Experts estimate that many residential buildings have poor indoor air quality, resulting in unnecessary sickness, aggravated allergy symptoms and general discomfort. With an air cleaner on the scene, homeowners can greatly improve indoor air quality.
Air cleaners work in different ways, with often vastly differing results, so choosing the right one is imperative for improving air quality and eliminating indoor contaminants.
Mechanical versus electronic
Portable mechanical air cleaners use filters to trap particles that travel through the air, and they are available in two primary types: flat and pleated. Both filtration devices use synthetic fibers to trap unwanted particles, but pleated filters have a greater surface area than flat ones and are better suited for trapping respirable particles. HEPA air filters are a high-efficiency version of pleated air filters, and are the best choice for ensuring the air you breathe will be as clean as possible. Before installing a mechanical filter in your HVAC system, however, be sure to consult an HVAC professional, as these more efficient filters also restrict airflow.
There are two primary types of electric air cleaners, both of which work by using electrostatic attraction to trap charged particles. Electrostatic precipitators work by charging particles so that they stick to a collector plate inside the device, similar to two magnets sticking together. Ion generators work in much the same way, although instead of collecting particles on a plate, they are charged so that they cling to surfaces in your home like walls, furniture or curtains.
Picking the right one
Air cleaners are usually installed in the ducts of your HVAC system, although there are portable units available. One of the key factors in choosing the right one for your home is to gauge what type of particles you want to eliminate, and then selecting a system that targets those contaminants.
T.F. O’Brien Cooling & Heating has been serving Long Island since 1934, and we’re ready to help you select the right air cleaner for your household needs.
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.
Image via Shutterstock.com