Portable Air Purifiers are an Essential Supplement to HVAC Clean Air System
An updated HVAC system will solve all of your indoor cleaning needs, right? You might think once the HVAC is set up dust will be cleaned throughout the home and you won’t have to worry about pet dander or viruses spreading easily, 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 is different and completely separate from 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.
Your HVAC system is installed inside (or right outside) your home and runs within your air ducts. The HVAC mainly controls your heating and air conditioning while also providing some air quality control. The HVAC system’s main focus isn’t air quality, that’s where the portable air cleaner comes in.
If your main concern is air quality, then it’s essential to add portable air purifiers to clean your indoor air. A portable air purifier isn’t installed in your air ducts. It is a free-standing device that you can move and place wherever you need. An air purifier’s main function is to clean your indoor air of unwanted particulate matter and maintain healthy indoor air quality.
An HVAC system’s air filters can typically filter out bigger particles like dust and pollen, but adding an air purifier to help 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).
Air Purifier for Environmental Factors
There are specific environmental factors that air cleaners target to clean your indoor air. 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. This is essential in any indoor area but especially helpful in offices, hospitals, nursing homes, and schools where airborne illnesses can easily spread to a large population.
An air cleaner with high efficiency air filters will also clear the air of pollen, which helps to mitigate seasonal allergy symptoms. Trying to work or concentrate with a runny nose or headache brought on by pollen allergies is almost impossible.
Pet dander is another indoor allergen that high efficiency air filters and a strong motor in a portable air purifier can defeat. Whether you have dogs, cats, birds, or another fluffy friend air cleaners can help any pet allergy. Mold is another common issue that can devastate a building if it spreads not to mention the various health issues connected to being exposed to mold spores. Air purifiers can help mitigate the spread of mold spores to ensure mold issues don’t get out of control.
They can also help with any dust allergy or mitigate the spread of dust mites by filtering out airborne dust particles. VOCs (like cleaning supplies, aerosol sprays, and paint) are more dangers that portable air purifiers can filter.
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 huge investment at first glance, but it’s not much more expensive than updating and maintaining your HVAC system. And portable air cleaners offer clean indoor air quality that HVAC can't provide. Only 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 cost.
Oransi device filters typically only have to be replaced once a year with proper care and cleaning while HVAC filters should be replaced every 1-3 months. Currently Oransi Mod and Mod+ air filter replacements are $59.99 and Mod Jr. air filters are priced at $49.99. Disposable HVAC filters cost $10 on the low end meaning you could be spending up to $120 on HVAC filters a year.
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. An easy maintenance process will make all the difference for your long-term use, especially if you have multiple air purifiers for a school or business.
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.
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 want.
Oransi typically suggests 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 and then move them to your bedroom while you sleep.
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 best practices for purifier placement.
If you’re purchasing portable air purifiers for schools, then we would 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 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.
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 is that they will increase the price of an air purifier. An air purifier should ultimately be easy to use.
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 comfortable temperature indoors, you don’t want your air purifier turning off and on, instead you want it to run 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 HEPA filter based material, and a strong motor because it 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, but you’ll be sacrificing performance, and ultimately clean air, with every wash. Washable will 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 are 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 the right factors for clean air effectiveness will help you when purchasing an air purifier.
When searching for an air purifier, you should trust clean air delivery rate (CADR) information. 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 the a filter’s ability to capture 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 looking for an air purifier on a budget, but if you’re able to find the right one it will efficiently clean your indoor air all day every day, and last over a decade making the lifetime cost worth it.