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Cleveland HVAC Blog

Do Indoor Air Purifiers Really Work?

Posted by P.K. Wadsworth Heating & Cooling on Tue, Feb 14, 2017 @ 08:00 AM

shutterstock_575284003.jpgIf you're an allergy sufferer, you may have wondered about the effectiveness of indoor air purifiers. Do they really work?

Actually, air purifiers can do a lot to improve the indoor air quality of your home, if you choose the type designed to eliminate the pollutants you're concerned with. There are a number of different kinds of air pollutants in the average home, so shop for an air purifier accordingly. Some units work a lot better than others and if you choose wisely, you will get the best for your money.  

Whole House Air Purifiers

A whole house air purifier installed in the HVAC system will do the best job of cleaning your air. Some of the types you can buy include:

  • Electrostatic air purifiers: These use an electric charge to trap a variety of particles on a plate, which must be cleaned periodically or their effectiveness drops off dramatically. If they are not sized or adjusted properly, they also can produce ozone* which can be an irritant for some people.  So consult with your HVAC pro if you have one or are considering adding this unit to your home.  
  • Mechanical filters: This is a high quality air filter that traps pollen, dust, mold, dust mites, and other pollutants as the return air is pulled through the HVAC unit.  Depending upon the type of filter and the situations unique to every home, these filters need periodic replacement from monthly to annually.
  • Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation, or UVGI: These are ultraviolet lights installed in the HVAC that help kill mold spores, bacteria, and viruses.
  • Charged media filters: Similar to electrostatic precipitators, these use filters, which must be replaced.
  • Carbon activated filter: A carbon filter traps odors, smoke, and other gases. Once the activated carbon bed is used up, it too needs to be replaced.

Portable Air Purifiers

Portable air purifiers are less expensive to buy than whole home air purifiers and can be moved from room to room, and can be your only choice if you don't have forced air.  However, if practical, the whole home units generally are a better buy since they address the entire home and tend to last longer

One popular type is the ozone (*see above) and ion generator, which helps reduce mold, pollen, and dust, but also produces ozone*. Others use dense HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) filters to trap dust, pollen, and bacteria.  there are also whole home version of this HEPA filter that can be installed on ducted, central home confort systems. 

Eliminate Pollutants at the Source

The first line of defense to fight allergens is to keep a clean house. Vacuum frequently using a vacuum cleaner equipped with a HEPA filter. Fix leaks and use an exhaust fan to get rid of moisture that might contribute to mold. Wash linens in hot water to control dust mites. 

To learn more about indoor air purifiers, contact P.K. Wadsworth. We have more than 80 years of experience in the cooling and heating industry. 

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Welcome! Read our latest posts or explore the archives. You’ll find tips for how to maintain your HVAC equipment to discussions about indoor air quality, conserving energy and saving money, and information about emerging technologies in heating and air conditioning. Bookmark our blog.

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