Do Electronic Air Cleaners Really Work?

Electronic air cleaners, also known as electric air purifiers or ionizers, are meant to reduce the number of airborne contaminants through the use of an electronically charged filer. These whole-home filtration solutions are installed with your existing ductwork and HVAC equipment to improve indoor air quality. With the amount of pollutants circulating in the average home, including dust, dirt, and pet dander, it’s no wonder that many homeowners turn to options like electronic air cleaners. But do they really work? We did the research to help you make an informed decision for your home.

The science behind electronic air cleaners

Electronic air cleaners use electrically charged filters to trap airborne contaminants before they have the chance to circulate throughout your home. As air passes through your A/C and heating system, large particles such as dust and dander are trapped in a prefilter. Then, smaller particles that can be invisible to the naked eye, such as bacteria and other pathogens, are trapped by the electrically charged filter.

The pros of electronic air cleaners

Electronic air cleaners have a number of benefits that make them an attractive option for many homes.

Reusable filters

Electronic air cleaners utilize reusable filters that can easily be removed and washed every month or as needed. This helps cut down on waste and ensures you won’t have to make special trips to the hardware store to stockpile replacement filters.

Quiet operation

You won’t hear your electronic air cleaner working, which is a benefit compared to other noisy air purifiers on the market.

Won’t take up space in your home

Some home air purifiers can be large, bulky, or complete eyesores. In contrast, electronic air cleaners are installed out of sight with your current HVAC equipment, so they won’t take up any space in your home.

The cons of electronic air cleaners

No indoor air quality solution is perfect, and electronic air cleaners have their fair share of drawbacks as well.

Only filters when the system is running

Electronic air cleaners only filter and clean the air when your A/C and heating system is running. So when the weather is mild and you’re not using your system, or if you turn the system off when you go on vacation, the air cleaner won’t do anything to improve indoor air quality.

Ozone emissions

Many electronic air cleaners emit low levels of ozone, which can irritate the lungs. It’s important to do your research to ensure your chosen electronic air cleaner doesn’t emit ozone.

Less effective on smoke and odor

If removing odors or smoke from your home is a priority, an electronic air cleaner may not be the best option. Filtration systems that utilize both HEPA (high efficiency particulate air) and carbon filters are more effective for capturing and removing smoke and odor.

More ways to improve indoor air quality

Electronic air cleaners aren’t the only option when it comes to improving indoor air quality. Try incorporating the solutions below into your routine to help your family breathe easy.

Add greenery

Flexing your green thumb and adding houseplants to your décor can improve indoor air quality. A study conducted by NASA in conjunction with the Associated Landscape Contractors of America revealed that placing one house plant every 50 feet can effectively remove volatile organic compounds (VOCs) that pollute the air.

Plants that were named in the study include:

  • Bamboo Palm
  • English Ivy
  • Gerbera Daisy
  • Peace Lily

Keep up with cleaning

When you clean your home, you are cleaning the air as well, and removing any opportunities for pollutants to move in. Regular dusting of all the surfaces in your home (including overlooked areas like baseboards, ceiling fan blades, and the tops of your cabinets) can help keep dust and dirt at bay.

Vacuuming regularly is another simple and easy way to cut down on airborne particles in your home. This is especially important if your home has carpet, which can hold more contaminants than hard flooring, or if you have pets that shed often. Certain vacuums also contain HEPA filters, which can provide an extra layer of protection against dust and other airborne contaminants. HEPA filters are specially constructed to filter out 99.97% of particles in the air, including mold spores, bacteria, and more.

Improve ventilation

Increasing the amount of fresh outdoor air that enters your home can counter the effects of poor indoor air quality. This is especially important when it comes to activities that generate potential air pollutants—such as using paint or cleaners with ingredients like bleach or ammonia, as well as cooking certain foods. Opening a window or a door is an easy way to improve ventilation when the weather is nice. When it is not, you can rely on the fans and ventilation systems in your bathroom and kitchen to get the job done.

Keep up with maintenance

Regular maintenance helps your A/C and heating system continually operate at peak performance. The tests and inspections that come standard with our exclusive 26-point maintenance plan can help keep the air in your home as clean as possible. For example, we check air filter size to make sure it is not too big or too small. Improperly sized filters can be easily overlooked, and allow more contaminants to circulate throughout your home. A twice yearly checkup with the Chas Roberts pros is a great way to improve and maintain indoor air quality.

Repair or replace your A/C and heating system

Sometimes, a repair or replacement is necessary, especially if you try other methods and don’t notice any improvement in your home’s air quality. In warm climates like Arizona, your system only has a lifespan of around 9-12 years. After that, you’ll likely experience problems such as poor air quality and temperature variations, as vital parts of your system continue to decline.

We’re here to help you breathe easy

Cooling or heating your home is only one aspect of your HVAC equipment. It also plays a vital role in indoor air quality, and we’re here to make sure the air in your home is clean, safe, and comfortable. At Chas Roberts, we offer indoor air quality solutions like the RGF REME HALO®, an active whole-home air purification system scientifically shown to stabilize and reduce the presence of SARS-CoV-2. Contact us to get started and enjoy better indoor quality.