Do Whole House Air Filters Really Work?

For those with allergies, asthma, and other respiratory conditions, a whole-house air purifier can be a great investment. These systems help reduce symptoms by removing pollutants from the air. Unfortunately, there is a lot of misinformation about “whole house” air purifiers. Some air purifiers are marketed as such, but in reality they are just large portable units.

While they can filter relatively more air, larger portable filters don't clean all the air in your home. A true whole-house air purifier is integrated into the HVAC system. It could be as simple as a filter where the air return enters the oven (which is primarily intended to protect oven components from debris, rather than purify the air), or it could be an electronic system integrated into the duct network. To truly be considered a whole-house air purifier, the filter must be placed in the airflow of the ducts of your HVAC system.

If you decide to go ahead with an air purifier, your first decision is whether you need a portable or whole-house model. If you have a duct network and forced air system, a whole house system will work. Homes with radiant heat and without air conditioning will have to resort to portable autonomous models. Whole house air purifiers can also extend the life of your HVAC system by reducing the amount of dust moving through the system.

A cleaner HVAC system offers greater long-term efficiency, so be sure to maintain its maintenance throughout the year. It's almost impossible to objectively evaluate the effectiveness of whole-house air purifiers because there are many variables that affect the efficiency and effectiveness of the purifier, such as the design and size of your home's ducts, the number and location of return air grilles, the HVAC equipment already installed, and the conditions (such as a lot of dust, a lot of pets, or mold problems) that the purifier may need to treat. Accordingly, let's focus on the different ways that whole-house air purifiers can work when installed in an existing HVAC system. For any type of polluting particles, including pet dander, pollen, mold spores, and tobacco smoke particles, a whole-house air purifier with a HEPA filter will work best. As the name implies, whole-house air purifiers help clean the air in entire homes, rather than just one or two rooms. There are many different brands of whole house air purifiers available on the market today. The problem with this approach is that not all of the air gets completely cleaned since not everything goes through the air cleaner and actually just flows directly to your air handler through the main return duct.

The most efficient way to filter home air is through your home's forced air heating or central air conditioning system. I think one of the most important benefits of whole house air purifiers is that they provide clean air throughout your entire home with a single device. People very easily understand the difference in upgrading from a one-inch filter to a media air filtration system. While you need to consider the context of your home and the pollutants you need to remove from your home's air when choosing a specific unit, CADR and MERV ratings are useful for comparing different types of systems and filters. If you want whole-home coverage, your best option is a whole-house air purifier, but only if you have a central air conditioning or HVAC system. Depending on the technology your purifier uses, whole-house air purifiers are very good at removing dust, small insects, and insect body parts, pollen, and larger particles from indoor air. If you've read this far into this post then you may have already found an answer for yourself as to whether you need a whole house air purifier or not.

Read on to learn what to watch out for this season and how you can protect your home and family from outdoor pollutants that can affect indoor air quality. An air purifier is basically a fan and filter combination which can be quite noisy at higher speeds. In most situations people typically install a whole-house air purifier if they have an existing HVAC system.