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Air Filter vs. Air Cleaner

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What’s the Difference and Which is Right for You?

If you’re not very familiar with indoor air quality, you might be wondering, “What’s the purpose of an air cleaner if my heating and cooling system already uses an air filter?” After all, isn’t a filter supposed to “filter” out all of the contaminants in your home’s air?

The truth is a bit more complicated, and a standard air filter is likely not sufficient if you’re concerned about the health of your indoor environment when homes are sealed tight. Today we’re going to talk about the difference between an air filter vs. an air cleaner and how to choose which one is right for your home!

The Purpose of an Air Filter

The primary purpose of a standard air filter is to protect your furnace and air conditioner from dirt, dust and debris. Your filter traps particles from your home’s return air before the air is sent to your heating and cooling system, and it prevents major performance, efficiency and safety issues that can be caused by dirt buildup on your system’s components.

A standard air filter is only designed to trap the large particles from your home’s air that are problematic for your heating and cooling system. A majority of the particles in your air that affect your health are too small to be removed by an air filter. Although some air filters come with higher MERV ratings that allow them to trap certain smaller particles, they almost always come at a cost because the denser material that they are made of restricts your system’s airflow and increases its energy consumption.

The Purpose of an Air Cleaner

The purpose of an air cleaner is to protect your furnace, air conditioner and your health from a wide range of indoor contaminants. This means that air cleaners are not only effective at keeping your heating and cooling system running smoothly, but also at making your home’s air safer to breathe.

Air cleaners use advanced technologies that allow them to remove up to 99% of the particles from your home’s air. This includes the large particles that affect your heating and cooling system as well as the microscopic particles that are the most hazardous to our health. The tiny, unhealthy particles that an air cleaner are able to remove would flow right through a standard filter.

Best of all, the technologies that air cleaners employ allow them to remove particles of all sizes without affecting your system’s airflow.

Air Cleaner Installation near Indio CA

Are you interested in improving the quality of your home’s air? Upgrading to a more efficient filter is one option, but standard filters will only get you so far, even if they have high MERV ratings. The best option for making your home’s air healthier is to install an air cleaner, which can remove up to 99 percent of the contaminants in your home’s air. You might be wondering whether or not your home could benefit from a whole house air cleaner, so today we’re going to talk about 5 signs that suggest you should consider installing one in your home!

Top 5 Reasons Your Should Consider Installing an Air Cleaner in Your Home

  1. It will alleviate allergy symptoms. One group of people who benefit greatly from whole house air cleaners are those who suffer from allergies. This is especially true around this time of year when seasonal allergies are common. Allergy symptoms like sneezing, coughing and itchy eyes are the result of contaminants like pollen and ragweed getting into your home’s air. An air cleaner will remove nearly every trace of these contaminants from your home’s air, which will greatly reduce allergy symptoms on a daily basis.
  2. It will alleviate asthma symptoms. If anyone in your family suffers from asthma, the severity of their symptoms will be directly linked to the quality of your home’s air. That’s because common airborne contaminants like dust mites, pet dander and chemicals from cleaning and hygiene products are all known to trigger asthma attacks. A whole house air cleaner will remove those contaminants and make it much easier to breathe for anyone in your home who has asthma.
  3. It will eliminate bad odors in your home. Does your home have strange smells that you can’t seem to get rid of? Or does it seem like odors linger around much longer than they should? There are a number of common airborne contaminants that can alter the smell of your home’s air, including chemicals from household products and biological contaminants like bacteria and mildew. An air clearer can eliminate bad odors in your home by removing those contaminants and leaving your air smelling fresh and clean.
  4. It will provide maximum protection for your HVAC system. Does dirt tend to accumulate on your home’s supply and return registers, even if you change your air filter on a regular basis? This is a sign that your air filter is not doing its job properly. And if dirt is building up on your air registers, you can be sure that it’s building up on your furnace and air conditioner as well. An air cleaner does an excellent job at removing dirt and dust from your home’s air, which provides the best-possible protection for your heating and cooling system from dirt buildup.
  5. It will protect your long-term health. There is a category of airborne contaminants called volatile organic compounds (VOC’s) that can be a health risk after long-term exposure. The average home has 2-5 times higher levels of VOC’s than the levels that are found outdoors. Studies have linked long-term exposure to VOC’s with an increased risk of health problems like cancer and damage to the liver, kidneys and central nervous system. If you’re concerned about VOC’s in your home’s air, installing an air cleaner will make you rest easy because it will remove nearly all of those compounds and make your indoor environment much healthier.

Air Filter vs. Air Cleaner: Which One is Right for You?

If indoor air quality is at all a concern for you, especially if anyone in your home suffers from asthma or allergies, it’s best to install an air cleaner with your heating and cooling system. This will guarantee that your home’s air is perfectly safe to breathe, and it will also do a great job at protecting your heating and cooling system.

If you are only concerned about protecting your heating and cooling system from dirt buildup and you’re not concerned about improving your home’s air quality, a standard air filter will do the job (as long as you remember to change it when it’s clogged).

If you have any questions about the difference between an air filter and an air cleaner, or if you’d like a heating and cooling system serviced or installed in your home, contact Hydes, your Coachella Valley air conditioning contractor.

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