At first glance, choosing an air cleaner from the available systems on the market may seem confusing. With a little understanding of how the primary types of air cleaners work, you can break through the confusion and make an educated choice. Here’s how to get started on the road to greatly improved air quality.
Options when choosing an air cleaner
There are two primary types of whole-house air cleaners: those that address multiple types of allergens and those that are allergen-specific.
- High efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems connect to your HVAC system, removing a portion of air that circulates through it, and then filtering that air through the HEPA filter. To qualify as HEPA, the filter must remove 99 percent of allergen that are 0.3 microns in size and larger. Standard filters can’t compare to the performance of a HEPA filter.
- Whole-house air purifiers generally employ several types of air cleaners in one system to comprehensively target all three classes of contaminants: particulates, bioaerosols and volatile organic compounds (VOCs). With a high-efficiency minimum efficiency reporting value (MERV) filter, ultraviolet (UV) lights and a catalyst, choosing this air cleaner means greatly improved indoor air quality.
- Electronic air cleaners also target multiple classes of contaminants, but instead of using filtration, UV rays and a catalyst, they charge the air electronically, attracting the charged particles with an opposite charge via collector plates.
Directed air cleaning
- You can install UV lights alone in your HVAC system to address bioaerosols, targeting the coils and the air, or installed in-duct to target only air.
- Employ a gas-phase filter to address odors and VOCs. These filters generally use a carbon element to target chemical fumes in building materials or paint fumes, but they fill up quickly. Using a gas-phase filter effectively requires that you keep an eye on the filter and change it frequently, which drives operating costs and maintenance requirements up.
For more information about choosing an air cleaner that suits your needs, contact the indoor air quality experts at Smoky Mountain Heating & Air today! We serve homeowners in the Asheville area. Give us call today or visit our website for more information.
Our goal is to help educate our customers in Asheville, North Carolina and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).
Image courtesy of Shutterstock