The Best Whole House Air Purifiers 2019 | HowtoHome

The Best Whole House Air Purifiers

The Best Whole House Air Purifiers
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Type Whole house air purifier, in-duct
Size 8.5 x 8.5 x 11
Filter Photocatalytic Oxidation
Room Coverage 3,000 sq. ft.
Airflow n/a
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Type Whole house air purifier, in-duct
Size 12 x 31 x 16
Filter Aprilaire 501 filter MERV 16 + Ionizing wires
Room Coverage 2,500 sq. ft.
Airflow 2000 CFM
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Type Whole house air purifier, in-duct
Size 29.25 x 25.25 x 21.25
Filter HEPA
Room Coverage 2,500 sq. ft.
Airflow 2000 CFM
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Type Whole house air purifier, in-duct
Size 17.3 x 27.9 x 47.2
Filter Pre + HEPA + Carbon
Room Coverage 11,250 sq. ft.
Airflow 1000 CFM

One of the best ways to protect your home from air pollutants is to invest in a good quality whole house air purifier. Unlike room air purifiers which are designed to cover individual spaces, whole house air purifiers are connected to your existing heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems and provide additional protection from air pollutants for your entire home 24/7 in areas up to thousands of square feet in size. Furthermore, the added filters from a whole house air purifier makes your HVAC system much more efficient at blocking out air pollutants.

For those who suffer from allergies, asthma, or other respiratory diseases, and who want to learn more about how whole house air purifiers and how they can improve your quality of life, keep reading: this article reviews the best whole house air purifiers in the market today.

Beyond by Aerus Sanctuairy is a whole house air purification system that makes use of photocatalytic oxidation to clean the air. This latest technology is able to remove 99% of surface and airborne contaminants in up to 3000 sq. ft. of space.

Pros

  • No filters to replace (low maintenance)
  • Affordable (mid-priced)
  • Space Technology certified
  • Doesn’t produce ozone like other PCO cleaners

Cons

  • Airflow depends on air handler of HVAC system
  • Needs to be installed by a professional

Features

  • ActivePure Technology
  • 5-year Warranty

Beyond by Aerus is not the most popular air purifier brand, but their Sanctuairy whole house air purification system is definitely making waves with the latest technology in air purification: ActivePure Technology. This technology, which involves photocatalytic oxidation that uses UV light as a catalyst to clean the air, is so advanced that it is certified Space Technology and is being used by NASA on space missions.

The ActivePure technology from Sanctuairy is directly attached to your HVAC system to remove 99% of VOCs, surface contaminants, pet dander, odors, and dust. Unlike other photocatalytic oxidation cleaners, the ActivePure technology does not produce ozone as a byproduct and it uses no filters whatsoever, which makes the purifier virtually maintenance-free.

Like most whole house air purifiers, the Sanctuairy needs to be installed by a professional so that might incur some additional costs aside from the upfront fee. Furthermore, the Sanctuairy doesn’t have a fixed air exchange rate since it will depend on your HVAC system’s air handler. However, for a mid-priced, high technology air purifier capable of covering up to 3,000 sq. ft. of space, these drawbacks can certainly be overlooked.

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The Aprilaire Model 5000 a very affordable in-duct whole house air purifier capable of covering up to 2500 sq. ft. of home space. It makes use of Aprilaire’s own brand of high efficiency filters rated at MERV 16 and has an airflow rate of 2000 cfm.

Pros

  • Affordable
  • High efficiency filter
  • High airflow rate
  • Easy and low maintenance
  • Energy efficient

Cons

  • Old model
  • Needs to be installed by a professional
  • Filters need to be replaced yearly

Features

  • Aprilaire 501 filter (MERV 16)
  • Ionizing cables
  • Event-based control panel
  • 2-year Warranty

The Aprilaire Model 5000 is the oldest air purifier in this list and was introduced back in 2006. However, it has stood the test of time and, even to this day, remains one of the most budget-friendly and effective whole house air purifiers. Admittedly, it does have a very dated design compared to the other air purifiers on this list, but this doesn’t affect its performance in the slightest.

Equipped with an Aprilaire 501 filter rated at MERV 16, the 5000 model is definitely one of the best at trapping even the smallest air pollutants. Tested independently in a laboratory, results showed that the 5000 model can filter 98% of bacteria, fungi, dust mites, and pollen; 95% of visible smoke and smog; 80% of particles as small as 0.01 micron in size, and 99% of particles 1 micron in size or larger. It also has a set of ionizing cables that draw in air pollutants and trap them in the filter to make sure that no pollutants escape. In addition, it has an event-based control panel which tells you if it is running, if the filters need changing, or if you want to manually turn the cleaner on or off. Overall, it is very easy to use and maintain the 5000 model and, considering its very modest price tag, it’s definitely a great value.

Unfortunately, like the Perfect 16, the 5000 model also needs to be installed by a professional for an added cost. Its filters need to be replaced more often compared to other whole house air purifiers, as they last at most a year and thus will eventually add up to more costs in the long run. However, the pros for this model far outweigh the cons.The reason the 5000 model has been around for so long is because it has proven consistently to be of very high quality at a very low price.

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The IQAir Perfect 16 Whole House Air Purifier is the first whole house air purifier to use MERV 16-rated IQAir HyperHEPA filters which are arranged in a unique double V formation for maximum airflow. It can cover homes up to 2,500 sq. ft. in size with an airflow rate of 2000 cfm.

Pros

  • High efficiency filters
  • High airflow rate
  • Long lasting filters
  • Low maintenance
  • Energy efficient
  • Long warranty
  • Large area coverage

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Needs to be installed by a professional

Features

  • 4 IQAir HyperHEPA filters (MERV 16)
  • 5-year Warranty

The IQAir Perfect 16 Whole House Air Purifier comes in 2 variations: Perfect 16 ID-2225 and Perfect 16 ID-2530, with the cheaper ID-2225 having a lower airflow rate of 1200 cfm and smaller dimensions. Both systems make use of 4 IQAir HyperHEPA filters arranged in a unique double V formation to ensure airflow is 50 times more powerful than ordinary filtration systems. With an impressive 2000 cfm airflow rate, the Perfect 16 ID-2530 is able to scrub extremely large amounts of air per minute.

However, the main selling point of the Perfect 16 system is that it makes use of four IQAir HyperHEPA filters, which is IQAir’s own brand of True HEPA filters. In addition to being True HEPA filters, the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) rated the model’s Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) filter at 16, the highest possible rating that a filter can get. MERV 16 filters are able to remove at least 95% of particles 0.3 microns in size and at least 75% of particles 0.003 microns in size. Needless to say, you can definitely count on this system to trap a range of pollutants such as pollen, dust mites, mold spores, bacteria, viruses, and pollution particles. In addition to this efficiency, the Perfect 16’s filters also last 3 years on average. This means there are longer periods of no maintenance. Furthermore, it is highly energy efficient since it’s non-motorized and purely relies on your existing HVAC to run.

Unfortunately, the Perfect 16 ID-2530 is very expensive and will cost you more than $3,000 to install. Luckily, the installation fee is covered by the upfront payment, but you’ll also need to consider the added cost of replacement filters. Overall, the Perfect 16 is a very high quality and high efficiency air purification system that will greatly benefit any household. It’s excellent for allergy sufferers and asthmatics thanks to its high efficiency filters capable of trapping even the tiniest airborne pollutants. If you’re looking for heavy duty protection for your entire home, then look no further than the Perfect 16.

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The Amaircare 10000 is a high-end, heavy duty air purifying system that makes use of a 3 stage filtration system: pre-filter, HEPA filter, and carbon filter. Although very expensive, the Amaircare 10000 is capable of removing a wide array of pollutants for more than 11,000 sq. ft. of space.

Pros

  • Long-life HEPA filter
  • Large area coverage
  • Good for odors, gases, and VOCs
  • Multi-stage filtration
  • Easy to maintain

Cons

  • Expensive
  • Short life pre and carbon filter
  • High energy consumption
  • Needs to be installed by a professional

Features

  • 3  Stage Filtration
  • Variable speed switch
  • Optional VOC filter upgrade
  • 5-year Warranty

The Amaircare 10000 is the most expensive whole house air purifier on this list at just under $4,000, but it’s also one of the most powerful against different types of air pollutants. It features a more comprehensive 3-stage filtration system comprised of a pre-filter, HEPA filter, and carbon filter that can trap odors, gasses, and VOCs. It even comes with an optional VOC filter to increase its capacity to capture chemical and gas pollution. Impressively, the Amaircare 10000 is able to cover homes as large as 11,250 sq. ft. in size and has a variable speed switch so that you can control the airflow rate. The Amaircare 10000 has a decent standard airflow rate of 1000 cfm, and it is incredibly easy to maintain.

Unfortunately, the pre-filter and carbon filter have relatively short lifespan: the pre-filter has to be replaced yearly and the carbon filter has to be replaced every 6 months. This means that the Amaircare is more high maintenance than other whole house air purifiers. Luckily, the more expensive HEPA filter only needs to be replaced every 3 to 5 years. The Amaircare 10000 is also rated to consume about 600 watts of energy, which may be very problematic for people who don’t want added electricity costs. This is because it uses its own motor to run the entire system. If you’re looking to target allergens, odors, and chemical irritants, the Amaircare 10000 has got you covered.

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Buyers Guide

What are whole house air purifiers?

Whole house air purifiers are connected to your existing HVAC system. So while your air is being cooled or heated, it also goes through a purification system that effectively removes pollutants such as allergens, bacteria, viruses, odors, and other air pollutants.

Unlike plug-in air purifiers that are only rated to cover individual areas, whole house air purifiers are designed to reach every corner of your home. It’s important to note, that there are plug-in air purifiers that are able to cover entire residences up to 3000 sq. ft. in size, and some might consider these whole house air purifiers as well. While these are cheaper alternatives compared to whole house air purifiers, they are also costlier in the long run and often require more frequent maintenance.

Who would benefit from whole house air purifiers?

People who suffer from allergies and asthma would greatly benefit from having a whole house air purifier. This is because whole house air purifiers can provide 360° protection from allergens and asthma triggers, regardless of which part of the house you’re in. Whole house air purifiers are also great for families with pets who are looking to cut down on dust, dirt, pet dander, and hair going around the house.

What are the benefits of whole house air purifiers?

  • Cleans your entire home. Regardless of where you are in your house, you can be sure that the air you’re breathing in is as clean as possible.
  • No need for multiple air purifiers. Whole house air purifiers eliminates the need for multiple air purifiers around the house.
  • Low maintenance. Whole house air purifiers are designed to last as long as possible, so filters don’t need to be cleaned or replaced as often as those in room air purifiers.
  • Doesn’t take up space. Because they’re installed in your HVAC system, whole house air purifiers don’t take up any space in any of your living areas unlike room air purifiers which are often noticeable and may take up a lot of space.
  • Quiet. Unlike room air purifiers, whole house air purifiers run very discreetly in the background, making little to no extra noise.
  • 24/7 Operation. Whole house air purifiers can be left to run all the time, unlike room air purifiers that need to be plugged in first and then shut off after some time.

What are the negatives?

  • Limited by location of air return. Because whole house air purifiers are connected to the HVAC system, it will only be able to take in air and pick up pollutants in areas of the house where the air return is located. Room air purifiers, on the other hand, can be transferred from room-to-room, cleaning the air of the space you utilize the most.
  • May be ineffective. Certain configurations (like bypass configuration) may lower the efficiency of whole house air purifiers because they let in unfiltered air. Duct-based air purifiers may use this configuration so as not to impede the airflow to the HVAC system, thus allowing pollutants to enter.
  • Performance varies. It’s more difficult to determine the effectiveness of a whole house air purifier because its performance depends on the home, its HVAC system, and its associated ductwork. And because all homes are unique, it’s difficult to tell which whole house air purifier will really work for you. In contrast, room air purifiers perform based on specified square footage only, so it’s easier to gauge its performance.
  • Energy inefficient. Whole house air purifiers may not be as energy efficient as we’d like to believe. Because whole house air purifiers are married to your HVAC system, the HVAC system will need to constantly run to actually filter the air.
  • Expensive. It’s no secret that whole house air purifier systems are incredibly expensive to install, especially when you take into consideration the labor cost from an HVAC servicing vendor.
  • More complicated to install and use. As compared to room air purifiers, you will need to take a multitude of things into consideration before installing a whole house air purifier. Is it compatible with your existing HVAC system? What changes in ductwork need to be done? How will it affect airflow? These are just a few of the questions you need to have answers to.

What are the different types of whole house air purifiers?

There are three main types of whole house air purifiers which differ mainly in the way they’re installed into your HVAC system:

  1. Filter-based units – These are installed into your HVAC furnace systems and air intake points
  2. Duct-based units – These are installed directly into the air duct path, either before or after the air handler in your HVAC system
  3. Stand-alone units – These types of systems are installed in closets or attics, followed by installing additional air intake and exhaust into the home

What are the different filters and technologies being used in whole house air purifiers?

Whole house air purifiers use pretty much the same filters and technologies as room air purifiers, except they perform at a much larger scale. There are 3 main filters/technologies that are used in whole house air purifiers:

  • MECHANICAL FILTERS – Mechanical filters physically trap the particles in the air as they circulate through your system, holding them in the filter and preventing them from being introduced into your home environment.

There are two types of mechanical filters:

  1. FLAT FILTERS – These are commonly used in residential furnaces and air conditioners. They are usually used to protect the HVAC equipment from the buildup of unwanted materials on surfaces such as fan motors or heating/cooling coils and not for direct indoor air quality reasons. They aren’t efficient for removing smaller airborne particles, but are slightly more efficient for larger particles, as long as they remain airborne and pass through the filter.
  2. PLEATED FILTERS – Pleated filters increase the efficiency of flat filters by layering them to make airborne particulates easier to trap and remove. Since pleated filters are layered, air flow is more turbulent, increasing the chances of any particle getting caught. They also need to be professionally installed and replaced yearly.
  • ELECTRONIC  FILTERS – Electronic filters are very effective at removing very small particles and odors, but may be ineffective at removing larger particles. Therefore, they need to be used in conjunction with other filters to increase efficiency. Like with pleated filters, electronic filters also need to be professionally installed.

There are two main types of electronic filters:

  1. ELECTROMAGNETIC FILTERS – use electrically charged wires to cause particles to gain a positive electrical charge which is then magnetically attracted to a collection plate.
  2. IONIC FILTERS – work on the opposite principle of electromagnetic filters. They give particles a negative charge and attract them to positively charged collectors.
  • ULTRAVIOLET LIGHT – Like with room air purifiers, whole house air purifiers also make use of UV light to take care of biological pollutants such as bacteria, viruses, mold, fungi, and dust mites. Ultraviolet air cleaners are often installed as add-ons to an electrostatic system.

What about area coverage?

Whole house air purifiers are able to cover much larger spaces as compared to room air purifiers, with some whole house air purifiers being able to cover thousands of square feet. As a rule of thumb, you should purchase an air purifier whose area coverage is slightly larger than the actual area of your home to ensure you’re getting the most out of it.

What performance metrics should you take into consideration?

  • Air flow in CFM –  This is the air purifier’s air flow capacity in cubic feet per minute (CFM). This value provides insight into the efficiency of the air purifier by indicating how many cubic feet it’s able to scrub per minute. The number describes the amount of air that is passing through the system at a certain point. It is usually measured as the air exits the unit. The higher the CFM count, the larger the space the air purifier can clean. In order to figure out how high the number for your air purifier should be, you need to know the size of your indoor space. Alternately, you can use the general rule of thumb that you need roughly 100 CFM for each 250 square feet of space.
  • MERV – MERV stands for Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value and was developed by ASHRAE to determine the efficiency of an air filter in trapping airborne particles. The higher the rating, the more efficient. MERV ratings range from 1 to 16, with MERV 16 filters being able to trap more than 95% of particles 0.3 microns in size or larger.

Why are CADR ratings not available for whole house air purifiers?

Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) was developed by the Association of Home Appliance Manufacturers (AHAM) and is the “measure of a portable air cleaner’s delivery of contaminant-free air, expressed in cubic feet per minute,” according to the EPA. Although CADR is a very reliable performance metric, it is only applicable to portable units and not whole house air purifiers.

FINAL THOUGHTS

A lot of people may be intimidated by the amount of money and effort that goes into installing whole house air purifying systems: they never come cheap, they require you to determine how your existing HVAC system will be affected, and they almost always need to be installed by professionals. With the steady rise of pollution, however, we need to be taking extra precautions to keep our homes and our family safe.

For people who suffer from allergies or multiple chemical sensitivity, the Amaircare 10000 is a good choice. Its comprehensive 3-stage filtration system can take care of anything from common allergens to VOCs, chemical emissions, and odors. Of course, it comes with quite a hefty price tag. A slightly cheaper alternative that’s good for allergens is the IQAir Perfect 16, but note that it will not be as effective at taking care of chemicals, odors, and VOCs.

Our budget option for this list is no doubt the Aprilaire 5000. Priced just a little over $600, you’re getting a long-lasting, high quality air purifier that has a MERV 16 rated air filter and ionizing cables capable of removing all the common household air pollutants for a 2,500 sq. ft. space.

However, our pick for the best whole house air purifier for 2018 is the Beyond by Aerus Sanctuairy. For a very reasonable price, you’re getting an air purifier that uses ActivePure Technology which is not only environmentally friendly, but also highly efficient at removing 99% of both surface and airborne contaminants as well as odors and VOCs. If NASA trusts this technology for use in outer space, then you should trust it to purify the air in your home too.