What’s the Difference Between Air Filters and Air Purifiers?
If you live in a big city, you know how difficult it can be to simply breathe clean air. From dust particles to exhaust from engines, the situation outdoors seems like something we have little control over. For that reason, it is reported that over 50 million Americans are affected by various types of allergies each year, most of which are caused by dirty air.
Cleaner air would be easier on the lungs and skin, and it would also help prevent coughing and wheezing. The good news is that you don’t necessarily have to move away from the city to enjoy clean air. With the help of quality air filters and air purifiers, you can keep yourself and your family safe from harmful substances that might otherwise overwhelm your indoor air quality.
How to Clean the Air in Your Home
All air filters and air purifiers work in a similar way. They catch airborne contaminants, most of which consist of tiny particles that you can’t even see. These particles can include dust and pollen. Let’s go into detail.
An Examination of Air Filters
These are filtration devices that are built into your home’s central HVAC system. Their main function is to catch large, airborne particles before they find their way into your HVAC unit. This helps to keep your heating and cooling system running more efficiently.
In addition to being extremely helpful for the HVAC system, air filters can also be useful for you. They help keep the air in your home clean. The following are some of the particles that a good filter can catch:
- Mold spores
- Carpet fibers
After a certain period, say a month or two, these particles will build up in your filter, and it will clog. This will require you to replace the filter in order to keep the HVAC unit running at maximum efficiency. There are a few different types of air filters to choose from, including the following.
1. Activated Carbon Filters
These filters use activated charcoal to catch particles. These are quite effective against airborne chemicals as well as odors.
2. Fiberglass Filters
Fiberglass filters are one of the most commonly used types of disposable filters in the industry today. They are inexpensive and will trap approximately 25% of particles that are 3 –10 microns in size.
3. High-Efficiency Particulate Air filters
Popularly known as HEPA filters, these represent the highest level of air purification available. HEPA filters are capable of catching more than 99.97% of airborne contaminants, including dust, mold spores, pollen, and pet dander. These filters are used in places where the air is considered particularly dirty, like in a doctor’s office or a hospital ward.
4. Washable filters
These filters are durable and can last for an extended period.
While all of these options are decent, they are not perfect. They don’t remove all types of contaminants and will always require maintenance to keep them running at peak efficiency.
How Do Air Filters Work?
Air filters are located between the air return duct and the HVAC unit. After switching on your HVAC system, the air from inside your home is drawn through the filter’s media, where it gets cleaned. It is then channeled toward the HVAC unit and recirculated. This process will keep repeating to ensure a constant supply of clean air. During this cycle, the air is constantly being filtered, allowing your equipment to work less and you to enjoy a better indoor atmosphere.
What Are Air Purifiers?
Unlike air filters, air purifiers can remove all types of airborne contaminants from the indoor atmosphere. The following are some of the pollutants that a good air purifier can catch:
- Virus molecules
- Other microorganisms
There are three kinds of air purifiers that you can buy today.
1. UV Air Purifiers
UV air purifiers are installed in your HVAC system’s air handler. They utilize a powerful UV-C light to destroy microorganisms. UV air purifiers are great for removing allergens. While they may not be utterly effective against chemical pollutants, they are perfect for removing pollen and other airborne particles that come from plants. These are also great for eliminating microorganisms such as mold and bacteria.
2. Ionic Air Purifiers
Ionic air purifiers are installed near the blower of your HVAC system and work similarly to UV-C light purifiers. The only difference is that these units use a powerful negative ion electric field to capture particles. The ions, which are negatively charged, attach themselves to the positively charged pollutants.
The resulting compound is heavy and falls out of the circulating air, which prevents the pollutants from going into your nose and lungs. Ionic air purifiers are great at removing allergens, viruses, bacteria, and mold spores. However, they also don’t have a lot of effect on chemical pollutants.
3. UV/Catalyst Ionizing Hybrid Air Purifiers
These units use a combination of ultraviolet light and a special catalyst to remove pollutants from the air. They are very effective in removing dust, pollen, dust mites, mold spores, and other allergens from the air in your home. These are complex devices, and if you’re interested in one, you should have a technician install it on the supply side of your ductwork. Some of these air purifiers will emit low-level hydrogen peroxide, which will eliminate nearly all airborne pollutants.
You should consult air quality experts such as ours at BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair to help you choose the best type of air purifier for your home and HVAC unit.
Do You Need Both an Air Filter and an Air Purifier?
For clean, breathable air, you should consider investing in an air filter with a mid-to-high MERV rating. This will be a great improvement for people using standard air filters for their HVAC systems.
However, if you notice that there are still people suffering from allergies in your home, you will want to make sure that the air is as clean as possible. This is achievable by using a combination of a good air filter and an air purifier. A combination of both would be a wise investment that will help pay for itself by keeping your HVAC system running at peak efficiency. It will also reduce medical expenses caused by allergies and other respiratory illnesses. In addition to that, your family’s quality of life will be greatly improved.
Please consider choosing an air purifier that is equipped with advanced technology, such as an ionizer. This will help ensure that all of the contaminants in the air are removed. You should also consider a HEPA filter to keep the air you breathe as clean as possible. If you are unsure which brand of air filter or purifier to buy, consult with our experts. They will be able to help you make the wisest choice for your home.
At BEST Air Conditioning Plumbing Repair, we take pride in serving our customers, and we want to ensure that they are satisfied with our services. Our HVAC technicians are NATE certified, and we have state-of-the-art equipment. Since 2016, we have been helping residents of Las Vegas and the surrounding areas improve the overall quality of their indoor air. We also provide a complete range of heating, cooling, and plumbing services at affordable rates, including installation, maintenance, and repair. Give us a call today for more information.