HVAC June 2019

How Air Cleaners and Air Purifiers Can Help Improve Indoor Air Quality

Wolseley PRO Pipeline Blog

Air cleaners and air purifiers are units used in homes and buildings to remove pollutants from the air and improve indoor air quality (IAQ). When helping homeowners with their HVAC needs, it’s an excellent opportunity to also talk to them about air cleaners and air purifiers and how they can improve indoor air quality.

Why Indoor Air Quality Matters

Indoor air quality can be even worse than outdoor air quality. The reason for this is because homes are constructed with much tighter seals than ever before, making them energy efficient but oftentimes, lacking in air circulation. When there is a decrease in the quality of indoor air, there is a risk for inhabitants of the home. They may be breathing particles like dust mites, mold, pollen, dander, or worse, gases like nitrogen oxide, carbon monoxide, combustible gases or other Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs). For the average person, these can damage the lungs and create breathing problems or illnesses. But for certain groups of people like infants, young children, the elderly, those with pre-existing breathing conditions, lung disease, COPD, heart disease, or diabetes, it is especially important to improve indoor air quality to minimize the risks.

That is why it’s a good idea for homeowners to use air cleaners and air purifiers to improve indoor air quality.

Why Use An Air Cleaner and Air Purifier

Air cleaners, sometimes interchanged with the term air purifiers, are important to keep the air inside a home suitable for breathing, however, there is a slight difference in their operation.

Air cleaners are responsible for trapping large particles of pollutants in a filter and are commonly found in HVAC systems. These air cleaners only do their job if the heating or cooling is in operation. Running the heating or cooling all the time would not be cost-effective nor as efficient as other air purification solutions, however, it’s still advisable to have an air cleaner installed. This helps trap particles and prevents them flowing through ducts, vents and operating machinery.

Air purifiers are slightly different than air cleaners because they pull the air through to purify and then recirculates it through the home. Air purification units can be left to run continuously and use little energy to get the job done. The aim of air cleaners and air purifiers is to remove particles down to the microscopic level of 0.03 microns, but purifiers go the extra mile to also remove VOCs and airborne viruses, bacterias and germs.

As the air quality inside a home varies throughout the day due to activities like cooking with gas appliances, pets shedding, cigarettes smokes, dust mites building on furniture, etc., it’s important to tackle the flux in air quality with an HVAC filter and a portable unit to remove pollutants.


Types of Air Purifiers

There are different methods of air purification on the market for homeowners to choose from. Air purification units are small and operate almost silently, making them an optimal choice for any room in a home. Air purification units often use both High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filtration and activated carbon filters to trap pollutants and gasses.

HEPA filters are designed to remove 99.97% of pollutant air particles in the home like dust, pollen, pet hair, dander, and second-hand smoke. To trap particles as well as gasses and odours, units also have activated carbon filters. Activated carbon filters have small pores within the surface to trap air articles and start the process of adsorption of gasses. The carbon then creates a thin film from the gas and prevents the gas from going back into the air.

Both HEPA filters and activated carbon filters need to be replaced according to the manufacturer's guidelines to be the most effective in improving indoor air quality. Using both helps homeowners improve indoor air quality and should be considered.

It’s also advisable for homeowners to avoid air purifiers that have the potential to produce Ozone gas, such as UV light purifiers, ionizers, and electrostatic precipitators. This can wreak havoc more than improve the indoor air quality. Homeowners should look for air purifiers that are certified to emit little or no Ozone.

The Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR)

Air purifiers have a Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) to help consumers understand how the air is purified depending on a room’s size. The CADR is directly related to the cleaning speed and effectiveness of the purifier against three common indoor air pollutants: tobacco smoke, dust and pollen.

The larger the number for the CADR, the faster a unit will clean the air. This gives homeowners an idea of how fast and how well the unit will work to clean the air. If the unit has too small of a CADR, the indoor air quality can suffer because filtration does not happen fast enough.

Size of Air Purifier for Indoor Air Quality

Choosing the right CADR is important and so is choosing the right size for an air purification unit. When helping homeowners decide on a size of air purifier, make sure to take the dimensions of the room they want to use the unit in and compare those dimensions to the ones listed on the manufacturer’s package. Some other things to consider are if the homeowner has high ceilings or has exceptional needs for excellent indoor air quality, like a breathing condition, allergies or asthma. In this case, they may want to opt for a larger unit than HEPA-Air-Cleaner-ELAEAHEPADM400VS_550what is typical for their room measurement to achieve the best indoor air quality. 

Discover More About Air Cleaners and Air Purifiers

The next time you’re helping homeowners with their HVAC concerns, be sure to discuss the benefits of air cleaners and air purifiers and how they can improve indoor air quality.

View all air cleaners on Wolseley Express, including the Electro-Air HEPA Duct Mount Whole-House Air Cleaner.

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