Give Indoor Air Quality a Boost With an Air Purification System

Published on: August 16, 2012

Millions of allergen sufferers are affected by poor air quality, according to the National Institute of Health. It’s bad enough that outdoor airborne particles like dust and pollen can increase hay fever and allergen symptoms, making these among the most common chronic health issues, but it’s even worse when indoor air quality isn’t much better. When considering that severe symptoms of these ailments can cause anywhere from missed work days to skyrocketing pharmaceutical and medical bills, it’s no wonder air purifiers designed to clean indoor air quality have been a booming business lately.


Air Pollutants and Toxins

The term “air pollution” usually conjures up outdoor smog accumulation found in busy and congested industrial cities. However, indoor air quality can be affected by airborne toxins and pollutants in both residential and commercial environments just the same, in spite of how clean everything on the inside may appear. There can be a wide variety of toxic elements and particles found in indoor air quality that can adversely affect the health of most people, anywhere from mildly harmful to severe that include:

• Animal dander
• Carbon monoxide
• Tobacco smoke
• Cleaners
• Construction material (asbestos, lead, etc.)
• Dust and dust mites
• Flooring chemicals and material
• Bug, insect and rodent particles
• Mold and mildew
• Paint
• Pesticides
• Pollen
• Radon

Indoor toxins and pollutants can especially be a problem in newer buildings because these buildings have a tendency to be tightly constructed, better weatherized and highly insulated, which means that outdoor pollutants that manage to enter through the duct systems can’t escape and will accumulate indoors in greater concentrations over time.


Indoor Air Purification

Even if it’s just on a temporary basis, chronic allergen sufferers will often resort to any means to alleviate their symptoms. A portable air purifier can seem like a miracle cure in a home or business setting to those who suffer hay fever or acute allergy symptoms. The two primary classifications of indoor filtration essentially include a portable or standalone device and an air filtration system that works from a central air conditioning and heating system.

Standalone air purifiers can range anywhere from simple to sophisticated, with a price range between forty to a few hundred dollars. They’re the most popular because of the cost and the fact they’re portable and can be taken almost anywhere. The drawback is that these devises lack air circulation and are limited to a specific radius of indoor space. They can only filter air that passes through it, which can leave a lot of air around it unfiltered. The further you are from the device, the less filtered air you’re exposed to.


What is MERV?

MERV (Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value) is an important factor in determining the effectiveness of filtration devices. The higher the MERV rating, the more effective the devise is at filtering pollutants and cleaning indoor air quality. Sixteen is the highest MERV rating a devise can get, yet a portable air purifier reaches a maximum of eight, with the majority of portable devises reaching half that number. A rating of eight MERV will only filter larger particle pollutants and won’t do much against most toxins.


Heating, Ventilation and Air Conditioning Systems

Air purifiers that come built into a HVAC system are considered whole-house purifiers because they are usually installed into the duckwork system itself. Most residential and commercial central air conditioning systems use some form of general filtration, which allows air filtration of the entire indoor environment all at once. Even the most basic filtration is designed to prevent dust and dirt from accumulating in the system, which can damage the system’s components.

As central cooling and heating systems have vastly improved, so have ventilation technology and most HVAC manufacturers provide products with specific filtration features that have a high indoor air cleaning capacity. These air filtration systems typically reach a MERV of sixteen and can target microscopic particles at .3 microns or below and even certain toxins, with a higher than ninety percent removal factor of all pollutants.


Cost Efficiency

You can’t put a price on your health, so it would be difficult to argue a price limit for an air purifier that can effectively provide clean indoor air quality on a regular basis. Of course, high quality MERV 16 filtration units don’t come cheap. But long-term cost may actually be cheaper because these systems use filters that can last for many months to a year with proper maintenance and care.

Central HVAC systems are capable of using high quality filters that operate as several lower quality filters in one. Since each case is unique, not every air purifier system works the same, but with a bit of consumer due diligence, a quality air filtration system can greatly improve your health and quality of life at an affordable overall price.