The 10 Best Air Ionizers
This wiki has been updated 19 times since it was first published in June of 2015. If you've been suffering from allergies and sinus issues, your home's air quality may be to blame. These ionizers charge bacteria and other particles in the atmosphere, causing them to stick to the floor or other surfaces where they can be vacuumed up and removed. You'll be shocked at how much easier it is to breathe with one of these things in your house — and they help neutralize odors to boot. When users buy our independently chosen editorial recommendations, we may earn commissions to help fund the Wiki. Skip to the best air ionizer on Amazon.
How Does An Air Ionizer Work?
Ions typically form when metal atoms react with nonmetal atoms, creating either a shortage or overage of electrons in their structure.
Within an atom there exists a microscopic act of homeostasis. Protons within the nucleus maintain a positive charge, while neutrons have a neutral charge. The electrons which spin around the nucleus have a negative charge; and it is the electrical energy created by the orbiting electrons being attracted to the protons which keeps the atom together.
Most atoms exist in this normal state. However, atoms may move from this normal state to an ionic state by losing or gaining an electron. In general, atoms are always looking to complete their electron valence shell, and will be attracted to particles which allow them to do so. This is known as the octet rule.
Ions typically form when metal atoms react with nonmetal atoms, creating either a shortage or overage of electrons in their structure. If an ion has more protons than electrons, it is considered a cation, which has a positive charge. Ions with more electrons will be negatively charged, and are called anions. These ions form as a result of chemical reactions, combustion, and radiation.
Air ionizers inject ions into the air which can then react with air pollutants; making them inactive in our bodies. Most do this through creating a corona discharge. This discharges free electrons into the surrounding air, which quickly latch on to the nearest air molecule, turning it into an ion. Because these ions will naturally repel each other, a relatively large area of effect is observed without the need for external fans. These ions then attach themselves to air pollutants, which have relatively large molecules. The new molecules will then seek to ground themselves through contact with a wall or floor, where they can be easily wiped away.
What Are The Health Benefits Of Air Ionizers?
The health benefits of using air ionizers come from the introduction of negative ions into the environment and therefore our body system. The highly reactive electrons in negative ions are constantly looking to link up with other atoms; and as they find them, the reactivity of the ion dissipates.
When volunteers were exposed to increased ambient positive ions, they were found to have increased anxiety, excitement, and feelings of suspicion.
Our ancestors picked up negative ions by walking barefoot on the Earth itself. Earth has a negative charge, and humans who walk upon the Earth's bare surface pick up these negative ions through a process now known as earthing. There are many benefits to this practice alone, including reduction of free radicals in the body, better sleep, lowered stress levels and heart rate, and even physiological factors such as increased mood.
Luckily, the same negative ions which we absorb from the earth can also be created in any environment where there is an air ionizer. Inhaling negative ions may reduce overall feelings of depression, especially at high concentrations. Increased exposure to negative ions has also been associated with lowered psychological stress, reduced feelings of anxiety, and a general enhanced feeling of well-being.
Studies have also reported the ability of negative ions to reduce serotonin irritation syndrome; which is a state of anxiety caused by a rise in positive ions in the air. When volunteers were exposed to increased ambient positive ions, they were found to have increased anxiety, excitement, and feelings of suspicion. Volunteers were then exposed to negative ions, and the results were astounding. Not only did the exposure to negative ions reduce the states caused by positive ions; they also lowered them to more reduced states than their normal levels.
The Difference Between Positive And Negative Ions
Simply put, an ion is an atom which has gone through a certain chemical bond; resulting in the atom either having lost or gained an electron. As electrons in an atom are negatively charged, atoms which have an extra electron are negatively charged, whereas atoms with a missing electron are positively charged. The addition or subtraction of an electron also make the atom highly reactive; and the atoms are constantly seeking to balance themselves back out by linking up with another atom.
As electrons in an atom are negatively charged, atoms which have an extra electron are negatively charged, whereas atoms with a missing electron are positively charged.
While both positively charged ions and negatively charged ions exist in the natural world, it is the modern era which is responsible for a large number of positive ions collecting in the atmosphere. Byproducts from heavy machinery, vehicles, electronics, and manufacturing all contribute to the growing levels of positive ions and ultra-fine particles; with air pollution being the greatest factor.
In the natural world, the charge is slightly more positive. This may be due to the fact that Earth itself carries a negative charge which repels other negative particles. The effects of positive ions can be felt in nature in the moments before a storm. When people complain of their joints aching just before a storm, they are simply noting the inflammatory effects of positive ions in the air; which take a sharp spike upwards before a storm.
The effects of negative ions can be felt on a hike through the woods. The abundance of oxygen and the moisture-rich soil combine to create a negative ion bath which results in increased mood and calmness. Negative ions have a positive effect on the health rather than a negative one; reducing inflammation and lowering stress.
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