Air cleaners come in many varieties. They’re especially useful for people with allergies, asthma or other medical conditions. The market’s filled with different kinds of air filters and cleaners, making it difficult for the average homeowner to figure out what’s best for their home.
Here are some things to keep in mind when shopping for an air cleaner.
Types of air cleaners
- Mechanical air filters trap pollen, allergens and dust using a motorized fan that forces air through a screening unit. A popular example of said air filter is HEPA, which stands for high-efficiency particulate air. HEPA filters are categorized by their ability to capture at least 90 percent of all particles sized 0.3 microns or larger in diameter.
- Electronic air cleaners use electrical charges to bind particles. With the help of an ionizer, air particles are given a charge which causes them to either bind onto an oppositely-charged collection plate or simply bind with other particles in the air and eventually settle. However, these electronic cleaners create small amounts of ozone, which can cause nasal congestion in those with hay fever or rhinitis and irritate the airways of those with asthma.
- Gas-phase air filters are effective at removing specific odors (volatile organic compounds, or VOCs) which they were designed to capture. Usually gas-phase filters are placed in front of HEPA filters, pre-filtering larger particles thereby reducing the need to replace the more expensive HEPA filters. These filters fill up quickly and may need to be replaced as often as every month.
- Germicidal air cleaners use ultraviolet (UV) light, typically mounted with a fan unit, to destroy bacteria, viruses,and mold that come through the air.
When choosing an air cleaner, think about convenience between portable and whole-house air cleaners, the cost of operating the unit and the noise level it creates while operating.
For more information about air cleaners, contact the pros at T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating. We proudly serve Long Island homeowners.
Our goal is to help educate our customers about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). For more information about other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.
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