If the Dayton area’s smog and spring pollen count has you concerned about your indoor air quality, a good air purifier can help. Understanding how these systems work helps you find the best whole house air purifier for your needs.
Air Cleaners vs. Air Purifiers
Air cleaners and air purifiers aren’t necessarily the same thing. Some air cleaners only use mechanical filters that remove particulate pollutants. Air purifiers use other methods to handle pollutants that filters can’t trap, such as gaseous pollutants and germs. The best whole house air purifier for most homes includes both mechanical filters that remove larger debris particles and purification methods that handle gaseous pollutants and germs.
Filtration and Purification Methods
When choosing the best whole house air purifier, look for one that uses methods that target the pollutants that concern you the most. Particulate filters physically trap pollutant particles such as pollen, mold spores, pet dander, smoke particles, and even some bacteria and viruses. Electronic air purifiers give a positive charge to pollutant particles, which then stick to a negatively charged metal plate. This allows the air cleaner to capture tiny particles that slip through most filters.
Gas-phase air filters use an absorbent material, such as activated carbon, to absorb volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that can come from many household materials, as well as from smog and cigarette smoke. They also control odors.
Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI) systems neutralize bacteria, viruses, and mold spores. If your main goal is controlling the spread of illness and keeping mold out of your HVAC ducts, your air purifier should include a UVGI lamp. Just keep in mind that they don’t work against pollen and other nonliving particles.
Less common for home use are photocatalytic oxidation (PCO) systems, which work by shining ultraviolet light onto a catalyst — usually titanium dioxide. This breaks pollutants up into water, carbon dioxide, and harmless debris. They’re effective against VOCs and microorganisms, but they require a pre-filter to catch dust and similar debris.
For more guidance on choosing the best whole house air purifier for your Dayton-area home, contact us at Detmer and Sons.