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What Are the Best Types of Indoor Air Purifiers?

What Are the Best Types of Indoor Air Purifiers?

Local air quality updates generally don’t pertain to the air you breathe indoors (unless they cover pollen or wildfire smoke). Nonetheless, pollutants are often more concentrated in your home than outside. Air purifiers defend against dust, particles, chemicals, and many other contaminants. We’ll discuss some types that can improve your indoor air quality (IAQ).

Air purifiers come in various forms. Some are small, stand-alone units you can place anywhere you want. Others integrate into your HVAC system. Common types of air purification systems include:

HEPA Air Purifiers

High-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filtration systems can capture microscopic particles. A fan draws polluted air in toward a fiberglass filter. This filter has entangled fibers that particles can stick to or become embedded. 

However, some particles interfere with others in a process known as diffusion, allowing the system to capture particles smaller than 0.1 µm. Therefore, pollen, dust mites, and bacteria can be filtered. The filter must remove 99.97% of particles 0.3 µm in size to meet HEPA requirements.¹

Ultraviolet (UV) Air Purifiers

Just as UV light can damage your skin, it also harms microbes. A UV purifier pulls in air and then passes by a UV lamp that emits UV-C light, breaking the chemical bonds between DNA molecules in viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Ultraviolet germicidal irradiation neutralizes these airborne microorganisms.

Activated Carbon Air Purifiers

An activated carbon purifier effectively removes smoke, fumes, chemicals, various gases, and odors. It’s generally less effective at removing dust, dander, pollen, or mold. But depending on the purifier, it may also include a HEPA filter to remove airborne particles. 

Ionic Air Purifiers

An ionizer creates negatively charged ions that attract positively charged particles. It does not require a motor, so it operates quietly. Ions and particles combine and dust particles stick together to form larger, heavier particles. These settle on surfaces where they can be wiped away. 

An electrostatic precipitator is a type of ionic purifier that attracts particles to a metal plate inside it. There’s no need to wipe surfaces around the room constantly. Instead, the ionizer’s plates must be cleaned periodically.

Adsorbent Air Purifiers

Adsorbent purifiers contain a bed of porous material to trap odors and chemicals. Activated charcoal is often used. Gases are adsorbed and the air released from the unit is clean and free of these unwanted compounds.

Instead of a mechanical process, the system can attract substances in one of two ways. With physical adsorption, electrostatic forces between molecules attract polar substances to polar adsorbents and non-polar substances to non-polar adsorbents. With chemical adsorption, substances bond chemically with the adsorbent via chemisorption.

Electronic Air Purifiers

Using static electricity, an electronic air cleaner can remove most allergens from the air. It also contains a HEPA filter. If any impurities make it through, the positively charged ions generated by the device capture them. The system must be professionally installed in your HVAC system. It also requires maintenance, including replacing filters and cleaning ionizing wires or collector cells.

Air-to-Air Exchangers

Using an energy recovery ventilator, an air-to-air exchanger removes stale air from your home and brings in fresh air. In summer, the system will first cool and dehumidify this air. In winter, the system traps heat from the air it ventilates to maintain an even temperature in your home. An air-to-air exchanger can also provide humidity control, reduce the amount of mold spores in the air, and improve air circulation. 

Whole-House Air Purifier

A central air cleaner is connected to your central HVAC system. Installed in the ductwork, it is highly effective at removing mold, pollen, dust, and viruses. The system can reduce the health risks associated with common indoor air pollutants and filter particles that can shorten your AC’s or heater’s life.

Why a Whole-Home Air Purification System Is More Effective

An HVAC professional can evaluate your home to determine if you’d benefit from a whole-house air purifier. Portable units can filter only a limited amount of space and you’d need several of them to serve your entire home. They also can’t absorb odors from ductwork and, depending on the model, may release ozone. 

However, the benefits of a whole-house system include:

  • Compatibility with your existing HVAC system; no major modifications are needed.
  • Operate when your HVAC system runs, so there’s no need to turn the unit on or off.
  • Eliminate odors from within your ductwork, leaving your house smelling fresh.
  • Are highly effective at removing organic and non-organic particles.
  • Use UV light to eliminate bacteria, viruses, dust mites, and mold.

Call Waldrop for Indoor Air Purifier Installation

We provide IAQ testing and air purification solutions in Greenville and Spartanburg, SC. These include HEPA filters and whole-home air purifiers with the latest technologies. To learn more or schedule service in your home, call (864) 536-0887.


  1. https://www.epa.gov/indoor-air-quality-iaq/what-hepa-filter
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