What Is the Best Air Filtration System, and Do They Really Work?

August 1, 2020

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An air filtration system is an excellent means of removing airborne dirt, dust, pet dander and fur, pollen, smoke, mold spores, and other such irritants. Using a whole house air filter means easier breathing and less dust settling on floors and furniture, reducing their overall wear and tear.

Most experts agree that HEPA filters are a good choice for removing airborne dirt and irritants while ionizers combat germs that might otherwise cause illnesses. While an air filtration system is an excellent choice for many homes, it’s also helpful to use a high-quality furnace filter, ensure roof vents are unobstructed and in good condition, and invest in regular HVAC maintenance as well.

Despite their benefits, homeowners often wonder if residential air filtration systems are a good investment, and if they’re actually harmful to your health. While only a doctor can advise how you might benefit personally from a whole house air filtration system, it’s helpful to note some vital details about different systems on the market today.

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You might also note some advantages of using these systems and why your home’s interior environment is unhealthy, and added tips for keeping it clean and germ-free. You can then discuss your options and concerns with an HVAC installation contractor near you, and know that you’re doing everything possible to maintain a clean interior environment for you and your family.

What Air Filtration Systems Are Best?

If you’re still hesitant about a whole house air filtration system, note why these are needed and then you can consider some added details about standard air filtration systems on the market today.

  • First note that air in your home is often 2 to 5 times dirtier than outside air! While homes have roof vents and you do circulate fresh air into the home every time you open a door or window, these are both ineffective at removing high levels of airborne pollutants and irritants.
  • Open doors and windows are also temporary solutions to poor indoor air quality. Once those doors and windows are closed, you again trap pollutants and irritants in the home.
  • Homes near construction zones, production and manufacturing businesses, busy highways and airports, and other such facilities might allow in more airborne dirt and dust every time a door is opened! If outdoor air quality is poor, added air circulation is not the answer to indoor pollutants.
  • Homeowners often fail to realize how many pollutants are irritants are generated inside a home every single day. Pets and humans both are always shedding skin cells and hair, and transmitting bacteria and germs to furniture through their skin and sweat.
  • Even if a smoker goes outside when they light up, smoke, ash, soot, and other cigarette contaminants settle onto their skin, hair, and clothes, and are then transferred back into the home.
  • Candles, incense, and gas stoves and furnaces also produce fumes and emissions that get trapped inside a home, as do aerosols, paints and coatings, and other chemical-based products.
  • Central air conditioners and furnaces work harder to push air through dirty ductwork and vents. A whole house air filtration system keeps ducts cleaner than usual, resulting in less wear and tear on the home’s HVAC system.
  • HEPA filters, made of thin glass fibers woven into a mesh material, “grab” air in a room or throughout the home, and then trap and lock microscopic particles from that air.
  • Carbon filters trap and neutralize gaseous chemicals and fumes that might otherwise pass through HEPA filters.
  • Ionizers create charged particles that kill germs and bacteria; these are sometimes used in medical settings and restaurants. An ionizer is often recommended for someone with compromised immune systems, breathing disorders, or other sensitivities to these harmful contaminants.
  • Ultraviolet or UV filtration systems kill growing mold spores, viruses, bacteria, and biological contaminants and irritants

What to Consider When Buying a Whole House Air Filtration System

When purchasing an air filter system for your home, don’t make your decision based on price alone! As with any other appliance or added feature for your house, cheaper products might be poorly manufactured and tend to fall apart sooner rather than later. A cheaply made product might also struggle to function as it should, so your bargain air filter offers very little filtration for your home!

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First, note what might need filtering and cleaning inside your home. If your home is always covered in layers of dust, for example, a HEPA filter is an excellent choice for trapping those airborne residues. If you’re overly sensitive to germs and bacteria, have allergies or other breathing disorders, or are concerned over germs transmitted from pets to newborn babies and the like, a UV filter might be a better option. Choose the best filter type according to what needs cleaning and your special sensitivities.

Many homeowners also appreciate a whole house air filtration system as this typically connects to the home’s furnace or otherwise operates through the HVAC system, keeping it quiet and unobtrusive. You won’t need to make room for a cumbersome air filter stand or other such parts and equipment when you opt for something that is fitted to the furnace, and can enjoy clean air without added noise or distraction.

If you cannot afford a whole house air filtration system, consider where you might keep a room-sized filter. For someone who isn’t home much during the day, invest in a whisper-quiet model you can keep in the bedroom, so you’re breathing clean air at night. For families who gather in the living room or downstairs area for much of the day, choose a larger model that circulates enough air to ensure higher air quality throughout that larger space.

It’s also vital to note long-term costs with any air filtering system. Note how often you might need to change a filter and average replacement filter prices. Consider, too, the expected lifespan of any air filtration system so you know when it would need full-scale replacing. This ensures you’ll make the best cost-effective choice overall.

Air Filtration Systems and How to Improve Indoor Air Quality

A whole house air filtration system is an excellent way of improving indoor air quality, but homeowners can do much more to ensure their interior spaces are clean and healthy and pollution-free. One excellent suggestion is to change the home’s furnace filter regularly; both heated air and cooled air from a central air conditioner are pushed through that filter before circulating through the home. A fresh, high-quality filter traps more dirt, dust, and allergens, improving indoor air quality overall.

Opening windows might circulate fresh air into the home, unless you live near any facility producing dust, dirt, and irritants, as said. A simple solution is to invest in window screens with small mesh; the smaller the mesh, the fewer particles that make their way into the home through open windows. With new window screens, you can keep windows open as much as possible without worrying about a home getting covered in dust, dirt, and other irritants.

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Roof vents let out plumbing gasses, fumes from a furnace, and other pollutants. Those vents sometimes get blocked by storm debris, bird nests, and fallen branches. Ensure those vents are unobstructed and in good condition throughout the year, so those unhealthy particles and residues make their way out of the home regularly.

Note, too, that furniture upholstery and carpet fibers both trap and lock dust, dirt, and airborne particles. Every time you sit on that furniture or walk over the carpet, those particles become airborne and make their way through the home! Invest in regular carpet shampooing, upholstery cleaning, and outdoor power washing, to remove as much dust and dirt as possible.

Investing in a high-quality vacuum cleaner with a strong HEPA filter is also an excellent way of trapping and locking dirt and dust. Homeowners often don’t realize that vacuums don’t simply “suck up” dirt from the carpeting; to create a vacuum effect, they have a small vent that pushes air out of the canister. This vent is covered by a filter of some sort; a strong HEPA filter means less dust and airborne debris making its way out of that vent and back onto a home’s carpet!

Related Questions

How often should you change the filter of a HEPA whole house air filtration system?

Every air filtering system is different when it comes to filter quality and lifespan, and you will need to change that filter more often if your home is especially dust, if you have pets or a smoker in the house, and the like. Note the manufacturer’s suggested schedule when purchasing a HEPA system so you know how often you’ll need to change the filter in your new air filter.

Does an air filter eliminate bad odors?

A whole house air filtration system might eliminate odors caused by smoking, dust, and other irritants. Ultraviolet filters kill mold and its accompanying smell. However, if there is mold or mildew under the home’s carpet or behind its walls, stagnant water in the basement, or other issues causing bad odors in the home, these need to be addressed separately as an air filter is not likely to eliminate those smells.


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