An increased awareness in residential indoor air quality (IAQ) has led to an increase in technologies that assist in improving IAQ. Two such technologies include Electro-static (ES) air cleaners and Photocatalytic Oxidizing (PCO) air cleaners. ES air cleaners remove particulate matter from indoor air, but are known to emit ozone, a contaminant, as a by-product. PCO air cleaners abate gaseous pollutants (i.e., Volatile Organic Compounds, VOCs); however, a lack of testing standards creates confusion about their effectiveness in improving IAQ in a real residential home. On the other hand, environmental variables such as temperature and humidity were found to affect VOC sensor readings which complicated the data analysis. In the case of two tested ES air cleaners, the data showed that although the ES air cleaners increased the ozone concentration in the house, the levels are not of concern as they were less than the Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) limit on indoor ozone generation. Regarding two tested PCO air cleaners, minimal indications of an acceleration in VOC abatement were seen. Nevertheless, further insight is given into the methodology behind the real-world testing of PCOs and a correction technique that was used to remove the effect of temperature and humidity on VOC sensor readings.

Date of publication

Winter 12-11-2023

Document Type




Persistent identifier


Committee members

Nelson Fumo, Ph.D., Shih-Feng Chou, Ph.D., Nael Barakat, Ph.D.,


Master of Science in Mechanical Engineering degree