Best Indoor Air Cleaners
Indoor Air Quality Matters!
Choosing the best indoor air cleaners is the easy part. Choosing which is the best indoor air cleaner for your family depends you knowing which ones actually work. First, let’s make sure we’ve all got our priorities straight!
Nowadays, most of us either drink bottled water or have some type of water filtration system at home. Children no longer drink straight from the garden hose like some of us old-timers did. Frankly, once we learned there was gross stuff in our water; we stopped drinking it – as a society!
However, few of us have taken steps to make sure our families are breathing clean air in our own home. Considering we breathe more than we drink water, it’s interesting that we don’t prioritize breathing clean air. We already know there’s gross stuff in the air, the question is; why haven’t we stopped breathing it?
Sadly, it was the bottling companies that figured out they could make a fortune on bottled water who pushed the message to the public. When you have companies like Nestle and Coca-Cola marketing a concept, idea, product and solution, rest assured the public will get the message!
The groups pushing the message on the air side (American Lung Association, EPA, doctors and scientists) don’t sell the actual tangible solution like the bottling companies did. They only report the problem and dangers associated with it.
Unfortunately, the companies who did figure out there was money to be made in air cleaners were really just marketing companies – not IAQ companies. They made great (believable) commercials and saturated the market with the message. One particular company helped turned the room air cleaner market into the multi-billion dollar industry it remains today. Years later, when it became known they didn’t always work as advertised, people began to question if all air cleaners were useless. Having spent decades studying this topic and machines, I can attest that some work very well, but many more don’t. After reading this article, you’ll know which don’t and why.
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Most Indoor Air Cleaners Suck!
Walmart, Home Depot, Brookstone and many other retailers sell so called indoor air cleaners, labeled as “room” air cleaners. A lot of them even claim right on the box they’re the best indoor air cleaner you can buy! A few of them really do even use good technology and are manufactured by reputable companies. The problem is, even these are usually just too small to do the job that needs to be done.
Another drinking-water analogy awaits you!
What if you added one teaspoon of filtered water to an 8oz. glass of tap water? Is that glass now “filtered water”? What if you mixed it 50/50, is that filtered enough? Now consider how many cubic feet of air there is inside your home. Quick math…”a lot.” Last, consider how all that air is going to go through that tiny, plastic, power-consuming, worthless gadget in the box. In the words of my late, but ever-eloquent father, “That’s like peein’ in the ocean.” Bottom line, save your money and leave that gadget on the shelf in the store. Sorry Brookstone; I like some of your other gadgets if it’s any conciliation.
All the Best Indoor Air Cleaners are Whole-Home Air Cleaners
Prove me wrong. I’ll say it again; all the best indoor air cleaners are whole-home air cleaners!
Interestingly enough, while some of the best on the market are electronic air cleaners, not all of the best use power directly. They piggyback off of your furnace or the fan in your air handler. Directly powered or not, they all rely on your home’s central heating & cooling system. Hence how they’re able to clean the air in the entire home as opposed to one small area of one room.
The Best Indoor Air Cleaners: 2-in-1 Filters & Purifiers in One
When it comes to IAQ (Indoor Air Quality) as a whole, there’s more to consider than just air cleaners. I’ll cover other considerations too, but for now let’s clarify there’s a difference between filtering and purifying air. If you’ve read any of my other IAQ articles, you know I personally run both HEPA filters and PCO-style purifiers. They serve two different purposes; one is for trapping airborne contaminants, the other for completely eradicating contaminants that make us sick.
There are a number of 2-in-1 devices on the market that offer both air filtration and purification in one machine. Many IAQ experts, myself included, favor one in particular, the Lennox Pure Air or its given name, PUREAIR Air Purification System.
Lennox PUREAIR aka Pure Air Purification System
My company, Magic Touch Mechanical sells a lot of different air conditioner brands. However, we don’t sell all of their purification systems. Quite often we’ll recommend say a Trane, Bosch or maybe Goodman HVAC system, coupled with a Lennox Air Cleaner. Frankly because the mentioned brands 2-in-1 IAQ solutions are inferior to the Pure Air.
This isn’t unusual by the way. Prior to most HVAC brands expanding into the IAQ accessory market themselves, two companies dominated; Honeywell & Aprilaire. Both well-known and respected in the HVAC community still today, they led the charge in home air cleaning devices.
HVAC vets like myself remember older EAC’s (Electronic Air Cleaners) as both problematic and the best air cleaning solution at the time. People wanted them, doctors recommended them, and the industry installed tons of them – and then; we repaired, removed, disabled, and cursed them! Granted these companies were amongst those who paved the way for the much better indoor air cleaners we have today. Both brands remain popular choices with contractors and consumers alike still today. I’m merely pointing out the fact that since they were problematic years ago, early adopters became frustrated and stopped searching for a good IAQ solution.
By way of comparison, machines like the Lennox PureAir are quiet, effective, reliable and long-lasting. They do require annual filter media and UV bulb replacement, however it’s still a lot cheaper than a year’s worth of bottled water! Not to mention the money people spend on cheap disposable filters is largely a waste, as they have very little IAQ benefit.
For a closer look at the Pure Air by Lennox, read LENNOX PUREAIR REVIEW
Best Air Scrubbers
While often used interchangeably, technically an air scrubber and an air purifier are not the same thing. Air scrubbers were once limited to industrial and commercial applications but in recent years have become more popular in residential applications.
Air scrubbers come in two flavors; portable, high-powered, heavy-duty, temporary treatment machines and permanently-installed units with a slow and steady approach. The first might be used to quickly eliminate chemical or smoke odors and typically require people and animals evacuate during treatment. We’ve successfully used this type to eliminate long-term cigarette smoke odor from homes right here in the Phoenix area. These machines are also popular with mold remediation companies.
The second is installed in the HVAC system and is on and working 24-7. We use this type in the Magic Touch office building in Mesa, AZ., and have for years. I’ve also owned this type in my own homes and am about to install two in my new home. Air scrubbers excel in not only destroying pollutants and contaminants, they’re effective at removing VOC’s (Volatile Organic Compounds) and cooking odors.
Personally, I think the machine formerly called the Air Scrubber Plus is the best air scrubber on the market. Recently purchased by AES (Aerus Enterprise Solutions) it has been renamed the Air Scrubber by Aerus.
For a Closer Look at the Air Scrubber by Aerus, read Air Scrubber Plus Review
Other Indoor Air Quality Considerations
Duct Leaks / Duct Sealing
Even the best indoor air cleaners won’t completely solve poor indoor air quality with leaky air ducts. You stop cold air from coming in by closing the window before turning up the heat. Duct leaks are one of, if not the greatest source of dust and contaminants entering your home. Prior to installing a good indoor air cleaner, you need to have your ducts professionally tested for leaks and then sealed if needed. Here in the Phoenix area, both APS and SRP clients may qualify for a duct seal rebate.
Once you know your ducts are sealed, it’s a good idea to have your ducts cleaned. Think of it like starting off with a clean slate.
Should You Choose Ozone or No-Ozone?
Ozone is already in the air we breathe, indoors and out. Ozone generators provide benefits but are not recommended for people with certain breathing disorders. Many air scrubbers such as the Air Scrubber Plus come in both ozone-producing and ozone-free models. Consult a professional before choosing which is better for you and your family.
Products like the Lennox PureAir incorporate hospital-grade HEPA filters with air purification. However, purification is not required to get a good filtration system installed in your home. Consider products like the Lennox HC16 aka Carbon Clean 16 for filtration-only applications.
HVAC Duct Static Pressure & Design
Adding a good filtration system to your home is dependent on a good ductwork. If your duct system isn’t up to par to allow for improving your air quality… fix the ducts! All too often we hear from people who’ve sacrificed breathing clean air because their HVAC Contractor told them their unit needed to use the “cheap filters”. Again, first find the source of the problem (close the window before turning on the heat) and fix it . Don’t settle for dirty air!
Best Indoor Air Cleaners For Phoenix
I never heard of a haboob until I moved to the Phoenix, Arizona area. If you don’t know what a haboob is, consider yourself lucky! Basically it’s a giant dust storm that you can see coming from miles away. Nothing says “dirty air” quite like the approach of a wall of dust over a mile high.
For almost 1/4-century, Magic Touch Mechanical has been helping clients in central Arizona keep the dust where it belongs – outside! We take a whole-home approach by ensuring that HVAC air ducts are properly sized, installed and cleaned. Then we determine the best indoor air cleaner based on our clients needs, budget and home.
We’re not just installers…we’re customers too! Not only have we done all of the above in the Magic Touch offices in Mesa, AZ – I’ve done the same in my own home.
If you’re considering how to best improve the air quality in your own home or office and live within 35-miles of Mesa, AZ – contact us today!
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