Air Purifier Vs Air Cleaner: Understanding the Difference in Palm Desert, CA

Air conditioning is important in Palm Desert, CA. So is better indoor air quality, and you have two options — an air purifier or an air cleaner — but which one should you choose? There are some important differences in how each device improves air quality.

Air Purifiers

Air purifiers are sometimes treated synonymously with air cleaners. But the main difference between air purifiers and air cleaners is that air purifiers don’t just eliminate particles of a certain minimum size but also sanitize the air by some other means.

Like air cleaners, air purifiers have different mechanisms for improving air quality. Negative ionization or ionic technology type creates a small powerful electrical field that produces negative ions (oppositely charged particles) to not only attract particles but weigh them down so that they fall to the floor or nearby surfaces. On the other hand, ultra-violet (UV) light is for killing pathogens at the DNA level by using UV-C to sanitize the air coming in; it comes with a filter for capturing the particles.

Air Cleaners

Air purifiers and air cleaners can be interchangeable. While your HVAC unit does a basic job of filtering the air in your home, it is mainly to keep it running efficiently. An air cleaner focuses on certain pollutants and offers air purification for single rooms as well as open areas in its airflow capacity.

Air cleaners can have a passive or active mechanism, but most are passive. This type sucks in air through a hose to clean it, and the fan blows the air back out. The larger the air cleaner, the greater airflow capacity and powerful fan motor it has.

People who suffer from asthma, allergies and respiratory problems benefit the most from having air cleaners. So do people who experience pollutants in their homes, such as VOCs. You can purchase an air cleaner as a standalone unit or have a professional attach the appropriate type to your HVAC system.

The type of filter an air cleaner has tells you about the type and size of pollutants it removes. Here are some of the types:

  • HEPA: Dense, pleated fiberglass makes a HEPA filter, but only a “True HEPA Filter” can remove up to 99.97% of particles as small as 0.3 microns.
  • ULPA: The Ultra-Low Penetration Air filter removes up to 99.99% of particles that are at least 0.1 microns.
  • Activated carbon: This type of filter has activated carbon to quickly absorb odors, gases, and VOCs. It often becomes a pre-filter in HEPA air purifiers.

HEPA and activated carbon filters are most common for air purifiers. It’s possible to have both in one air purifier. There are also hybrid air purifiers that use both mechanical and electrostatic filtration methods as well as additional features like a dehumidifier or UV light.

Choosing Between an Air Purifier vs. Air Cleaner

When deciding to choose an air purifier or an air cleaner, the important factors to consider are weather, pollutants and health issues. Palm Desert, CA has dry, hot summers, cool winters and nights and mostly clear days throughout the year.

But air quality is not the same indoors, and every home is different. For example, some people might experience overly dry air or asthma triggers.

Even people with pets who are not allergic benefit from filtering pet dander. Some people are not bothered by pollen, but other people are affected or experience it tracking indoors.

You may also want to consider a combination air cleaning device or an additional device for other air quality issues. For example, a humidifier air purifier combo. A professional HVAC service technician can check your HVAC system and evaluate your home’s air quality to help you decide, and this professional can perform any installations.

Interested in Better Air Quality?

Whether you’re ready to purchase a new air purifier or air cleaner or want an evaluation of your indoor air quality, Palm Desert Air Conditioning and Heating Co. is here to help. Contact Palm Desert Air Conditioning and Heating Co. today to learn more about the services we offer to make your home’s air better.

Image provided by iStock

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