Air Filtration vs. Air Cleaning: Understand the DifferenceTwo approaches — air filtration and air cleaning — both improve indoor air quality. It probably comes as no surprise that the best of both worlds is a combination approach. Air quality is degraded by airborne particulates like dust, dirt, lint, pet dander, and so forth. Most of this is stuff you can actually see floating in a shaft of sunlight and is known to cause irritation and hay fever-type symptoms in sensitive persons — not to mention housekeeping issues. However, another factor impacting air quality are the microorganisms you can’t see. These are living pathogens like toxic mold spores and bacteria that can cause severe allergic reactions as well as illness and infection.

Here’s how each method stacks up:

Air Filtration

Your HVAC system already has it. The system air filter in most residential systems captures airborne particulates depending on the efficiency of the installed filter and how often it’s changed. Bargain-priced “throwaway” fiberglass panel filters are no bargain as they don’t capture anything smaller than the visible particles of dust and dirt. For better air filtration efficiency, install pleated cotton or polyester filters with a MERV (minimum efficiency reporting value) rating of around 8 to capture microscopic airborne contaminants down to 3 microns. Change that filter every month.

Air Cleaning

A whole-house air cleaner installed inside your ductwork combines high-efficiency mechanical filtration to capture minute airborne particulates with a disinfection process that also destroys toxic microorganisms. Simply capturing living pathogens in a filter is not effective air quality protection. In many cases, captured microorganisms continue to replicate inside the filter media, releasing spores into the downstream airflow that’s dispersed throughout your living spaces. Whole-house air cleaning incorporates ultraviolet light tubes that continuously expose the system airflow to wavelengths of UV light. Ultraviolet light has proven germicidal properties and neutralizes pathogens, disinfecting the entire household air volume as it circulates through the ductwork multiple times daily.

For more information about improving indoor air quality with air filtration and air cleaning, contact the professionals at Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing in the Brownsburg and 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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