Whole Home Air Purifiers: The Whole Package To A Cleaner Home

Kenneth Wilson

No matter how hard we wash, scrub, and dust, our houses stay far from spotless. Even the cleanest residents face an unforeseen threat to their hygiene: air pollutants. These contaminants muck up our environments – and our lungs – until thwarted by purifiers.

Whole home air purifiers eradicate invisible dangers lurking in our homes by improving the air quality of our residences. With their help, our houses stay free of mildew, bacteria, and viruses that would otherwise pose problems. These machines are not luxuries, but priorities that ought to be purchased immediately.

Not yet convinced as to your need for an air purifier? Then allow us to educate you on the advantages to owning one – and the risk of forsaking them.

What are Whole Home Air Purifiers?

Unbeknownst to us, intangible contaminants invade our houses every single day. Want to keep your house clean as can be? Then protect it with an air purifier. Purifiers rid the air around us of pollutants that deteriorate the quality of our oxygen. Without these safeguards, our lungs and noses have no defense against airborne hazards.

If we want to prevent pollutants from infiltrating our systems and causing irritation, we need to trust in air purifiers. But which type of purifier do we place our hope in? Air purifiers come in two forms: room air purifiers and whole home air purifiers.

Room air purifiers only alter the air condition in one, specific space. While their efforts are more concentrated, you’ll need a fleet of them to fortify an entire estate.

On the other hand, whole home air purifiers filter out indoor air pollution from every room in the house. One lone device handles the house-wide purging process. Convenience and cleanliness come packaged in a single mechanism.

If you have yet to suffer the symptoms of air pollution, you may not understand the need for purification. Rest assured – purifiers are a priority in any home.

Why do you need a Whole Home Air Purifier?

It’s difficult to determine the quality of our air, given its invisibility. But the lack of smoke or an absence of asthma doesn’t mean you’re out of danger.

According to the Environmental Protection Agency, indoor air is two to five times more polluted than its outdoor counterpart. If our exterior environment held healthy air, this comparison would mean nothing. Unfortunately, the consistent usage of fossil fuels leaves the outdoors an atmospheric catastrophe – and yet, our homes suffer worse.

The most obvious solution to this threat would be to spend less time indoors. While admirable, Americans spend at least 90% of their time indoors by necessity, not choice. Between working, sleeping, cleaning, and cooking, our lives are intrinsically tied to the indoors. Which means we cannot circumvent this issue. We need to confront the matter head-on. Incorporating air purifiers into our homes can transform our living spaces into safe havens instead of hazard zones.

While helpful to people in perfect health, air purifiers are essential to those with breathing-related issues. From allergies to asthma, contaminated air can exacerbate symptoms to unmanageable degrees.

With all this talk of contamination, you may be wondering just what is drifting through your house. While any number of pollutants can inhabit your home, common contaminants include: pollen, viruses, bacteria, dust mites, pet dander and mold spores.

The danger lying just under our noses cannot be overlooked. Air purifiers may not be a common sight in homes yet, but they should become a standard in yours immediately.

Four Signs you need an Air Purifier

With all these unseen hazards to our health, the invisible threat has never been more apparent. But there are four surefire reasons to purchase a purifier as soon as possible.

  1. 1
    Dust in the Air. While dust accumulates in every household over time, it should not often take flight. If you find dust particles floating about your head on a daily basis, consider your air quality compromised. Change is now necessary. The solution? Contact an HVAC technician and ask them to install air filters immediately. Any available filters should naturally eradicate the dust soon enough.
  2. 2
    Smell in the Air. While air itself has no distinct scent, it absorbs and transfers smells from the surrounding environment. One aroma that should alarm you is the damp, earthy fragrance of mildew. Poor air quality can allow molds and fungi to manifest in your homes. If you cannot discern the source of their smells, contact an HVAC professional immediately to identify their origin. Once the bacteria has been dealt with, install filters to prevent this travesty from repeating itself in the future. 
  3. 3
    Staleness to the Air. While mold can make the air smell damp, that’s not the only sensation that should stop you in your tracks. If the air feels stuffy, its quality has suffered. While not necessarily a threat to one’s health, stale air is an inconvenience nonetheless. Filters can keep your air fresh by ushering out the old and welcoming in the new.
  4. 4
    Frequent or Volatile Allergic Reactions. The lower your air quality, the higher your chance of heightening your health issues. Not only will the frequency of attacks increase, but the intensity of each will worsen too. If you or a housemate find yourselves suffering from amplified allergies, consider replacing or installing air filters. Until installation is completed, consider staying elsewhere to avoid further damage to your health. Even if you recognize the need to install these machines, that does not mean you know how to. Nor does it explain why they work their wonders. Understanding the purifiers’ process can give you peace about the imminent safety of your home.

How do Whole Home Air Purifiers Work?

Good news: you don’t need a degree in engineering to understand the basics of how air purifiers function. In fact, the general process is extremely simple to follow.

Whole home air purifiers are integrated directly into your heating and cooling systems. This helps them to work in tandem with the machines you’re already accustomed to utilizing.

When the heating and cooling systems are activated, they channel hot or cold air into the purifier. The purifier acts as a filter that removes allergens, fumes and particles before they enter your airspace. (Related: Indoor Air Purifiers: Life-enhancing Or Bogus?)

Whole Home Air Purifiers vs. Room Air Purifiers: Which is Better?

With our newfound understanding of purifiers, one truth is abundantly clear: purifiers are a priority. The next step is to procure one for our homes.

However, that begs an important question: which model do we buy? If you’re stuck between single room purifiers and whole home purifiers, allow us to compare the qualities of both.

Benefits of Whole Home Air Purifiers

  • Whole home air purifiers cover more ground than their single room counterparts. Room air purifiers only affect the immediate space surrounding them. Whole home air purifiers affect everything attached to the HVAC system.While the installation of whole home air purifiers costs more in the moment, this is a one-time expense. Room air purifiers seem better for your budget – until you consider the cost of one for every room you own.
  • Purifier filters reduce the dust that wears down HVAC machines over time. Purchasing a whole home air purifier could simultaneously extend the lifespan of your heating and cooling units too.
  • Requires little to no maintenance because these purifiers are programmed through your thermostat. Set it once and forget about it forever thereafter. No technical expertise and consistent reminders required!
  • Whole home air purifiers produce little to no sound. Speaking of forgetting, you might not remember you’ve installed them at all.

However, beneficial as they may be, whole home air purifiers are not without their imperfections.

Drawbacks of Whole Home Air Purifiers

  • Requires professional installation. Calling a technician rarely proves to be a cheap procedure. Budget for the impending labor costs when deciding whether to install a whole home air purifier or not.
  • Certain electrical models can release dangerous by-products, like ozone, into the environment. For those wishing to conserve the environment, it’s best to at least seek out other units.

Finally, there’s one weakness both types of purifiers share. No one can measure the exact effectiveness of air purifiers. The symptoms one suffers by air pollution’s hand are shared with any number of other culprits. Not to mention, it’s impossible to extract other factors from one’s environment in order to properly test a purifier’s effect.

Even without concrete studies to prove its purpose, the science still stands true. Filters will affect air quality – the only question is how much. Any chance at filtrating out harmful pollutants is worth the hit to your wallet. No matter what, it can’t hurt anything but your bank account.

We can safely assert that whole home air purifiers provide a better holistic improvement to our homes. However, there’s more than one potential whole home air purifier on the market. How do we decide between the different models?

Which Whole Home Air Purifier is the Best?

Every person on our planet will have their own preferences and opinions to share on brands. We’re not here to tell you what to buy or where. We’re here to share two standards of measuring one model against another:

  1. 1
    Clean air delivery rate. The CADR determines how many pollutants the filter protects from and how many it lets slip through. The EPA measures the amount of contaminant-free air delivered in cubic feet per minute to determine its effectiveness. According to the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers, this factor alone can outweigh any other. If one filter siphons more contaminants than another, the investment is worthwhile.
  2. 2
    MERV: the minimum efficiency reporting value, created by The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning. This determines the size of each particle that particular model can capture.

Now that we know how to measure them, why don’t we put those skills to the test? Let’s look at the four types of available whole home air purifiers.

Types of Whole Home Air Purifiers

Flat Filters

These purifiers, crafted from matted-fiberglass, work in conjunction with forced-air furnaces. Unfortunately, their lifespan is abysmal, needing replacement once per month.

These filters do a decent job of withholding dust. Other microscopic particles, however, can slip through the cracks and irritate lung tissue.

If you’re dead-set on flat filters, consider utilizing pleated filters. These function the same way, but allow more fiberglass to be packed in the same amount of space. Pleated filters typically last two to three times as long as basic, flat filters. Costing an average of $15 more, there’s little reason not to splurge.

If there’s one massive benefit to flat filters over the others, it’s that these can be self-installed. While professionals can be called in to do the work instead, those on a budget can manage these with little risk.

Extended Media Filters

These filters resemble boxes, each of them approximately eight inches thick. This additional padding prevents thinner particles from penetrating their defenses. Otherwise, they function almost identically to their flat filter variants.

The bad news? They require professional installation. Not to mention, they can cost anywhere from $400-$600 upon installation and a tenth of that for annual replacements.

Electronic Filters

These whole home air purifiers have another name: electrostatic precipitators. Electronic models are incorporated directly into the duct work. That way, you will never need to see them after installation ends.

These filters release a high-voltage electric current that charges the incoming particles. These charged particles are then attracted to the other end of the unit. The other end acts like a magnet, imprisoning and disposing of these paralyzed particles.

Compared to the prior two models, electronic filters work especially well at dissipating smoke. In homes of smokers, present or prior, these can make a world of difference. But their value doesn’t stop at smoke. Electronic filters are estimated to work thirty times better than their fiberglass counterparts.

Even better? They never need replacing. You will, however, need to clean them with soapy water every few months to ensure their stability.

The only downside comes with their cost. These can run customers anywhere from $600 to $1,000 for installation alone. Be certain you have a 120-volt electrical outlet nearby to spare! They’ll need it.

Ultraviolet Filters

While not a model of their own, ultraviolet filters are an important portion of electrostatic precipitators. These add-ons eliminate bacteria and viruses in the air that other filters cannot catch.

The catch? They’re an extra $400 to $800 more to purchase. Consider the cost before taking the plunge.

Are Whole Home Air Purifiers Worth It?

At the end of the day, only you can answer this question with certainty. The lack of testing cannot verify their effectiveness and the price could prove contentious.

However, they could change more than the quality of your air – they could change the quality of your life. Whole home air purifiers could purge your house of pollutants that have overstayed their welcome. They could leave your lungs able to breathe without inhibition, maybe for the first time. Don’t you deserve a hygienic home?

Kenneth Wilson
September 3, 2021

Kenneth Wilson

Retired contractor. Currently residing in Southwest Florida. Now in semi-retirement, I write and manage this blog focused on helping home owners make savvy decisions when it comes to finding contractors and getting their projects done. I also operate remodeling design service for homeowners.

Ask The Author Your Questions In The Comments!

{"email":"Email address invalid","url":"Website address invalid","required":"Required field missing"}

More From This Author