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Electrostatic Precipitator: The Working Principle, Benefits, And Limitations

We all want to breathe in pure air, and air purifiers are dedicated to making our wish a reality. There are several types of filters present, but the electrostatic precipitator(ESP) is not like others. The working principle of ESP distinguishes it from other air filters. Therefore, let’s learn about how an ESP works and its benefits.

Why Is An Electrostatic Precipitator So Cool:

Have you ever rubbed a balloon with your hairs to pick tiny paper shreds? The same governing physics that allowed you to attract paper shreds, enables the filter to collect pollutants from the air. The physics behind the filter and balloon goes like this:

  • Rubbing two substances together causes electrons to shift their location. Thus one item has excess electrons while the other lacks a few.
  • Therefore, the items have accumulated charges. Thus they can attract and repel other charged or neutral particles.
  • Now apply the science to the air filter. However, filters don’t create static charges by rubbing but use an ingenious way.
  • An ESP comprises loads of electrodes with enough voltage to ionize the air ( rips electrons of suspended particles in air, making them charged) passing through it. Consequently, when the air flows through a grounded(neutral) collector, the charged particle falls and sticks to the collector.

Hence, in the described way, by using the fantastic physics of electricity, an ESP can filter out air effectively.

Benefits Of Using An ESP:

  • An Esp can collect up to 99% of suspended particles in the air. It works effortlessly, even with tiny particles.
  • It is a durable air filter that can last long.
  • ESP offers a low operating cost as it yields a maximum result with limited energy consumption.
  • It can handle high volumes of gases, working fine even at low gas pressure.
  • Filters out both wet and dry air impurities.


Although an electrostatic precipitator has much to offer, it might not be ideal for domestic purposes. You can blame ozone for canceling ESP out of your air purifier list. When ESP operates, it releases ozone as a byproduct. Consequently, ozone can fill up the room, and the ozone run-off can irritate your skin and lungs.

Apart from ozone production, the following are a few other faults:

  • The dust, ash, and other pollutants gather in the bottom tray. This accumulation makes cleaning the filter messy.
  • The filter is unable to treat gaseous emissions such as CO or oxides of nitrogen.
  • Requires high capital when compared to other filters.

Summing it all up:

An electrostatic precipitator creates charges on particles in the air and then sucks them up. It can provide high efficiency of up to 99 percent. Moreover, this makes it highly energy-efficient as well. Nonetheless, it’s not without its faults, and topping that list is ozone production. Ozone produced as a byproduct is harmful to human health. Therefore, it’s not suitable to be used in homes. Yet, it’s a great asset to industries because it can handle high volumes of gases without breaking a sweat. Are you pondering over which air filter to buy for your home or business?

Clean Liquid Systems is here to help. You can call us at 713-253-0100 for inquiries.