Whole-House Air Filtration or Cleaning: 4 Types

Posted by Scott Mise | 01.30.2015

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The air in your Austin-area home carries pollen, dust and other contaminants throughout your house. A whole-house air filtration or other cleaning system within your furnace’s ductwork helps eliminate these before they affect you and your family.

Ultraviolet Cleaners

Whole-house air filtration can be just as powerful as ultraviolet germicidal irradiation (UVGI). Ultraviolet (UV) light disrupts the DNA of many small organisms such as viruses and bacteria. UVGI is not a filter though; it purifies your air by killing these germs. Applied in medical use and clean-room technology, UVGI is not a do-it-yourself installation. Your job? To change the UV bulb biannually.

Electronic Cleaners

Electronic air cleaners, like UVGI, are not filters either but help to rid your household air of particulates such as:

  • volcanic ash
  • animal dander
  • insect parts
  • sand
  • human skin cells
  • food crumbs

Besides organics killed by UVGI, these are all part of the air in your Austin home. An electrostatic precipitator (ESP) sends a high-voltage charge through the air in the ductwork, charging particles and enabling them to electrically stick to a collector. ESPs work on smoke particles, while UVGI and mechanical filters don’t. While a whole-house air filtration system using ESP does need professional installation, portable models exist at a reduced cost. The portable units, however, do emit ozone, a lung irritant.

Thin Filters

The thin, rectangular filter people associate with furnaces is either pleated or flat and requires at least monthly replacement to be effective for whole-house air filtration. Your furnace is created to operate efficiently at a specific airflow. Clogged filters sharply affect furnace efficiency and can increase fuel costs. Pleated thin filters are better than flat filters.

Thick Filters

Visualize five or six pleated filters stacked and shoved into the airflow inside your ducts. A thick filter, often 8 inches of pleated medium that needs annual replacement at roughly 12 times the cost of a single pleated filter, must be professionally installed into the return air plenum of your ducts. It does a good job intercepting airborne contaminants.

For more help finding the ideal whole-house air filtration for your Austin-area home, contact us at Airco Mechanical.