With spring in full bloom, many homeowners are searching for ways to manage their seasonal allergies, and air purifiers can be an excellent solution. However, deciding between a whole house air purifier or room air purifiers can be difficult. There are many lists and information available online, and it can feel like a lot to sort through. To help you make an informed decision, Spoor’s Heating & Air Conditioning provides this air purifier guide to answer questions about the benefits and drawbacks of each.

Schedule an appointment today to learn more about our indoor air quality services

Air Purifier

Whole House Air Purifier

Whole home air purifiers come in a few varieties, with different price points and effectiveness ratings, so it’s important to be aware of them before making any final decisions. 

  • Filter-based. Typically installed as part of the HVAC unit and at air intake points. 
  • Duct-based. Installed in the air ducts, either before or after the air handler. It cannot be used with ductless systems.
  • Stand-alone systems. Usually installed in a closet or attic. They require additional air intakes and exhausts to be installed.

The filtration system used is also an important aspect of choosing whole home air purifiers. Some use physical barriers, while others rely on ion filtration. Physical barriers use a more conventional filter to trap particles, while an electronic (or ion) filter utilizes a high-voltage charge to attract and capture particles. Some air systems use a hybrid of both. Ultraviolet (UV) filters are also an option, but the higher degree of germ elimination can be expensive and is only necessary in homes with specific medical concerns.

Pros Of A Whole House Air Purifier

Filtering the air in your entire home is a good idea, especially if you have extreme allergies or medical needs. After all, it feels good to walk into any room in your home and breathe easily instead of being cooped up in a single room. It’s also good for homes with pets to help minimize pet dander and dust from accumulating.

Cons Of A Whole House Air Purifier

Whole house air filtration systems may seem to be a comprehensive solution, but it comes with a set of drawbacks. For one, whole home purifiers have a higher initial cost and consume more energy to run. It also requires more maintenance to keep ducts clean and replace filters to run at their highest efficiency. 

Single Room Air Purifier

Most single room air purifiers use HEPA (high-efficiency particulate air) air filters to filter out more particles than whole house purifiers. Some also use the more advanced ULPA (ultra-low penetration air), which can block out even smaller particles than HEPA filters but are limited to smaller areas due to airflow. Ion units are also available, which are quieter and do not require filter replacements. However, note that ion filters may create trace amounts of ozone (a lung irritant) as a byproduct.

Pros Of A Room Air Purifier

While it may seem counterintuitive to think that a small, single unit can be more powerful than a larger one, the focus on a single room can do wonders for cleaning up the air. Room purifiers are also relatively inexpensive, usually don’t require special installation, and are portable, so you can place the unit where you need it. These units also typically have higher cleaning ratings and lower energy consumption.

Cons Of A Room Air Purifier

While a single room air purifier may be more effective at cleaning a specific space, the rest of your house is filled with allergens, which will recontaminate the room where the purifier is in. To address this concern, multiple units need to be purchased to place in each room. This can drive up costs and can add to the cost of filter replacement. It’s also important to note how large of a space the unit is rated for. 

The Bottom Line

While single room air purifiers offer higher efficiency, if you or a loved one suffers from severe allergies or medical conditions, investing in both options is the best way to make sure that you have your bases covered. When whole home and room air purifiers work together, you can have peace of mind knowing that your home’s air has been thoroughly cleaned.