What are whole house air cleaners anyway? It may sound a little silly, but in the simplest terms a whole house air cleaner is something that is supposed to be able to purify and clean the air in an entire building. These things are supposed to be able to do the same thing for your entire house or building that a room air cleaner is supposed to do for a single room.
After hearing that, chances are you are saying to your self, "Great. That's fantastic, I have to go out and get me one right now!" Before you rush out in a mad dash and commit yourself to a costly purchase, read through these guidelines. These are some of the most important things you need to keep in mind as you decide on whether you need to actually get a whole house air cleaner or not.
- Purpose. What do you need a home air cleaner for? Are you suffering from major allergies? Do you have a high amount of traffic or large amounts of people that traipse through your home or office on a daily basis? Think of the reasons why you may want to have one of these pieces of equipment, and if it will actually serve a practical purpose to possess one.
- Types. There are four basic types of whole house air cleaners: HEPA air filtration bypass cleaners, electronic air cleaners, electrostatic air filters, and ultraviolet light filters. Each of these air filtration systems works through the existing air conditioning system. The HEPA system (in simplistic terms) passes the air to be filtered through a central high efficiency HEPA filter, and then returns it to the rest of the home, all while bypassing the air handler unit—hence the name. This system only works, though, when the air conditioning system is on and blowing. Electronic air cleaners fit into the air-return section of your existing air conditioners, and clean the air that is going through that section with electronically charged grids that attract air pollutants. Electrostatic air filters are made to simply replace your existing air conditioning or furnace filter. As the air passes through the different layers of the filter, they are trapped by the electrical charge that builds up from the passing air. Ultraviolet filters work by attaching to your existing air conditioning systems and killing any mold or bacteria growth. They do not necessarily remove any non-biological pollutants from the air.
- Cost. Whole house air cleaners are expensive. To simply purchase one of these units will cost you around $200.00, and the units only go up from there in cost. Actually having one installed by a professional may run you ten times that amount, or more.
- Effectiveness. Unfortunately these units are nowhere near as effective, or efficient, as the smaller room air purifiers. The basic reason for this is that the home, or office, is too large an area to be cleaned by just one machine. While the whole house air cleaner will make the air cleaner than it was without one, it will not make the air perfectly clean. The best way to ensure your air is as clean as possible is to use a whole house air cleaner in conjunction with a room air purifier—it may be a little redundant, but it works.
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