Indianapolis winters are known for being long and cold, so for a good part of the year, we must keep our doors and windows closed for our heating systems to work efficiently. That also means that our indoor air quality (IAQ) is not the best. IAQ in homes is likely to be much worse than that of outdoor air because of the buildup of airborne pollutants over time.

An air purifier offers one way of improving your indoor air quality. But how does an air purifier help your air? It depends on what airborne pollutants you’re concerned with. Certain air purifiers treat different pollutants, so it’s best to talk to your HVAC consultant and get some advice about which air purifiers would work best for you. Here’s a brief rundown of some typical air purifiers and the kind of pollutants they treat.

  1. Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation Bulbs (UVGI). UVGI lights are installed inside your HVAC system. They focus light from the ultraviolet end of the spectrum on living pollutants such as mold, viruses, fungus, and algae, interrupting the DNA of the spores of these substances so that they can’t reproduce.
  2. Electrostatic Air Filters. These may be installed in your HVAC system or work as a stand-alone air purifier. They use static electricity to charge a wide variety of particles in the air. The particles stick to a plate or filter. Filters must be cleaned occasionally to work right.
  3. Mechanical Filtration. This is the kind of filter you change in your HVAC system. A cheap fiberglass filter won’t help much with improving air quality, so you’re better off choosing a denser, pleated filter with a MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) of 8 to 12.
  4. HEPA Filter. The dense material of High Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filters catches most airborne particulates as they pass through your HVAC system. However, typical HVAC systems have to be modified extensively to accommodate this kind of filtration. HEPA filtration can work well with a stand-alone air purifier. 

Ask your Mowery Heating, Cooling and Plumbing consultant if stand-alone or whole-house air purifiers would work best for you and your home.