Introduction to Indoor Air Purification
Energy-efficient doors and windows are extremely effective when it comes to keeping pollutants out of your house.
However, they also tend to keep in a lot of bad stuff as well, to the point where indoor air can be as many as 2-5 times more polluted than the air outside.
Fumes from building materials and cleaning products smoke from cooking, wood burning, and tobacco, mold spores, pet dander, dust mites, and various volatile organic compounds are all common household pollutants that can negatively impact your long-term health.
The best way to solve this problem is by regularly airing your place and investing in a high-quality HVAC system that properly filters and distributes the air in your home.
For more information on where to get first-rate heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems, reach out to skilled HVAC professionals.
How do HVAC systems keep my indoor air clean?
HVAC systems are equipped with filters that are designed to trap particles, pathogens, fungal spores, and other unhealthy substances.
These filters need to be replaced on a regular basis (usually every 1-3 months) or cleaned if they’re reusable.
Depending on the specific type of heating system you have, the filters may be located in a variety of different places, including inside the furnace itself, inside the air conditioner, and inside the return air ducts (eg., the metal grates on your floor, walls, ceiling, etc.).
Here are some common HVAC air filter locations:
Horizontal HVAC units
These units are usually located in garages, large basements, or attics. Their filters are typically fitted inside a slot on the air return side of the HVAC unit.
Vertical HVAC units
These systems are frequently installed in crawl spaces or smaller basements where there isn’t much space. The filter usually slides into a slot below or above the vertical unit.
Other HVAC systems
For other types of systems, the air filter should be located behind the return air grille on the ceiling, wall, or utility closet door.
Can portable air purifiers help?
Also known as air sanitizers, portable air purifiers are specialized devices that can filter the air in the room they’re in.
They can be immensely helpful in situations where ventilating with fresh outdoor air or removing the sources of pollution isn’t possible.
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Some technologies used in portable air purifiers include:
- PCO (Photocatalytic Oxidation) applies ultraviolet radiation and a photocatalyst (for example, titanium dioxide) to create hydroxyl radicals that oxidize gasified pollutants.
- Electronic air purifiers use ionizers and electrostatic precipitators to charge particles in the air, causing them to stick to special plates on the purifier or to surfaces close by.
- UVGI, or Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation, are designed to kill bacteria, viruses, and fungal spores using UV lamps.
- Immobilized cell technology takes the microfine particulate matter out of the air by attracting charged particles to a bioreactor or a bio-reactive mass, which uses enzymes to render them inert.
- Mechanical filters. This kind of air purifier is equipped with pleated filters and uses fans to push air through a thick mesh of fine fibers that trap particles. Mechanical filters that have an extra-fine web count as HEPA filters, which means they collect 99.97% of household particles.
- Activated carbon purifiers remove smoke and odors from pets, cigarettes, and kitchens, as well as gases such as chlorine, radon, and volatile organic compounds. They do this by using activated charcoal that attracts and absorbs pollutants into the surface of the filter, thus enabling clean air to pass through.
- PECO, or Photoelectrochemical Oxidation, deals with air contamination problems by oxidizing and removing organic particles such as allergens, mold, viruses, bacteria, and other microparticles.