Air Purifier vs Air Conditioner – What is the Difference?

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If you are wondering about the difference between air purifiers and air conditioners, then you have come to the right place. Here, we will take a look at the main differences between air purifiers and air conditioners, and what they are used for primarily.

The chief difference between the two is what we use them for. Air purifiers are designed primarily for improving air quality and, thus, to improve our health. Air conditioners, on the other hand, are more suited for giving us a bit more comfort, as they regulate the air temperatures and also the moisture in the air.

But can these two devices be used in combination with each other, or is one meant to be used in isolation? Air purifiers are suitable for those who have various medical conditions, such as respiratory problems and allergies, while air conditioners are for those who want to make life in their household more bearable by controlling the air temperature.

What is an Air Purifier?

An air purifier is a device that will filter the air and eliminate the unwanted particles from the air. Depending on the quality of the performance, an air purifier will get rid of even the smallest particles from the air. A good purifier will cleanse dirt and all other larger particles, as well as smaller particles such as bacteria, viruses, and microbes.

These air purifiers usually have a filtration system, which is normally a combination of two or more types of filtration. They have at least one main filter, which clears most of the particles from the air. These filters are commonly HEPA filters or True HEPA filters, or any equivalents.

Very rarely do we find these filters in isolation, though. Usually, they work with other types of filters, such as activated carbon filters, that get rid of the odors from the air, and pre-filters, which eliminate the larger particles from the air.

In any case, air purifiers are geared primarily towards those who are looking to improve the quality of the air, get rid of unwanted odors, and remove bacteria and mold from the air.

Some purifiers also use electrostatic methods to purify the air. These devices are called ionic air purifiers or ionizers and are also very effective for purifying the air.

What is an Air Conditioner?

An air conditioner, on the other hand, is a device that is primarily used for comfort reasons. Namely, they make the air temperatures in our homes more bearable, whether the temperatures are high or low. Most commonly, air conditioners are used in warmer areas where the temperatures are often high, and a conditioner will regulate the air temperature to make it more bearable.

An air conditioner has some air-purifying capabilities, but by no means are these capabilities as good as with purifiers. They do trap mold and pollen from the air, but only to protect the conditioner and the filter itself.

An air conditioner also utilizes some filter that protects the conditioner from dust, pollen, and mold. But the MERV rating of these filters is significantly lower than the filters of purifiers, meaning that they are less effective at purifying the air. But the primary meaning of conditioners is not to purify the air but to condition it.

They suck hot air in, and they transform it into cold air using a refrigeration cycle or evaporation, or even free cooling. Some conditioners are made based on chemicals called desiccants. An air conditioner also has some dehumidifying capabilities, although not as powerful as that of the regular dehumidifiers.

Types of Air Purifiers

There are various types of purifiers, and each type uses specific technology to purify the air, which is different from other technologies. Here are some of the main types of air purifiers.

HEPA Filter Purifiers

These are perhaps the most common type of air purifiers. They utilize a HEPA filter to purify the air, and some of these filters can clean up to 99% or more of the particles from the air. These are perhaps the most versatile types of air purifiers, and HEPA filters are sometimes combined with other types of filtration for better performance.

UV Purifiers

UV purifying filters are often combined with other filters that get rid of particles. UV filters are especially effective at removing bacteria and viruses.

Activated Carbon Purifiers

Activated carbon purifiers use activated carbon filters to clear the foul odors and fumes from the air. It is also often combined with other types of filters.

Ionic Air Purifiers

These purifiers emit negative ions into the air, which then clash with the positive ions, which are found in dust and other particles, and they eventually fall to the ground.

Other Types

We also have some other types, such as ozone purifiers, electronic cleaners, and others.

Do Air Conditioners Clean the Air?

Most air conditioners will clean the air, but only to a certain extent, and certainly not as effectively as air purifiers. That is because they have small air filters that clean the air so that they protect the conditioner itself.

Does an Air Purifier Cool a Room?

Normally, air purifiers will not cool a room. The main task of air purifiers is to clean the air, not cool it. A combination of purifiers and conditioners might be effective.

Can You Use an Air Purifier with Open Window?

Sure, the purifier will work even with windows open, but would probably not be as effective as it would normally. That is because the purifier would then be subject to the particles from the outdoors, and would suck in air from outside your home.

That means that the purifier will have to deal with a much higher load, leading to more ineffective performance and a faster clogging of filters.

Wrapping Up

The main difference between air purifiers and air conditioners is the service they provide us. Air purifiers are mainly for those who want to make their air cleaner, while conditioners are for those who want to control the air temperature in their homes. A combination of both would bring the best results.

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