The effect of an ion generator on indoor air quality in a residential room

  • Waring M
  • Siegel J
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UNLABELLED: Ion generators charge particles with a corona prior to their removal on collector plates or indoor surfaces and also emit ozone, which can react with terpenes to yield secondary organic aerosol, carbonyls, carboxylic acids, and free radicals. This study characterized the indoor air quality implications of operating an ion generator in a 27 m(3) residential room, with four different test room configurations. Two room configurations had carpet overlaying the original flooring of stained/sealed concrete, and for one configuration with and without carpet, a plug-in air freshener was used as a terpene source. Measurements included airborne sampling of particulate matter (0.015-20 μm), terpenes and C(1) -C(4) and C(6) -C(10) aldehydes, ozone concentrations, and air exchange rates. When the heating, ventilating, and air-conditioning system was not operating (room air exchange rate = ∼0.5/h), the use of the ion generator in the presence of the air freshener led to a net increase in ultrafine particles (
PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS: Portable ion generators are intended to clean the air of particles, but they may emit ozone as a byproduct of their operation, which has the potential to degrade indoor air quality. This study showed that under certain conditions in a residential room, the use of a portable ion generator can increase concentrations of ozone and, to a lesser degree, potentially aldehydes. Also, if operated in the presence of a plug-in air freshener that emits terpenes, its use can increase concentrations of secondary organic aerosol in the ultrafine size range.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Indoor chemistry
  • Ozone
  • Portable ion generators
  • Secondary organic aerosol
  • Terpenes

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  • M. S. Waring

  • J. A. Siegel

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