Does anyone in your household suffer from indoor allergy symptoms? Maybe you don't love the idea of millions of microbes floating around in the air you breathe. Perhaps you're aware that the air inside your home is more polluted than the air outside it. 

If you're concerned about your indoor air quality, chances are you've looked into household air purification systems. Whether you've looked at standalone filters or more comprehensive whole-house air filtration, you've likely got one burning question: 

Do air purification systems actually work? Are they worth the investment?

To help you make the call, the indoor air quality experts at Dust Doctors explain what you need to know about indoor air purifiers below. 

What Is an In-Home Air Purifier? 

In-home air purification systems come in standalone units and central air purification systems. 

These systems are one of the most important steps to protecting your indoor air quality, and the standalone units can be placed in any room. 

You can run multiple units at a time, and they work great for households that do a lot of cooking or engage in activities that create particulates. They are an excellent solution until you can invest in a whole-house unit.

Whole-house purifiers are duct or filter-based, so they only work when the HVAC system is running. However, because they are integrated with your HVAC system and filter, they offer more comprehensive coverage than portable options, purifying all the air that passes through your ductwork. 

How Does Air Purification Work?

An air purification system is essentially a super-powered air filter. Both standalone and central air purifiers work by pulling air through an advanced HEPA filtration system that removes up to 99.9% of particulate matter from the air that passes through. 

Much like the filter on your HVAC return vent, the filter housed within an air purification system is designed to trap suspended particles in your household air. Standalone filters contain a fan that pulls in air, while central filters attach to your return-air ductwork and filter the air your HVAC system pulls in. But, unlike your HVAC filter, an air purification system contains a much more effective filter. 

As contaminated air passes through the filter, pollen, dander, dust, microbes, and other particles get trapped. Most advanced filtration systems contain multiple filters to trap as much particulate matter as possible. 

Many air purification systems feature multiple filters and UV technology that effectively neutralizes living microbes. Ultimately, the air that comes out of an air purifier is supposed to be far cleaner than when it entered the unit.  

Improving Indoor Air Quality: Is Air Purification Worth It?

Is maintaining healthy indoor air worth it? In a word, absolutely! While owning an air purification system inevitably presents an additional electrical expense, the tradeoff is more than worth it. If you spend considerable time indoors, you expose yourself to several potentially harmful particles, including:

  • Volatile chemicals
  • Dust mites 
  • Pollen particles 
  • Pet dander (air purification is especially useful if you have pets) 
  • Dead skin cells 
  • Mold spores
  • Fungal growths

While your HVAC filter can tackle a small percentage of those particles, it's not designed to eliminate the thousands (perhaps millions) of microscopic particles currently floating around your home.

In a nutshell, when it comes to your health, if you put good in, you'll get good out. Just as eating a healthy, balanced diet helps ensure vitality and longevity, breathing clean, pure air helps ensure optimal health, too!

Air Purification Systems: Which Type Is Best for Your Home?

Getting an air purification system is a great place to start if you want fresher, healthier air at home. Which type of air purifier is right for your home? 

Learn about the different types of air purification systems, how they work, and which households they're best suited to. 

Mechanical Filter Air Purifiers

Ever heard of HEPA filters? Air purifiers that rely on these pleated filters are proven to trap 99.97% of airborne particles that pass through the filter and are at least 0.3 microns in diameter. 

How big is 0.3 microns? About 200 times smaller than the diameter of a single human hair. 

Who should get this type of air purifier? HEPA filters don't help improve odors or trap gases, so they're best for people only concerned about removing particulate matter from indoor air. 

Check out how duct cleaning can help eliminate household odors

Activated Carbon Air Purifiers

Air purifiers with activated carbon filters can neutralize odor-causing airborne molecules and some gases, but they don't trap airborne particles. 

As such, not many air purification devices contain activated carbon only. Rather, most units that feature carbon filters also have a pleated filter designed to capture particulate matter. 

Who is this type of air purifier best for? People who want to freshen up their indoor air while tackling airborne dust and allergens. Look for HEPA filtration if you want the best defense against airborne microbes, too. 

Ultraviolet Air Purifiers

Air purification devices that feature UV lamps are designed to kill airborne viruses, bacteria, and fungal spores using ultraviolet radiation. 

UV-only air purifiers are small devices that can fit just about anywhere inside a home. While they're great for destroying pathogens, they can't trap any particulate matter. That's why many air purifiers with UV lamps also feature HEPA and/or carbon filters to improve indoor air quality further. 

Who should get this type of air purifier? Anyone concerned about airborne pathogens. If you want to clean up your indoor air, opt for a unit with a HEPA filter, too. 

Ionic Air Purifiers

These air purifiers are remarkably quiet devices that distribute negative ions into the air. When those ions interact with positively charged airborne particles (like dust, dander, and pollen), they bond to them, making them dense and heavy enough to sink to the floor. 

Some models also trap airborne particles to a metal plate in their interior via an electrostatic precipitator. These units can trap almost anything, including dust, debris, pathogens, and odors. 

Who should get this device? Ionic purifiers are most commonly portable units that must be situated throughout the home, so they can be a good choice for anyone who wants to improve their indoor quality and doesn’t mind getting multiple units. 

Whole-House Air Purification Systems 

Whole-house air purification devices are integrated into the HVAC system and clean all of the air that passes through the ductwork's air supply path. These devices typically feature some combination of HEPA filters, ionization, UV lamps, and carbon filters, so they're an excellent solution for cleaning up any home's air. 

Who should get this type of air purifier? Anyone who'd seriously like to improve their indoor air quality and keep it that way. But you'll need a substantial air purifier budget, as these units can run you several thousand dollars. 

The Burning Question: Does an Air Purification System Actually Improve Indoor Air Quality?

The short answer is yes. Air purification systems filter out a great deal of the potentially harmful airborne particulate matter inside your house. 

However, it's important to acknowledge that many of those tiny particles floating around in your air can settle on surfaces throughout your home. Air purification systems are only designed to filter airborne particles – they cannot eliminate dust, pollen, dander, microbes, and other debris from the surfaces in your home. 

It's also important to note that while standalone systems effectively clean the air within their immediate area, they're not typically designed to handle large areas. If you opt for the standalone version, you may need to place multiple units in various locations throughout your home, depending on the size of your house. 

Since central air purification integrates with your HVAC system, it's designed to provide comprehensive air filtration and sanitization for your entire home. 

If you're serious about improving your indoor air quality, we highly recommend scheduling routine duct cleaning in addition to installing an air purification system. 

Improve Your Indoor Air Quality With Dust Doctors

Does your home smell musty? Does it feel stuffy? Do you tend to deal with a lot of dust? Does anyone in your household suffer from indoor allergy symptoms? If any of these situations sound familiar, it's time to start thinking about improving indoor air quality. 

Get in touch with our team at Dust Doctors to discuss your options! We specialize in a wide variety of services designed to help Twin Cities residents clean up their indoor air and have proudly served Little Canada, Minnesota, and the surrounding areas for more than a decade.

To learn more about how we can help you improve your indoor air quality, give us a call today at 651-319-9777 or request a quote online, and we'll reach out with more information. 

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