Poor Indoor Air Quality? Electronic Air Cleaners Can Change That

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December 20, 2012

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Poor Indoor Air Quality? Electronic Air Cleaners Can Change ThatAirborne debris in your Indiana home can worsen allergies and asthma, cause odors, and allow mold and mildew to spread. While standard fiberglass HVAC filters protect your system from dirt, they don't do much to clean the air. To improve your indoor air quality by removing fine dust, pollen and smoke particles, an electronic air cleaner is one of your best options.

Electronic air cleaners that contain electrostatic precipitators use static electricity to trap debris particles. Incoming air first passes through a pre-filter that removes larger particles. The air then passes into an ionization zone that gives particles an electric charge. The charged particles are attracted to and trapped on a series of oppositely charged metal collector plates. A less common electronic air cleaner, the charged-media type, collects particles in a filter instead of metal plates.

Electronic air cleaners come in two basic forms:

  • Portable (room) air cleaners – These moveable appliances require no installation, but they're effective only for small areas. The clean air delivery rate (CADR) indicates a portable unit's effectiveness. Each unit carries a CADR for dust, pollen and tobacco smoke, respectively. To remove tobacco smoke from your home's air, choose an air cleaner with a tobacco smoke CADR at least two-thirds of your room's area in square feet. If you decide to purchase a portable air cleaner, choose a model that carries the Energy Star label. These use 40 percent less energy than standard models.
  • Whole-house air cleaners – This type of air cleaner fits into your HVAC system and cleans the air throughout your home. They can be installed in either the supply side or return side of your system. No standard measurement is available for the effectiveness of this type of air cleaner.

Keep in mind that while electronic air cleaners remove small particles, they aren't as effective for large particles, so you'll still need an efficient mechanical filter in your HVAC system.

For more expert guidance on improving your home's indoor air quality, get in touch with us at Hartman Brothers Heating & Air Conditioning. We've been providing reliable HVAC services in the Fort Wayne area since 1963.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in New Haven, Indiana and surrounding Fort Wayne area about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems).  For more information about electronic air cleaners and other HVAC topics, download our free Home Comfort Resource guide.

Image courtesy of Shutterstock

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