Here are some pros and cons of room only purifiers
Often cheaper than whole house alternatives
Generally don’t require professional installation
Don’t require a forced-air HVAC system for operation
Take up space in living area
Generally don’t work as well at lower(and quieter) speed settings
Occasionally produce smells
These systems usually hook into your forced air HVAC system, using its fans and ducts to draw air in to the purification unit. Most systems are installed into your HVAC ducting.
The price and complexity of whole house purifiers range from cheap, doityourself filters that simply replace the standard furnace filter; to expensive systems requiring professional installation and costing hundreds. Some of the priciest systems are freestanding self-powered units that rely upon ducting but operate independent of the HVAC system.
Quieter than room only systems
Doesn’t take up space in your living area
Ideally situated, as HVAC ducting is often a prime source of air pollutants, mold, dust etc
Critics claim that whole house systems don’t target specific rooms as well as a room air purifier
Generally require a forced air system
Usually don’t work when HVAC is off
4. Learn the Different Methods of Purification
Air purifiers can use many processes in their operation, many of which target certain pollutants while missing others. Some excel at getting rid of particulates such as dust and pollen but miss gaseous pollutants such as carbon monoxide. Others only target viruses or bacteria. And some don’t really target anything at all. i.e. some don’t work!
Common types include:
These systems trap particulate matter through the use of physical filters. The majority of legitimate purification systems incorporate some kind of media filter technology. The most effective of these are HEPA or High Efficiency Particulate Absorbing filters which are so effective in cleaning the air of particulate matter that they’re used in hospitals and other facilities that depend on sterile air.
Excellent at catching particulate pollutants
Many of the top performing purifiers are of this type
Require little maintenance
Often increase in effectiveness as they are used
The more effective filters block airflow and thus can reduce efficiency of HVAC systems
Replacing filters can be pricey
Filters that incorporate an electrostatic charge will quickly lose efficiency
Media filters can be hotbeds for bacteria
These purifiers pump ions into the air. The ions transfer their charges to airborne particles causing them to attach to walls or other surfaces and thus taking them out of the air. The process might sound bogus but it actually does work. Unfortunately it also has the side effect of creating ozone, a toxic gas that can exacerbate asthma and which also happens to be the main component of smog.
Generally more affordable to maintain than HEPA systems. (No filters to replace)
Ionization results in pollutants clinging to home surfaces, which can eventually lead to a blackening of those areas.
These purification systems consist of UV lamps, which work by irradiating germs with lethal doses of ultra-violet radiation. They are designed solely to kill germs however and thus should only be used in addition to a filter system.
Warning: While all UV lamps generate ozone as a bi-product of their cleaning process, some are designed specifically to generate ozone. These should be avoided.
Effective in killing biological contaminants
Affordable and require little maintenance
Only kill germs
May produce ozone which assists in destroying viruses and bacteria but which can also prove harmful to humans
Whole house UV lamp systems require professional installation as improper installation can result in damage to eyesight
These filters use activated carbon or other substances to trap volatile organic compounds and other gaseous pollutants. They can be effective when used in conjunction with a particle filter. They tend to be found more in industrial and commercial applications than in homes. In residences these filters are often found in combination with a HEPA style filter in high-end purifiers.
The best way to filter gaseous pollutants from your air
These filters often can only target certain types of gasses
Cheaper residential models are often not effective
Ozone Based Air Purifiers
The villains of the air purification world, ozone producing air purifiers intentionally produce ozone gas due to its ability to neutralize pollutants of all types including bacteria, VOC’s and particulate matter such as dust and pollen. It can also eliminate unwanted odors.
In residential situations however these systems are largely ineffective due to the lower levels of ozone used, furthermore they can prove harmful to residents as ozone has been linked to respiratory problems. Most reputable experts and publications advise that ozone air purifiers not be used in residences. California has gone so far as to ban them.