Industry Article

The Importance of Fans for Indoor Air Filtration Systems

August 04, 2021 by Sager Electronics

How much do you know about IAQ (indoor air quality) and filtration system options for purifying air?

Concerns over air quality have been increasing, most recently due to the persistence of a global pandemic that began in 2019 as well as the occurrence of wildfires near major metropolitan areas around the world. While most people are cognizant of the dangers of air pollution, many may not realize that indoor air can be up to five times more contaminated than outdoor air.

Image from ebm-papst via Sager


This is not a trivial issue; poor air quality can have serious health repercussions including illness, allergies, respiratory issues, and skin irritations. Proper air movement and the use of air purification systems are critical for improving indoor air quality.

Contributing Factors to Indoor Air Quality

Proper ventilation, air purification systems, and even houseplants make positive contributions to Indoor Air Quality (IAQ). Pollutants and allergens (e.g., dust, pollen, pet dander, mold spores, etc.), on the other hand, have negative impacts. These contaminants can originate in a variety of ways, most significantly from the building itself, its occupants, and from outdoor air coming in.

Materials used in construction, furnishings, and even office equipment like printers and copiers emit VOCs (Volatile Organic Compounds), which are problematic gases that can be discharged from solids. Carbon monoxide and other products of combustion are introduced from common tasks like heating and cooking. People in a building can alter the levels of carbon dioxide and humidity while also posing a risk of spreading airborne pathogens. Outdoor air coming in through open windows and ventilation systems is affected by pollution, natural disasters, ozone, pollen, and radon.

Buildings must have properly designed VAC systems to manage all of these variables. Building codes dictate how much outdoor air must be introduced, and the optimal system design ensures appropriate ventilation, temperature, and humidity control for all areas. In many cases, an air purification device is added - out of necessity, or for peace of mind.

Modern Tools for Indoor Air Filtration

Air purifiers are devices that remove pollutants from the air. They use several different methods to trap or eradicate a variety of contaminants to improve IAQ. The easiest and most widely adopted method is filtration. HEPA and carbon filters are the most common types used to remove particulate matter from the air. Alternatively, UV light systems destroy germs and viruses in the air and on exposed surfaces, and catalytic oxidation technology removes pollutants via chemical reactions.

An example air filter equipped with an ebm-papst fan. Image from Sager


All of the air purification options above require that air be moved through the device in order to clean it and to obtain accurate measurements of air quality in automated systems. A fan capable of consistently moving the proper amount of air is essential, and one that performs efficiently and quietly is ideal.

ebm-papst: The Answer to Your Air Movement Needs

While fans are critical to the functionality of IAQ systems, not just any fan will work. Filters are restrictive to airflow, so air filtration systems require a fan that can overcome the resulting pressure drop. UV light technology and catalytic oxidation may not incorporate filters, and would therefore require a fan for a less restrictive operating point. Since these systems are commonly used in close proximity to people, they should be as quiet as possible so they are not disruptive. High efficiency fans are typically preferred to help keep operating costs at a minimum. A key design consideration, then, is finding a fan that provides optimal airflow while keeping noise and energy consumption at a minimum.

ebm-papst’s entire fan offering is specifically engineered for both aerodynamic and electrical efficiency. Their RadiCal line of backward curved motorized impellers features innovative styling designed to quietly and efficiently provide the best possible airflow, making them an ideal choice for IAQ applications.

RadiCal impellers are available with optional AC or EC motor technology. Both motor types have been proven in the field and are known for quality and longevity. AC motors are reliable workhorses, while EC motors can provide a boost in performance with greater efficiency. EC motors also offer more sophisticated control and monitoring options including a wide speed control range, fan monitoring signal, and even MODBUS RTU. Robust and maintenance-free, these impellers offer a simple solution to maximize the effectiveness of air purification systems.


Air quality is a serious concern, and modern air purification systems can help provide a safer, healthier indoor environment. Whether utilizing filters, UV light, or catalytic oxidation, air purifiers need a fan to move air through the device in order for it to be cleaned. ebm-papst’s innovative RadiCal impellers provide the exact airflow needed while keeping noise and electrical power at a minimum. Optional advanced control and monitoring features provide even more customization and allow purifiers to easily be incorporated into automated IAQ systems.

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