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Differences between an air conditioner and an air purifier

Differences between an air conditioner and an air purifier

Summer has arrived, and with it the arrival of heatwaves. The French are exposed to many advertisements mentioning air conditioning systems and may begin to associate them with air purifiers.

Here is an article to save you from any confusion between an air purifier and an air conditioner. These two systems have very different functions, do not meet the same needs, and do not produce the same effects.

Breathe better: the many functions of an air purifier

The French are often aware of the peaks in air pollution generated by traffic, the fumes of industrial gases, or even the winds coming from the Sahara. These outdoor air quality events are regularly blamed by environmental defence associations for negative effects on health, but environmental authorities and associations are also trying to act to inform and act on the pollution of our indoor air. We too often forget that indoor air can be more polluted than outdoor air. However, as we have already said in our article on air quality and the different forms of pollution, indoor air is 4 to 5 times more polluted than outdoor air.

An air purifier is the only device intended to respond to the problem of indoor air pollution. It is used in many fields thanks to its scientifically-proven results. It is, for example, used in airplanes to renew the air in the cabins during long hours of flight. In the hospital environment, it filters the air to prevent the spread of viruses and bacteria in rooms, corridors, operating rooms, and areas dedicated to consultations. Just as in industrial settings, an air purifier is also used to retain toxic residues emanating from various machines.

Additionally, an air purifier can be used by individuals to reduce the risk of allergies and to protect themselves from viruses and bacteria, but it can also reduce the concentration of toxic substances that can be encountered in our everyday lives (such as fine particles or chemical pollutants).

The air conditioner: simply cold air

The role of an air conditioner, on the other hand, is to act only on the temperature of the interior air. It allows, despite the fluctuations of the external climatic conditions, to maintain your interior space in optimal conditions of temperature and humidity and to generate a comfortable atmosphere.

Reversible air conditioning systems make it possible to cool the air in summer and to heat it in winter, by drawing in the calories contained in the outside air.

Sales of air conditioners of all sizes are seasonal and peak at the start of the summer season. 

An air conditioner guarantees a pleasant living environment in homes, businesses, industrial spaces, and even shops. However, even if it provides fresh air, the standard air conditioner has no way of purifying the air in a home.

How does an air purifier work?

An air purifier cleans ambient air by passing it through various filters and pollution control technologies. The basic air purifier cleans the air with simple interchangeable filters, made of activated carbon, bamboo, or other natural materials. These trap animal hair, dust, pollen, and human dander (to name a few) and the largest particles present in the air. There are different filters, capable of capturing pollutants of different sizes.

Air filtration by an AIRVIA Medical air purifier

AIRVIA Medical combines 8 different filtration systems to provide clean, healthy air to everyone, within just a few moments. The feeling of fresh air is instantaneous, but the purifier does not lower the temperature of a room. AIRVIA Medical notably uses a H13 HEPA filter and a UV lamp.

A basic air purifier will be available at a starting price of 100£, but you will have to pay attention to the price of the filters (which will have to be changed regularly), and to the purification surface advertised. For comparison, the AERO 100 purifier from AIRVIA Medical (certified by the CADR with a score of 503.1 m3/h) allows you to purify the air in a 100m2 home in just a few minutes.

The combined air conditioner and air purifier: a good or bad idea?

Some manufacturers have tried to combine the two functions of air purification and air conditioning in a single device, which indeed seems both innovative and economical. To do this, filters are installed in the air conditioner to purify the cooled air. In theory, it would allow us to benefit from both a pleasant temperature and a purified interior. 

Unfortunately, this combination is not ideal. Significant fluctuations in temperature and humidity (as is the case in air conditioners) are detrimental to the longevity of the filters. Thus, 2-in-1 devices offer either poor air filtration or very high filter renewal costs. Our opinion is that it is better to have two devices that each perform their respective task effectively, than a combined device that performs both tasks poorly.

In summary, an air conditioner is a device which acts on the thermal conditions of a given environment and which can, depending on the model, offer a heating or cooling function or both. 

On the other hand, an air purifier is used to make the air healthier and cleaner for freer breathing. Air conditioners and air purifiers are therefore two distinct devices which have not yet been successfully combined in a single device for individuals.