Air Filtration or Cleaning? What’s the Difference?

Air Filtration or Cleaning? What's the Difference?The terms air filtration and air cleaning are often used interchangeably by people not in the know, but they aren’t quite the same thing. Whether you’re bothered by the Indianapolis area’s high pollen levels or just concerned about your air quality, understanding how filtration and cleaning differ will help you choose the right air quality equipment.

Air Filtration: Fighting Pollen, Mold, and Pet Hair

Air filters use a medium, such as fiberglass, cotton or polyester material, to physically trap particles in the air that passes through them. They’re good for removing larger contaminant particles such as dust, pollen, mold spores, pet hair, textile fibers, and household sprays.

HVAC filters are labeled with a MERV number that gives you an idea of how well they do their job. A higher MERV means greater efficiency. Filters with a MERV of 5 to 8 remove enough particles to provide good air quality for anyone without respiratory problems. If you have allergies, however, choose a filter with a MERV of 10 to 12, which will trap more of the particles that trigger your symptoms.

Air Cleaning: Removing Contaminants Filters Can’t Catch

Air cleaners use different means of trapping or neutralizing air pollutants, which allows them to control pollutants filters can’t. Electronic air cleaners use an electrostatic precipitator to impart contaminant particles that enter them with an electric charge which causes them to stick to a metal panel with the opposite charge inside the filter. These air cleaners trap the tiny particles that fly right through most air filters.

UV air purifiers target biological contaminants such as bacteria, viruses. and mold spores by shining UV light into the ductwork. The light breaks down the contaminants’ DNA so they can no longer cause infections or reproduce. Activated carbon air purifiers are designed to reduce the odors and harmful volatile organic compounds (VOCs) in your air by absorbing them in a carbon filter.

If you’re in the market for an air filtration or cleaning system, contact us at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the Indianapolis area.

Our goal is to help educate our customers in Brownsburg, Indiana and surrounding areas about energy and home comfort issues (specific to HVAC systems). 

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