What is a Whole-House Air Purifier and How Does it Work?

A whole-house air purifier is a device that is installed in-line with your residential HVAC system to trap or destroy dust, pollen, and other harmful contaminants. This helps to clean the air and improve indoor air quality. It is important to consider the cost and potential problems of a whole house air purifier before making a decision. Talking to an HVAC professional to see what the options are for your home is a good place to start. When looking for a personal air purifier, make sure it has a filter capable of removing small particles from the air.

According to the EPA, HEPA filters can remove up to 99.97 percent of airborne particulates, such as dust and pollen. Additionally, original AprilAire air purifiers are specifically designed to work with your AprilAire air filter. Whole home air purifiers work to remove harmful particles from your home's air, such as mold, pet dander, airborne viruses, pollen, and odors. A whole house air purifier installs directly into your existing HVAC system. When the HVAC system is turned on, the air cleaner works to remove contaminants (pollen, dust, VOCs, etc.).

There are several types of whole-house air purification systems, and each purifies the air in a slightly different way. Portable air filters and HVAC filters can reduce indoor air pollution; however, they cannot remove all air pollutants. Whole house filters and portable filters trap dust, pollen and more to clean air and improve indoor air quality. These systems are passive; while the fan is running, they constantly filter all the air in your home. In addition to providing general information about the types of pollutants affected by air filters, this document discusses the types of air cleaning devices and technologies available, the metrics that can be used to compare air cleaning devices, and the effectiveness of air cleaning devices for eliminating indoor air pollutants and information from intervention studies on the effects that air filters can have on health and health markers. Air purifiers that perform well in CR lab tests are good at filtering dust, smoke, and pollen from the air. Air purifiers cannot remove larger allergens, dust mites and pet hair, for example, that settle on furniture and carpets unless they are altered and redistributed in the air.

If they are connected to your HVAC system, they will only filter the air when your air conditioning or heating system is on or when the fan is running. Typically, air filters are integrated into the heating and cooling system (whole-house filters) or are stand-alone units that can be placed in individual rooms (portable filters with autonomous fans). Many air purifiers have undergone AHAM's voluntary certification program which provides clean air supply rates (CADR) and room size guidelines on the seal. Your home system may not have been built to push air through something that has a lot of resistance such as an oven filter. The air then circulates back to the ventilation grilles and is blown into every room in your house thus purifying the air throughout the house. A whole-house active air purifier is installed directly into your HVAC system reaching every corner of your home. Models listed are compatible with Clean Air MERV 11 Healthy Home MERV 13 Odor Reduction MERV 13CBN and Allergy & Asthma MERV 16 filter types. Whole house filters such as the extended media filter must be professionally installed in return air ducts.

This can lead to hazardous indoor air quality and CR does not recommend this type of air purifier.