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Portable Air Purifiers are an Essential Supplement to HVAC Clean Air System

Why get an air purifier when you already have an HVAC system, right? You might think an HVAC filter will keep dust, pet dander, and viruses from spreading in your home, unfortunately, it’s not that simple. 

While an updated HVAC system will control your heating and air conditioning, and the filters will keep the device itself clean and clear of dust, it won’t control your indoor air quality. To achieve peace of mind with your indoor air you’ll need the help of portable air purifiers. 

Your heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) system does a completely different job in your home than a portable air purifier. While it’s important to update your HVAC system to make sure it meets ASHRAE air quality standards, an HVAC system can only do so much for indoor air quality. 

That's because your HVAC system is really only mean to heat, cool, and move that hot or cold air throughout your home. It doesn't have strong enough filtration to clean that hot or cold air as well. 

Truly, the filter on an HVAC system is more there to protect the inner parts of the system from dust and debris so it can continue working to provide climate control for your home.

An HVAC system’s main focus isn’t air quality, that’s where the portable air cleaner comes in. 

If you find yourself waking up with sinus headaches, sneezing from pet dander, or reaching for allergy meds every Spring or Fall, then your main concern is air quality. 

Air purifiers that can clean your indoor air are a must if this is the case. A portable air purifier isn’t installed in your air ducts like an HVAC system. It's a free-standing device that you can move and place wherever you need — like if you work from home during the day in a stuffy feeling office and then sleep at night in a separate room. An air purifier’s main function is to clean your indoor air of unwanted particulate matter like dust, pollen, pet dander, mold, bacteria, and virus particles and maintain healthy indoor air quality. 

An HVAC system’s air filters can typically filter out the biggest of particles, but adding an air purifier to help intentionally clean your air will filter out smaller particles that can impact your health and cause medical problems down the line.

An air purifier takes clean air significantly further with its ability to filter out dust, pollen, mold spores, airborne virus particles, smoke, pet dander, and Volatile Organic Compounds (VOCs) that come from off-gassing furniture and cleaning products. 

Air Purifier for Environmental Factors 

Whether you’re looking for an air purifier for your home or a shared commercial area like an office or school, a portable air purifier that uses high efficiency air filters and a strong motor is your best option. 

High efficiency air filters will help mitigate the spread of airborne viruses like the common cold, the flu, and even COVID particles. This is essential in any indoor area, especially during cold and flu season. It can be especially helpful in offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools where airborne illnesses can easily spread in big numbers and impact vulnerable individuals. 

An air purifier with high efficiency air filters will also clear the air of pollen, which helps to mitigate seasonal allergy symptoms. These symptoms can range from pesky to debilitating depending on how much your system can tolerate. Trying to work or concentrate with allergy symptoms can be like trying to get through flu symptoms for many. 

Pet dander is another indoor allergen that a portable air purifier with high efficiency air filters and a strong motor can defeat. Whether you have dogs, cats, birds, or another fluffy friend air cleaners can help protect us from pet allergies and protect our pets from their own allergy symptoms.

Mold is another common issue that can devastate a building if it spreads — not to mention the various health issues that come from exposure to mold spores. UNlike HVAC systems, air purifiers can help mitigate the spread of mold spores to ensure mold issues don’t get out of control. 

Portable air purifiers can also help with any dust sensitivities or mitigate the spread of dust mites by filtering out airborne dust particles. VOCs (like cleaning supplies, aerosol sprays, new furniture, and paint) are more dangers that portable air purifiers can filter out from your air so they don't impact your lungs. 

Smoke, including wildfire smoke, is another environmental factor that calls for an air purifier’s help. If your main concern is smoke, whether from indoor smoking or outdoor wildfires, we recommend finding an air purifier that also has an activated carbon filter like the Oransi Mod

Air Purifier and HVAC Comparison: Best Price for Performance

An air purifier might seem like a luxury purchase at first glance, but they're becoming as common in homes as dishwashers and other helpful appliances.

Comparing the filter replacements, Oransi’s Mod filter replacement cost over the first two years actually comes in at a lower price than your typical HVAC filter replacement costs would for that same timeframe. 

That's because Oransi device filters last longer and typically only have to be replaced once a year with proper care and cleaning. In comparison, HVAC filters should be replaced around every 3 months.

Having a portable air purifier in your indoor space guarantees cleaner air and is an essential supplement to your HVAC system to provide quality clean indoor air. 


What to Consider When Looking for an Air Purifier

Find an Air Purifier with Easy Maintenance 

Some air purifiers have difficult maintenance instructions that are unnecessarily complicated and frustrating to follow. Special tools? Videos where the expert looks to be struggling with the replacement filter? No thank you. An easy maintenance process will make all the difference for your long-term use, especially if you have multiple air purifiers for your space. 

Air purifiers that require special tools to access and change the filter or ones that require frequent filter changes aren’t a good option. That’s because the more difficult it is to replace, the more likely you’ll have an expensive air purifier sitting in the corner with a dirty filter not doing its job. Simple maintenance is always best.

Where to Place Your Portable Air Purifier 

A portable air purifier is also different from an HVAC system because you can place it wherever you need its cleaning power to work hardest. Portable air purifiers are free-standing so you can move the device wherever you need it to be. Painting a room in your house? Suddenly smoky kitchen that needs airing out? Stuffy bedroom at night? A portable solution can handle all of it.  

We typically suggest moving the air purifier with you into rooms where you spend most of your time. Shared rooms like your living room or the kitchen are great choices while moving it into your bedroom while you sleep can help with better sleep quality. 

It's important to pay attention to where you're physically placing your air cleaner as well. Air purifiers can't pull in air properly if there are obstacles, refer to our where to place your air purifier for maximum clean air article to learn what to do to maixmize the clean air you get from your air purifier placement. 

If you’re purchasing portable air purifiers for schools, then we suggest an air purifier per classroom and multiple to cover the square footage of large spaces like the gym and cafeteria. A similar setup for an office would be an air purifier for every office, conference room, and any shared area. 

What Air Purifier Features Do You Need?

The basic function of an air purifier is to clean your air through high airflow and a strong motor. Air purifiers take in dirty air, filter out all the nasty particles, and push out clean air into your indoor space. 

This is literally all an air purifier is required to do. Many smart air purifiers have been introduced recently that offer several add-ons. While this might be something you’re looking for, it’s certainly not necessary for an air purifier’s main function, which is to clean your indoor air. We also find the constant need to update software across devices a little frustrating. Especially since air purifiers are a great set and forget appliance in your home. 

Air purifiers connected to an app or wi-fi could encounter connectivity issues and lead to frustration and low performance. The main issue with unnecessary add-ons though is that they increase the price of an air purifier without increasing the quality of your indoor air. An air purifier should ultimately be easy to use with enough power to truly clean your space. 

Some air purifiers will turn off and on when they reach a certain level of air quality, but unlike HVAC that’s trying to maintain a certain comfortable temperature indoors, you don’t want your air purifier turning off and on, instead you want it to run consistently throughout the day to maintain healthy indoor air quality. 


Choosing the Right Filtration  

The COVID pandemic saw increased demand for air purifiers and unsurprisingly, more brands launched new devices to meet that demand.

Unfortunately, many of these are ineffective and use unproven and possibly hazardous (like ozone-producing) technology. We always recommend a high efficiency air filter, like a filter that's HEPA based, and a strong motor. This is the only scientifically proven technology that can guarantee clean air in your home. 

It’s tempting to go with a filterless product, but these technologies, like using UV light without a filter, are not proven to be effective. Experts including the CDC, EPA, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, and The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) all recommend HEPA filter based media as the proven and preferred technology for portable air purifiers. 

Washable filters might seem like an appealing option too, especially if you're more concerned about environmental impact. Unfortunately, these air purifiers with washable filters often end up in the landfill because they sacrifice performance so much. Washable filters also degrade over time so we don't recommend them.  

Although filter replacements are another added-on price to an air purifier, overall they’re not very expensive in the long term and they're guaranteed effective. 

Air purifiers might seem like a hefty price, but the breakdown prices of our devices shows that it’s not as much as you might think. 

Finding an air purifier that works for a reasonable price doesn’t have to be difficult. Having a checklist of your needs and looking at performance technical specs objectively will help you when purchasing an air purifier. 

When searching for the right air purifier, you can trust clean air delivery rate (CADR) information as this is independently lab tested and verified. CADR is measured by comparing the air purifier’s airflow and particle removal efficiency. Checking the ENERGY STAR website for official CADR numbers is ideal. 

Another factor to consider when choosing an air purifier is the Minimum Efficiency Reporting Values or MERV rating, which helps you determine a filter’s ability to capture fine particles. The higher the MERV rating, the better the filter is at capturing the smallest particles in your indoor air. 

Spending hundreds of dollars on an air purifier might seem like a big investment especially if you’re on a budget. Finding the right air purifier that can protect your respiratory health and last over a decade, like the Oransi Mod series, makes the benefits significant and the lifetime cost worth it.