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What Does an HVAC Air Purifier Do? The Facts for Buyers


hvac air purifier

Most of us consider good health a top priority. The throngs of people working out in fitness centers and running and riding bikes on every available pathway in NYC and the burbs are a testament to the value placed on a healthy lifestyle.

Though we wouldn’t dream of conducting our cardio routine in a parking garage or an outdoor location where the air pollution is palpable, most of us don’t really think about indoor air quality. This benign neglect could put our health at risk if we put stock in the federal Environmental Protection Agency’s finding that the air inside can be at minimum 2 to 5 times more polluted than outside.

An HVAC air purifier can help promote good health by greatly improving air quality in your home and workplace. So, what exactly does a central HVAC air purifier do?

An HVAC air purifier = Fresh air

While ordinary paper filters contained in many central HVAC systems help remove dust from the air, these basic filters do not remove miniscule particles that can harm your health. Central air purification systems, which are installed in the ductwork of your HVAC system, remove dust, mold, bacteria and viruses from the air circulated throughout your HVAC system.

How you will benefit from an HVAC air purifier

Well, most would agree that breathing in the cleanest air possible is a benefit to all those who inhale, so that is the simple answer to the question, “Is the installation of an HVAC air purifier worth it?” For allergy and asthma suffers and those with chronic respiratory problems, the installation of an HVAC air purifier should be an even stronger consideration.

Here are some of the things an HVAC air purifier can do for your home or business:

  • Trap pet dander and other allergens from your breathing space
  • Block dust mites/dust from your air space
  • Trap bacteria and viruses to prevent the spread of germs and illnesses
  • Certain purifiers can remove dangerous volatile organic compounds from the air
  • Neutralize smoke from your fireplace or from smoked tobacco products
  • Remove unpleasant odors emanating from places like stoves, ovens and trash cans

When should you consider getting an HVAC air purifier?

If you have done you best to maintain a dust-free, clean environment but still suffer from allergies and other respiratory ailments, maybe it’s time to consider installing an HVAC air purifier. If there is a smoker in the house, the purchase of an HVAC air purifier would be a wise investment in your health.

Businesses where volatile organic compounds (VOCs) are part of the trade (such as salons, furniture refinishing businesses, print shops, dry cleaners and auto body repair shops) are prime candidates for an HVAC air purifier.

It’s not only the obvious places that would benefit by an HVAC air purifier. Just about any business where cleaning chemicals are used or printers are part of the office equipment, there will be a presence of VOCs. Even the very place you go to promote good health – your fitness center – will likely have some level of VOCs circulating.

Types of HVAC air purifier

Not all air purifiers do the same thing. Here’s a primer on the different types to help you choose what’s right for your space.

One of the most common types of an HVAC air purifier system utilizes a heavy-duty HEPA (High Energy Particulate Air Filters) filter to trap the largest particles like dust. HEPA filters can trap more than 99-percent of airborne particles .3 microns and larger in size from entering your breathing space.

Carbon Activated Filters
A carbon activated filter is a good choice for VOC removal and smoke and odor eradication. These filters contain tiny absorbent pores to trap contaminants as they pass through the filter.

HVAC ultraviolet light air purifier
Ultraviolet technology is often used in conjunction with HEPA air purifiers. While the HEPA filter will capture larger particles, an HVAC ultraviolet air purifier can kill micro-organisms such as bacteria without any actual filtration. Instead it uses rays of ultraviolet light to incinerate micro-organisms as they pass through it.

Electrostatic air purifiers
Many HVAC air purifiers also contain electrostatic fields to capture microscopic particles as small as .1 micron in size, including viruses. Electrostatic air purifiers clean the air by using static electricity. An electrostatic charge is generated by air flowing through a network of static-prone fibers. Airborne particles are grasped by the static charge and trapped until the filter is washed.

Ionizing air purifiers
An ionizing air purifier uses a negative ion generator, which introduces negatively-charged particles that attract positively-charged air pollutants. As the particles group together they become too heavy and fall from the air and attach to surfaces.

Other air purification considerations

If your air purity concerns are confined to a small area, portable air purifiers are available to remove dust and vapor particles from the air in immediate proximity to the unit. These standalone units are often used in businesses where air quality challenges are magnified in a particular area, such as in a salon.

If you suspect your HVAC system is not providing your home or business with optimal air quality, it is advisable to invite an HVAC expert in to clean your system’s ductwork. Ducts can harbor all sorts of nasty stuff including dust, mold and mildew, which will hurt your air quality.

Do you need your ducts cleaned? Find out more from this guide: FAQ: Duct Cleaning and Your Indoor Air Quality.


Refrigeration Preventative Maintenance Contracts

Be kind to your HVAC air purifier

Be kind to your HVAC air purifier and it will be kind to you. The way to be kind can be summed up in one word: maintenance. Many HVAC air purifier systems rely on filters. After a while, these filters become clogged with a variety of debris and contaminants making the filters not up to the task of purifying your air.

Replace disposable filters on a timely basis or remove and hose down reusable filters before they become ineffective.

To find out more about filter changing, check out these related articles:

What Happens When You Don’t Change The AC Filter
Why and How to Change an AC Filter

An HVAC professional like those at Arista Air can help you determine when your filters need replacement based on type of system and what air quality challenges it faces at your location. Arista experts can also help you select an HVAC air purifier that is right for your home or business.

Is an HVAC purifier worth it? The health benefits derived from fresh air are undeniable.