Every home heating and cooling system features a filter. If your home uses forced air heating, then it's likely that a single filter is shared by both your heating and cooling systems. Any HVAC system which pumps air around your house makes use of a filter to remove small particles and allergens from the air, keeping the air that you breathe relatively fresh. These filters are not all created equally, however, and the type of filter that your home uses determines how well it cleans the air. Even worse, filters which are designed to capture smaller particles also tend to restrict air flow, which can potentially cause other problems with the system.
While the filters in your furnace or air conditioner broadly qualify as whole-house filters, systems which are installed in your ductwork or standalone systems installed in the attic or basement can offer superior performance.
Why Are Dedicated Purifiers Superior to Filters?
It's important to understand that your HVAC system cannot operate with a filter, and even with a purifier you will still have a regular filter that will require routine changing. Dedicated purification systems are an alternative to installing more restrictive particulate filters into your HVAC system. These more restrictive filters can limit airflow and place additional strain on your AC system. Additionally, air only runs through your HVAC ducts while your heating or cooling system is operational. This means that no filtering is happening, while the system is off.
Options for Whole-Home Purifiers
There are a variety of full house air purifier types are available. The two styles most commonly recommended by professionals are duct-based and standalone units.
As the name implies, duct-based systems install within your existing ductwork. Depending on the particular style of system that you are installing, these are either placed in return vents or near the actual supply vents. Return vent systems have the advantage of protecting your actual HVAC system, by filtering the return air before it can reach the furnace or AC unit. This can help to extend the life of your main HVAC filter and even allow you to install a less restrictive filter, which can improve airflow and system longevity.
Standalone units are installed in your utility area, usually near your existing AC equipment. These units can work with your existing HVAC system or they can even be installed with their own ductwork. Obviously, installed new ductwork purely for an air purifier is an expensive option and not one that many homeowners opt for. Instead, these systems are usually installed on the return plenum near the indoor AC unit.
Installing a New Purifier
If you've decided that it's time to install a new, whole-home purifier, keep in mind that this is a fairly extensive job that many require rerouting some ductwork near your indoor AC unit or furnace. While this is a job that can be done by a dedicate do-it-yourselfer, hiring a professional in air purifier installation services is often the best option, to avoid unforeseen complications.