Integrated air purifiers & heating/cooling systems
May 19, 2006 9:35 PM   Subscribe

How do the air purifiers integrated into a house's heating/cooling system work?

After reading some reports that many room air purifiers don't work very well, I have looked into air purifying filters built into the heating and cooling system of a house.

My question is, how do these work? Actually, it isn't so much how they work as how the installation is that I'm curious about. Do you need a particular system to work with a certain filter or do most filters work with most heating/cooling systems? I will definitely be having a professional install it, so I don't really need to know how to install it.

Any information on the topic is appreciated. Thanks.
posted by Anoxs to Home & Garden (4 answers total)
In my previous house we had an electrostatic air filter installed when we replaced the furnace. It essentially works by passing the dirty air through a prefilter and then by some wires that put a charge on the particles. The air is then passed through a bunch of plates with a negative charge which causes the particles to stick to the plates. The clean air would then go to the furnace.

Every 3 to 6 months the unit would need to be cleaned by soaking it in very hot water and dishwasher detergent. It was a bit of a chore, but based on the amount of grunge that came off of the unit, it worked.

Something to note, it would make a zapping sound when larger particles hit it, not unlike a bug zapper, but usually quieter.

Overall, it seemed to be pretty effective.
posted by tbird at 10:13 PM on May 19, 2006

Central Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) systems are convenient places to install air filtration equipment, and such equipment can serve to reduce dust build up in the duct work, and perhaps even to keep evaporators and other parts of the HVAC system cleaner, thus promoting better operating efficiency. But many people feel that central units can't do the whole job of cleaning house air effectively, and suggest other steps. Polypropylene mesh filters offer good performance in central HVAC installations, are washable, and don't create ozone problems of powered electrostatic units.
posted by paulsc at 1:21 AM on May 20, 2006

They only work with forced air heating and cooling systems, if that is the question. They obviously wouldn't work with electric or hot water radiators. They are installed in ductwork. UV filters and HEPA filters are available. I did some research when we got a new HVAC system two years ago, but we decided to go with an upgraded paper filter system, which seemed like the best bang for the buck.
posted by fixedgear at 4:18 AM on May 20, 2006

I had this hepa system installed on my central/heat air four years ago. Works great!
posted by oh posey at 6:53 PM on May 20, 2006

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