Lennox PureAir Air Purifier Review
An In-depth Look at Lennox’s Multi-Duty Electronic Air Cleaner
Last year, the Magic Touch Mechanical blog was awarded as one of the top 15 HVAC blogs in the country by another popular blogger in the air conditioning and heating industry. I was honored as I only found out when the writer sent me a copy of his article telling me ours was one of the chosen.
I’m delighted that our blog is such a popular resource for consumers looking for unbiased information about air conditioning, heating, indoor air quality, and home energy savings in general. I actually get most of my topics, including today’s, from questions people ask us so if there’s something you want to know more about after searching our blog, send me a message so I can add it to my list – if you’re wondering, more than likely so are many others.
Today’s article reviewing the Lennox Pure Air Electronic Air Cleaner is thanks to a Colorado homeowner that couldn’t find much information about it anywhere else.
Good Indoor Air Quality Requires Two Things: Air Filtration and Air Purification
It’s important to know that air filtration and air purification are really two different things. In laymen terms:
- Filtration is designed to “catch” airborne dust and contaminants and hopefully “trap” them from being recirculated back into the airstream
- Purification is designed to “destroy” or kill harmful airborne contaminants – usually that are too small to get trapped by filtration.
In many cases air filtration and air purification are handled by two separate devices. For example, one of my heating and cooling systems cannot accommodate something like a Lennox PureAir because of the equipment design and location. Instead, my purification device for that system is a Healthy Climate Lennox PureAir PCO (Photocatalytic Oxidation) system, which despite the similar name, does not filter the air, it only purifies it.
For filtration in that system, I installed a couple of custom built return air filter boxes with bar-type return air grills. I custom built these boxes in order to accommodate hospital-grade MERV16 pleated filters. This was neither inexpensive to install or maintain as compared to a typical 1” disposable air filtration system, but I have a lung disease and allergies so clean indoor air is that much more important to me – I consider it an investment in good health.
There is a third topic some manufacturers choose to add to the indoor air quality equation; odor control. While odor control is definitely needed in some applications, and we sell, install, and recommend a few products for this issue, I classify odor control as a comfort issue, not a health issue. Although Lennox markets this product as an odor control method (which is true to a degree), I believe there are other products more well suited to provide an odor control solution, mainly “air scrubbers”. My recommendation for specifically odor control is the Air Scrubber Plus which I own personally and have reviewed in several articles.
Is the Lennox PureAir a Good Electronic Air Cleaner?
Now that we’ve covered purification and filtration are two separate functions of clean indoor air, it’s important to note that the Lennox PureAir System incorporates both into one device – and is one of the few devices out there that does both well in one cabinet.
To answer the question asked by the homeowner in Colorado; yes, in my opinion the Lennox PureAir is not only a good electronic air cleaner, it is superior to most of its competitors in this class.
A Look Inside the Lennox PureAir Air Purifier
What Kind of Filter Does the Lennox PureAir Have?
The PureAir handles whole-home filtration with a MERV 16 HEPA Filter Media. MERV is the acronym for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and measures a filters ability to “catch” particles as they pass through the filter at a given air speed. The higher the MERV rating, the more particles the filter can stop from getting through.
HEPA stands for High Efficiency Particulate Arrestance. HEPA filters efficiency are rated at least 99.97% efficient on particles as small as 0.3 microns. The Lennox PureAir captures particles as small as 0.1 microns and has a 99.99% efficiency rating. To understand just how small 0.1 microns is; 1.0 micron is about 1/25,000th of one inch (we’re talking about one tenth of that).
When you hear a professional refer to “hospital grade”, we mean this is the same filtration used in hospitals – where clean air is not just important, people’s lives literally depend on it. MERV 16 filters are some of the best rated hospital grade filters on the market, so the PureAir handles filtration better than most of its competitors.
How Does the Lennox PureAir Air Purifier Remove Odors?
Again, there are more effective ways to control and remove odors than how the PureAir does it, however this is a PureAir review so let’s talk about it.
The filter media that comes with this device has a carbon coating on the fibers of the filter itself that has been, per Lennox “treated with oxygen”. Carbon or charcoal filtration is used in many types of filtration and is proven to remove foul tastes from water, and unwanted odors from air. Even cigarette filters use carbon – which must be why they are so yummy (I jest)!
Will carbon filters remove odors? Yes. Is this the best way? Not in my opinion. However, breathing in odors isn’t harmful to our lungs like breathing in contaminants can be, so in my opinion this is really an added benefit of installing a PureAir, not the reason to.
It should be noted that the PCO process used for purification discussed below also has some odor reducing effect. I can attest to this personally as I own one and there is a noticeable difference after it has been running. So, technically maybe with the 1-2 combination this unit has it could hold its own in the ring with an air scrubber.
What Kind of Air Purifier Does the Lennox PureAir Have?
The PureAir uses a combination of ultraviolet light (UVA to be exact) and a catalyst with a titanium dioxide coating to “attack” VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and other contaminants using PCO technology. PCO stands for Photocatalytic Oxidation, the preferred air purification method by most electronic air cleaners.
What Makes the PureAir Better Than Its Competitors?
The strength of the PureAir is really the sum of its parts. As I mentioned before, I use a separate PCO and MERV16 filters in one of my AC & Heating Systems because design doesn’t allow for a PureAir. However, I do have another system (a split heat pump) with a PureAir hooked up to the air handler.
Lennox’s engineers did an excellent job of putting both of these individual components into one cabinet that is well engineered and sturdy, and makes filter, UV bulb, and catalyst replacement easy.
NOTE: Speaking of replacement parts, I recommend replacing the filter, UV bulb, and catalyst all at the same time once per year. In very rare cases it can be more often, but I have found once a year is good in most cases. Here in AZ where we have dust storms (aka haboobs) frequently during monsoon season, which by all accounts can be classified as “extreme dust”, the majority of our clients with PureAir’s (hundreds of people) are fine with once a year.
How Much Does a Lennox PureAir Cost Installed?
Since the PureAir is a “whole home” air cleaner which gets connected to a duct system, this is a loaded question as every application is different. The least I have ever heard someone get this system installed for was $1,200 and I recently read someone paid $3,400 for their installation – which sounded extremely high to me but I don’t know the details of the installation. If a unit had to be uninstalled and reinstalled in order to accommodate the PureAir that price may have been justified.
I would say the average range we’ve installed them for is between $1,200 and $2,500. Obviously, the best time (and least expensive) to install one is with the replacement of the entire air conditioning and heating system as it allows for installation starting with a blank canvas.
In my professional opinion as an air conditioning contractor (and personal experience), the Lennox PureAir Air Purification System deserves a best in class designation. I recommend and sell some of its competitors but would have to give the LPA the highest marks out of the bunch.
There are a few other major brand air conditioning manufacturers whose products I sell and endorse – with the exception of their electronic air cleaners. Some of the manufacturers air cleaners are clearly an afterthought for them and a few I would go so far as to say; are poorly designed – and I’m talking about companies that build some of the best air conditioners on the market today. The PureAir is not an “accessory” or afterthought for Lennox and it was clearly designed to be the best at what it’s designed to do.
Is the Lennox PureAir Good for People with Asthma or Allergies?
Don’t listen to me as a contractor with 30-years’ experience with indoor air quality and ventilation systems – take it from a guy with a diagnosed interstitial lung disease, chronic bronchitis, and allergies…the PureAir will help you breathe better!
Asthma, COPD, Bronchitis, Pulmonary Fibrosis, Emphysema, you name it; all of these lung, and breathing disorders can be aggravated by contaminants in the air we breathe. The PureAir is very effective at removing contaminants and I can say first hand that I noticeably breathe better after installing these devices in my home and office than I did prior. The most noticeable difference being I no longer wake up coughing and gasping for air like I used to.
I Do Not Recommend This Product for Everyone
Read this article to see why the Lennox PureAir may NOT be right for your home.
Do You Want to Reduce Dust, Allergens, and Pollutants in Your Phoenix Home?
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