One large part of ensuring the health and habitability of your San Antonio, TX home is protecting your indoor air quality (IAQ). Although your HVAC air filter offers a helping hand, it can’t extract all allergens, contaminants, and pathogens. In fact, many of the most common and significant pollutants — including volatile organic compounds (VOCs), dust mites, and airborne bacteria, fungi, and viruses — pass right through it. The good news is that you can maintain consistently clean indoor air by installing a whole-home air purifier. Read on to find out what whole-house air purifiers are, how they work, and why you might need one.

What Are Whole-House Air Purifiers?

Whole-house air purifiers are integrated HVAC accessories. These units are installed in HVAC ducting or attached directly to it. When heaters and air conditioners are on, conditioned air passes through integrated air purifiers just before distribution. These units extract the micro-fine particulates that HVAC air filters don’t capture and retain.

The Basic Anatomy of a Whole-House Air Purifier

Whole-house air purification equipment takes a multi-pronged approach to improving IAQ. Often referred to as air cleaners, air purifiers have thick, dense filters with ultra-fine mesh. Some have electronic filters that use high-voltage currents to charge particulate matter. Ionized atoms are then collected at nearby magnetic recovery plates.

Other air purifiers leverage UV light technology that eradicates dangerous pathogens and deactivates VOCs like benzene, n-butane, formaldehyde, and ethylene glycol. With advanced, many-layer filtration and ionizing capabilities, these units capture far more debris than standard HVAC filters do, even as they address gaseous chemical contaminants, unpleasant odors, mold, and more.

What an Air Purifier Can Do That Your Air Filter Cannot

While even standard air filters provide an important range of IAQ benefits, air filters aren’t meant to protect human health. HVAC equipment manufacturers include these components to extend the lifespans of their products. Air filters keep dust, lint, hair, and other large debris from settling in furnace intake valves, on AC evaporator coils, and on other interior components. In so doing, filters limit system stress and prevent problems like icing and overheating.

To compare, whole-house air purifiers are designed specifically with humans in mind. Their ability to extract VOCs and other gaseous chemicals minimizes the risk of symptoms like:

  • Eye, ear, nose, and throat irritation
  • Recurring headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Fatigue

You might have high concentrations of gaseous chemicals in your home if you recently repainted, just finished a major remodeling project, or regularly use chemical-laden surface cleaners, room freshening sprays, or plug-in air fresheners. From off-gassing building materials to fuel-combusting appliances, many things constantly introduce VOCs into living spaces. Even simply cooking indoors and lighting candles for ambience add VOCs to the air.

Effective Support for People With Chronic Respiratory Ailments

Air purifiers also provide far better support for residents who suffer from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), allergies, asthma, and other respiratory ailments. They eliminate more of the airborne triggers that worsen these illnesses and cause symptoms and attacks.

Odor Control

Air purifiers offer excellent odor control. These HVAC accessories can eliminate smoke odors, cooking odors, and rank, musty smells resulting from poor ventilation or moisture issues.

Improved HVAC Performance

Although standard air filters do a pretty good job of keeping the interior of HVAC equipment clean, they don’t catch everything. While air purifiers clean air after it’s already passed through HVAC air filters and just before distribution, they create cleaner building interiors overall. With each cycle, your air purifier will decrease the amount of hair, dust, germs, and other contaminants that are being drawn into your heater or air conditioner during operation.

Enjoy Easier Cleaning

You’ll enjoy fewer household chores after installing an air purifier. Homes with high levels of airborne particulate matter and frequently overwhelmed HVAC air filters become far less dusty with these accessories. You’ll have less mopping, sweeping, vacuuming, and dusting to do, and a more pleasant living environment overall.

Do You Need an Air Purifier?

In general, you need to check your air filters monthly and change them every 30 to 90 days. If your HVAC air filter is overwhelmed with debris after just two to three weeks of use, your home needs extra IAQ support. You should also consider getting a whole-home air purifier if household members frequently share communicable illnesses or exhibit the symptoms of prolonged and excessive VOC exposure. However, the best way to determine whether a whole-home air purifier is right for you is by scheduling an IAQ assessment.

We help residents of San Antonio, TX live comfortably and breathe easy. We offer outstanding heating, air conditioning, and indoor air quality services. To find out about our HVAC preventive maintenance plans or schedule an IAQ assessment, get in touch with MD Air Conditioning & Heating today!

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