The Scoop on HVAC Air Purifiers: How They Work & If They’re Worth It

Concerns about indoor air quality have risen as homeowners become more aware of the effects of airborne pollutants on health. Upon learning that indoor air is often many times more polluted than outdoor air, homeowners are taking measures to clear the air in their homes.

One of the major steps homeowners are taking is the use of HVAC air purifiers.

Types of Air Purifiers

The topic of air purifiers can be a bit confusing. Also known as air cleaners, these devices may be whole house or portable. They are designed to trap different types of pollutants. It’s best to consult an HVAC specialist to determine the kind that will work best for you.

Media Air Filters

This is nothing more than the flat filter in your HVAC system. A good quality, pleated air filter, with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) of 8-12, will do a fairly good job of clearing air of pollutants as it passes through your HVAC system. The cheap fiberglass filters many homeowners use do nothing to improve air quality.

Washable Electrostatic Filters

Washable filters are more expensive than media-type filters, but they can be used for a long time, as long as the collector plates are washed regularly. They are not considered as effective as good quality media-type filters. They catch particles by releasing a static charge, charging particles either positively or negatively.

Activated Carbon Filters

These filters may be installed in the HVAC system or you may use a portable model with an activated carbon filter to remove gases such as tobacco smoke or volatile organic compounds (VOCs).

Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation

These air cleaners are designed to treat air for living organisms such as mildew, mold, fungus and bacteria by focusing light from the UV spectrum on the air as it passes through the HVAC system.

HEPA Filters

These super-dense filters are not appropriate for your HVAC system without extensive modifications to compensate for slowed-down air flow. Most homeowners buy portable HEPA air cleaners and move the equipment from room to room.

To learn more about HVAC air purifiers, contact CCAC of Corpus Christi.

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    David Mathewst David Mathews is the owner of CCAC Air Conditioning and Heating. A Corpus Christi native... More »