Electronic air cleaners employ an electrical field to trap particles. Much like mechanical filters, electronic air cleaners can be installed as central filtration systems or purchased as a portable unit with a fan.
Electrostatic precipitators are the most common type of electronic air cleaners. They use two stages to draw air in with an electrode or wire and collect the particulate on plates.
The simplest form of the electronic air cleaner is the negative ion generator, which creates static charges to remove airborne particles. All the particulates in a room become attracted to surfaces, and deposit themselves on walls, floors, table tops, curtains - even occupants!
Electronic air cleaners can produce ozone as either a byproduct or intentionally, as is the case with ozone generators. This has been a concern lately for experts concerned about air quality, since ozone can be a potent lung irritant and exposure to elevated levels can be dangerous for people with asthma and other chronic lung diseases.
The benefits of electronic air cleaners are that, unlike HEPA filters, they have a generally low energy cost. The airflow through the unit is constant and this helps lengthen the time between replacement filters. However, these units can become less efficient with use and require frequent cleaning.
Keep in mind, that using this kind of air filtering system will cause more soiling of your furniture and walls, and require consistent vacuuming and cleaning routines so that the material is removed.
More advanced units are theoretically designed to reduce soiling in a room. These filtration systems create negative ions within a space that air flows, and then suck back the charge particles into the cleaner by a fan.