Air Filter, Air Purifier, or Air Cleaner?
There’s a lot of confusion about what these terms mean because in general these are all designed to clean impurities from the air inside your home.
Air filters are cartridges designed to physically trap pollen and other particles like hair, dust and dust mites. They are made of foam or some sort of mesh so air can flow through, and can be a small cartridge or a large filtration unit that’s designed to attach to your furnace. Some filter cartridges use activated charcoal or other absorbent materials to remove gasses from the air you breathe.
Air cleaners and purifiers are different words for the same thing. An air cleaner is an electrostatic or electronic appliance designed to remove all kinds of particles and pollutants, sometimes including gasses. They can also contain one or more air filters.
Types of Air Filters and Air Cleaners We Carry
Most people are familiar with the 1-inch furnace filter that you can buy at a hardware store. While these are better than nothing, they are more designed to protect your furnace from debris than to improve your air quality.
4-Inch Pleated Filters
With more surface area, a 4-inch pleated filter can trap a lot more dust and particles that a basic 1-inch cartridge. They are designed not to starve your furnace for airflow, so in order to trap more particles they need to be larger.
Electrostatic Air Cleaners
These filters are charged with static electricity so they create a charge around any particles that pass through them. The particle is then attracted to the filter’s membrane and becomes trapped. The filters do not require electricity, but the charge does wear out eventually.
Electronic Air Cleaners
Even better are electronic air cleaners, which provide more air scrubbing while still permitting maximum airflow. While they do need to be wired into your home’s electrical system, the amount of power they use is negligible (about the same as an incandescent light bulb: 50 watts to 200 watts per hour).
If you’ve got severe allergies or asthma, this may be the best option for you. HEPA (high efficienct particulate air filters) contain multiple filters to remove dust, pollen, and microbes from your air. There are different grades of HEPA filter, but most contain multiple filter cartridges that require changing. While more expensive, this is the maximum amount of air scrubbing power you can get.
All HEPA filters need to be able to trap 99.97% of all particles measuring down to 0.3 microns (a micron is 1/25,000 of an inch). Some HEPA filters contain germicidal properties. HEPA filters on their own do not trap gasses like VOCs (volatile organic compounds) but can be combined with a unit that does.
UV Air Purifiers
These air purifiers don’t trap particles, but they use ultraviolet rays to kill microorganisms like viruses, bacteria and mould. When used with a HEPA filter, you get the cleanest air possible.
Finding the Right Filtration Unit for Your Needs
Filters and cleaners come in different sizes designed to handle different home sizes (measured in square feet). Air cleaners also have different power levels, measured in ACH, or air changes per hour.
Different air cleaners and filters can be combined to target the specific issue in your home. Someone who wants to remove cooking odours or tobacco smoke from a home will have different needs from someone who wants to cut down on mould spores or bacteria. Someone who has a dust mite allergy will have different needs again.
The experts at Knight would be happy to match your needs with the right equipment. Feel free to start the conversation by requesting a free quote. There is no obligation to buy unless you are convinced we’ve found the right answer for you.Book a Call