If your home has a standard central air conditioning system, then your filter is likely to be located in your return ductwork or blower unit. These filters help to clean your air passively —small particles become physically trapped in the filters, preventing them from entering your ducts and circulating through your home. Unfortunately, filters designed to catch smaller particles also tend to restrict system airflow.
Electronic air cleaners are an alternative that can potentially offer cleaner air without the downsides associated with high-efficiency passive filters. These units are sometimes known as whole-house purifiers, and they can be a worthwhile upgrade for many homes. Keep reading to discover if one of these cleaners should be next on your renovation to-do list.
Electronic Air Purifiers Explained
If you've used an ionic air purifier before, then you already understand the basics of whole-house purifiers. Ionic air cleaners work by charging particulate matter to force it onto an oppositely charged plate. Some cleaners also contain one or more physical passive (or media) filters to catch larger particles before they pass into the collector chamber.
In most cases, whole-house air purifiers can offer similar or better performance when compared to traditional media filters. The electronic collector alone will generally not catch all particles, however. Instead, the presence of a media filter before and after the collector can help keep sizeable particulate matter from passing through.
The Advantages of Whole-Home Purifiers
Whole-home air purifiers offer two significant advantages when compared to standard media-only filter systems:
- Reduced filter changes and maintenance
- Increased system longevity
Although most electronic air purifiers still use media filters for pre- and post-filtering, these filters will collect less dust and require less frequent changes. The collector plate used by the air purifier is not a disposable part and will only need to be cleaned every few weeks to every few months.
In addition to cutting down on your system maintenance, a whole-house purifier can also increase its longevity. Replacing restrictive media filters results in less strain on the system, ultimately saving wear and tear on your blower. Over time, this can add up to fewer maintenance costs and longer life.
Most whole-house filters install between the air handler unit and the ductwork. If your home uses a standard furnace filter, then there may be some extra work required to fit the air purifier unit into the space. If your home currently uses an extended media filter, then you may be able to replace that unit with an electronic air purifier with minimal extra modifications.
While whole-home purification systems are rarely cheap, they do offer a high-tech option for keeping your house's air clean without restricting your HVAC system. If you're looking for a way to upgrade your indoor air quality, then a whole-house purifier may be just what the doctor ordered.