air purifiers and the new healthy home technologies

Air Purifiers and the New Healthy Home Technologies

March 5, 2015

Indoor air often contains several times more pollution than outdoor air, and this pollution can quickly rise to toxic levels in a home that’s inadequately equipped to handle the waste particles of everyday life. In addition to employing best practices to boost indoor air quality and properly ventilate your home, investing in an air purifier can help take your home’s health to the next level.

What’s the Difference Between Air Cleaners and Air Purifiers?

Many homeowners mistakenly lump air cleaners and air purifiers into the same group. Air cleaners typically have a high level of mechanical filtration, but they don’t provide additional methods of purification. An air purifier, on the other hand, uses mechanical filtering in conjunction with other purification technologies that help capture additional toxins.

Benefits of an Air Purifier

Air purifiers remove most of the irritants and toxins from the air you breathe inside your home. They can help reduce the symptoms of allergies, improve respiratory health, and prevent or rectify the symptoms associated with sick building syndrome. It may reduce the symptoms associated with asthma and inhalant allergies. An air purifier captures bacteria, fungus and even viruses to help reduce the risk of illness, making them especially valuable in homes with immune-suppressed individuals.

Types of Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are typically divided into either portable or whole-house units. Portable purifiers can be placed in any room of the house to provide spot purification. They’re popular for use in bedrooms, bathrooms, basements and garages.

Whole-house purifiers are installed in line with your ductwork. It’s important to note that these air purifiers may require additional fans or an upgrade of your existing HVAC fans or blower motor to accommodate increased air resistance. If you’re remodeling, you may want to consider an independent whole-house air purifier that utilizes its own ductwork and fans.

What Options Are Available?

Air purifiers can use a number of different technologies to achieve the pollution reduction you desire. Virtually all will have electrostatic HEPA filtration to capture particles as small as 0.3 microns in size. Premium options may include carbon filtration for odor reduction, UV lights to help neutralize select toxins, and an electrically charged chamber that incinerates some particles to reduce the frequency of cleanings and extend the effective life of each filter.

It’s important to note that some so-called air purifiers on the market don’t work and could even be harmful to your health. Ozone air purification systems were once extremely popular for home use. These units make the air smell fresh, but do little to clean. Long-term exposure to these levels of ozone could have a lasting negative impact on lung capacity and function. Small, inexpensive desktop air purification units may be tempting, but these are typically too low volume to affect a significant change on your indoor air quality.

 Which Air Purifier Is Right for Your Home?

The exact purifier that’s perfect for you will depend on your budget, expectations and special needs. Discuss your situation with an HVAC professional for recommendations on the best combination of options for you.

Other Ways to Make Your IAQ Healthier

Healthy home technologies can be implemented throughout your home. In addition to using an air purifier, upgrading your HVAC system’s air filter to higher MERV ratings can reduce even more of the airborne particles.

Proper ventilation is critical, and high-efficiency ventilation systems offer a constant supply of fresh air without wasting all of the energy you spent on heating or cooling your home. It’s most important to have adequate ventilation in your attic, basement or crawl space, and attached garage.

If you’re not sure which indoor air quality challenges you face, contact a professional for a home air evaluation. This evaluation will help you pinpoint the source and nature of your indoor air pollution.

Learn more about the air purifiers available through Berkeley Heating & Air Conditioning or call our indoor air quality experts at (843) 277-6030.

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