Indoor air pollution is one of the leading causes of deterioration of quality of life today. As we migrate into modern and home-driven lifestyles- so do today’s pollutants and harmful particles, which settle into the nooks and corners of our homes, and float around in the air.
Next thing you know, someone in the house is hacking up a lung, or having a visible allergic reaction on their skin. This problem is particularly noticeable in today’s HVAC systems.
Whether you’re aware of it or not, units like ACs and furnaces often spread around pollutants through their venting system. Of course, while they are designed with air filters to prevent this exact scenario, who’s to say how effective they are?
According to the EPA, it is vital to not only ventilate your home through fresh and clean outdoor air, but is also recommended that one uses an air purifier to reduce the number of pollutants contaminating the air such as dust mites, pet hair, mold, pollen, viral particles, and so on- these can trigger allergies and issues related to the lungs.
This is why today’s HVAC market is a great place where you can find a variety of air purifiers to combat this problem by working alongside your HVAC system.
By supplementing your AC, furnace, or electric baseboard with a Whole-House air purifier, you can have the best of both worlds- effective air conditioning and cleansing!
About Air Purifiers
Where air filters in HVAC systems help to trap dust and debris and prevent them from leaking into the air, air purifiers aim at completely eliminating a pollutant or contaminant, thereby reducing the chances of health problems and disease by a far larger number.
Activities as small as cooking, lighting a candle, or smoking can have a considerable effect on the air around you. However, these activities can’t be avoided entirely, so air purifiers act as a one-stop solution to all these problems.
Typically, there are two kinds of air purifiers: personal or portable, and whole-house air purifiers.
Personal or portable air purifiers are great because they’re independent and don’t depend on any other system to run. You can simply plug them into the nearest switchboard, and use them without any pre-installation whatsoever.
On the other hand, there are Whole-House Air purifiers that work with your HVAC heating and cooling systems. These purifiers simultaneously purify the air while your HVAC system heats or cools your surroundings. These, of course, require a professional to come and install them.
Whole House Air Purifiers: What Are They, And Do You Need Them?
A whole-house air purifier is responsible for every room in your house. Where personal/portable purifiers can only filter the air in the room in which they are plugged in, whole house purifying systems use ducts to filter and freshen your entire home.
If you’re wondering whether getting a whole-house air purifier is the right decision for you, there are some factors to consider.
Firstly, the existence of a central air system or a ducted system in your home itself indicates if your home wants a whole house purifier. If you don’t, a whole-house purifying system is pretty useless as its operation solely depends on ductwork. If you do, a whole-house system is feasible to install.
Size of house/Number of Rooms
I also encourage you to consider the size of your home. If you live in a huge house with multiple rooms, getting a whole-house air purifier seems like a sensible decision.
However, if your living space is an apartment with 2 or 3 rooms, it might be easier to buy a portable system that you can teleport from room to room as you need it.
Additionally, from a performance point of view, you might find that personal/portable purifying systems tend to have a stronger air change per hour rate.
This means that they can filter and change and purify the air in a room repeatedly in an hour, and they can do it more times than a whole house purifier, whose operation is more gradual and slow.
If you’re less concerned with the number of air changes, and more with the filtration process, whole-house purifiers are more advantageous. They are generally designed to cover a larger area, and can easily extract and eliminate dust, pollen, and large air pollutants.
However, portable purifiers have shown to be more apt in the termination of gaseous material and odor. Thus, when it comes to places like the kitchen or the garage, the latter is a good choice.
Whole-house air purifiers are also much easier to maintain compared to portable purifiers. If your get multiple personal purifiers for different rooms, the responsibility of filter changes and maintenance is also multiplied.
In terms of noise levels and space, whole-house purifiers get kudos for not only being invisible inside the walls of the house but also quiet in their operation.
If you care about the aesthetics of your house, a portable system might not be a good idea, as it takes up space in the room. By being right inside the room, its noise levels are also much closer and therefore louder.
Whole-house Air Purifiers: Pros and Cons
Now that you are familiar with the whole-house air purifiers, here is an analysis of certain pros and cons that accompany them. You might have recognized some of these already in the above sections, but here’s a distinct view to help you understand these units better.
Types of Whole House Air Filters
Whole House Air Filters, thus, can be a blessing or a curse depending on your needs and expectations from a purifying system. Listed below are some popular Whole House air purifying systems that you can consider for your home:
Flat filters are basically better and more qualified versions of your typical AC or furnace air filters. Where your normal air filters simply trap dust and debris and stop working when they are blocked up, flat filters are a bit better at catching every contaminant in their surroundings.
These devices are electrostatically charged, and use this technology to draw pollutants towards themselves and trap them. These are upgraded versions of normal air filters, a few notches above them on the price tag. They cost around $15.
Media or Mechanical air filters are more efficient in trapping pollutants and particles thanks to their thick composition. These filters don’t use any electricity and are removable and washable to enable regular maintenance. As opposed to fiberglass filters, these are packed with filtration media.
Under media filters, you’ll find High-Efficiency particulate air filters, which can trap larger particles; Carbon Filters, which focus on removing odors, and also Charged Media Filters that have a static charge that is designed to attract allergens and other particles to the filter.
One disadvantage of this system is that the filters have to be replaced consistently. Secondly, as they are very thick, the HVAC system has to spend more energy to draw air out of it, meaning that they may decrease the overall energy efficiency.
While the filters themselves are priced at $40-$60, with the installation they can cost around $400-$600.
In electronic filters, any air that passes through is first charged with static. When the air reaches the end of the system, the electrically charged particles are attracted by oppositely charged plates.
Electronic filters are advantageous because they don’t need to be replaced. They are also the best at trapping tiny smoke particles. However, their maintenance requires that collector plates are washed monthly.
One also has to be wary of small amounts of ozone put out by this filter, which can have side effects. These units are paced at $600-$1000 including installation.
If your primary concern is getting rid of any germs, bacteria, or viruses hiding in the air, the ultraviolet filter is your go-to. These filters simply eliminate any such particles posing health risks as soon as they detect them. These are usually accessories to whole-house electronic precipitators and can cost around $400-$800 as additional components.
Whole-house air filters, thus, can be excellent companions for the right homes. If you have a large home, and you want to improve the air quality of your surroundings, all minus the burden of an air purifier that might impose on your living space- a whole-house air purifier is best suited for you. These systems can seem quite expensive off the get-go, but they are great for longevity.
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