbon nanotubes are used to produce very light, but strong tennis rackets. If these materials consist of particles with a size under 100 nanometer, we speak about engineered nanoparticles.

The emerging nanomaterial industry is expected to grow explosively in the next decades and millions of people are expected to find work in this industry in future. Similar to ultra-fine particles in general, engineered nanoparticles released in the nano-industry environment may be a potential source of hazard to the health of its working population.

Which ultra-fine particle concentrations can we expect?

There is no standardization on ultra-fine particles at the moment. However, scientific discussions are ongoing on the formation of a standard. Nevertheless, it is possible to give some reference concentrations (Ultra-fine particles are measured in concentrations particles/cm3)

 

Clean air in the alps: < 1.000

Clean office air: 2.000 – 4.000

Outside Air in urban area: 10.000 – 20.000

Polluted outside air (smog): > 50.000

Cigarette smoke: > 50.000

Workplaces (like welding): 100.000 – 1.000.000

 

Note, it is expected that there is no threshold concentration below which there is no negative health effect. Air should be as clean as practically possible. The threshold concentration at which people feel immediate impact is around 50.000 particles/cm3. Asthmatic people immediately feel the effect of smog.

 

Surface area, particle number, and size

Traditionally, the concentration of airborne particles is often measured as a mass concentration. Other measurement units such as number concentration or surface area concentration (total surface area of all particles in a volume of air) have a much more significant relation to the health effects. The table below shows the number and surface area concentration of a cloud of particles with a total airborne mass concentration of 10 µg/m3 when it contains particles of different diameters and clearly shows the remarkable effect of the particle diameter. The number of particles in a certain volume of air increases dramatically along with the surface area per unit volume of air, as the particle size decreases into the region of ultra-fine particles.

What are the sources of indoor air pollutants?

Airborne particles originate from many natural and man-made sources (e.g. sand dust, fires, diesel smoke, sea salt). The scheme below shows a number of particle types from well-known sources. Ultra-fine particles are normally only generated at very high temperatures, such as combustion processes. One can think of wood fires, industry, engines, cooking fumes, or cigarette smoke. Toner (carbon black) from copiers, laser printers and welding-fumes or nano-materials are important sources as well.

 

Overview of particle sources:

The most important source of ultra-fine particles in urban air however is car traffic. Especially diesel exhaust consists of large amounts of ultra-fine particles. Such particles are generally formed by a basically insoluble core of carbon of 10-20 nm, often covered with chemicals like sulphates, metals and hydrocarbons. These extremely small particles tend to conglomerate in the air into particles of around 100 nm.

Below are some additional major sources of indoor air pollutants in our homes:

  • Formaldehyde (HCHO)

Common sources are plywood panelling, adhesives, carpet backing, upholstery, drapery fabric as well as cigarette smoke.

Health effects include headaches, dizziness, lethargy, rashes, nausea, asthma attacks and irritation of the eyes and upper respiratory tract. Prolonged exposure at high levels may be related to nasal cancer.

  • Asbestos

Common sources are roofing and flooring materials, wall and pipe insulations, cement and coating materials. Is released only when the asbestos-materials are disturbed or disintegrate over time.

Health effects include scarring of the lungs and even cancer, as these microfibers can remain trapped in the respiratory system for years.

  • Biological pollutants

Common sources that are improperly maintained are air-conditioners, humidifiers, plants, pets and pests. Microscopic dust mites are a very important source of indoor allergens, found mainly in mattresses, upholstery as well as carpets.

Health effects: runny nose, blocked nose, shortness of breath, watery eyes and rashes. Long term exposure may trigger asthma attacks and even eczema.

  • Aerosol Products

Common sources: Any aerosol product contain many toxic compounds such as mercury and methylene chloride, which are small enough to penetrate the lungs’ defenses.

Health effects: dizziness, nausea, allergic reactions and eye, skin and respiratory tract irritation.

  • Nitrogen Dioxide (NO2) & Carbon Monoxide (CO)

Common sources: Gas appliances, fireplaces, wood and tobacco smoke.

Health effects: Nitrogen dioxide can lower resistance to respiratory infections. Prolonged exposure can damage respiratory tissues and may lead to chronic bronchitis. Carbon disrupts the distribution of oxygen to the body, thus inducing fatigue, confusion, nausea, dizziness and worsens cardiovascular conditions.

  • Household dust.
  • Pollen and mold spores.
  • Pet dander.
  • Particles that can carry bacteria, viruses and odors.

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