What’s the Difference Between an Air Purifier and an Air Cleaner?

When it comes to generating better air quality inside a home, there are many solutions that address various aspects of the indoor environment. Two common indoor air quality solutions are air purifiers and air cleaners. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, which makes it difficult to understand the difference between air purifier and air cleaner units. Novak Heating and Cooling explains the unique attributes of each solution and shares how they work to improve home air quality.

What Is an Air Cleaner?

Air cleaners are typically a device that uses a high-efficiency media filter to clean the air. This equipment traps pollutant particles within the filter media as air flows through the ducts and HVAC system. Particles are eliminated from the indoor air supply as well as kept out of the delicate mechanical interiors of your heating and cooling equipment so that they do not sustain damage. 

The filter used inside an air cleaner is far more powerful than the standard disposable filter in your furnace or air handler. While many people think the furnace filter’s job is to remove airborne impurities for better air quality, its real role is to eliminate these particles to protect the HVAC system. If you want a filtration system that is dedicated to improving air quality by reducing particle pollution, then an air cleaner may be the right solution for you.

What Is an Air Purifier?

An air purifier is a device that sanitizes air to improve its quality instead of extracting particles. Air purifiers target biological pathogens that have the potential to spread, grow, and cause infection. Mold, bacteria, and viruses are neutralized by the technologies utilized by air purifier systems. Some use ultraviolet lights while others use ionization. Some air purifiers even use a media filter in addition to other technologies to provide some removal of particle pollutants, though removal is not the focus of all air purifiers.

In addition to controlling pathogens in the air, air purifiers are effective for controlling odors. Cigarette smoke, mildew odors, chemicals, and other substances won’t linger in your home for days on end when you treat them with an air purifier.

What’s the Difference Between Air Purifier and Air Cleaner Equipment?

The difference between air purifier and air cleaner units is mostly related to their function. Many units of each type look similar, resembling a large metal cabinet alongside the HVAC unit or duct. Both types of equipment may use high-efficiency media filters. 

The main difference between air purifier and air cleaner equipment is how they do their job. Air cleaners utilize filtration and reduce particle counts, while air cleaners are primarily concerned with neutralizing particles to stop their growth and spread. If an air cleaner does not also use a media filter of some sort, the neutralized particles will simply remain in the air, although they cannot cause the same harm as they once did.

When you look at the difference between air purifier and air cleaner solutions, it should be easier to determine which is right for your home. If your primary concern is reducing particle pollution so your household is exposed to fewer allergens and other troubling particles, an air cleaner may be just right. If you want to prevent the spread of illness from one family member to the next, an air purifier would be the right solution.

Indoor Air Quality Solutions for Your Home

The difference between air purifier and air cleaner units is distinguishable, but they both share a common goal – producing healthier, cleaner air for your family. Work with Novak Heating and Cooling to learn which type of indoor air quality equipment will best address your air quality concerns. Contact us today to request a consultation.

How to Tell If the Air in Your House Is Dry

During the winter season in Cedar Rapids, IA and beyond, the air is naturally much drier than it is over the summer months. The cold temperatures mean less moisture can be carried by the air – both indoors and outside. Dry air problems are often abundant this time of year, so let’s review how to tell if the air in your home is dry as well as what you can do to put an end to these seasonal dry air issues.

Dry Air Symptoms

There are plenty of ways to tell if the indoor air is dry, as dry air can produce some pretty noticeable effects on our bodies as well as our homes. These symptoms can range from mild annoyances to serious illness. If you notice any of the following signs while spending time inside your home, you may have a dry air problem.

  • Increased static electricity
  • Frequent nosebleeds
  • Dry skin
  • Chapped lips
  • Dry throat and nose

While these physical symptoms may seem mild, they can contribute to more significant health issues. Dry air dries out the body’s mucus membranes, which serve as a line of defense against infection. Dry air can leave you more susceptible to contracting illnesses and viruses spreading through the air supply. Plus, some viruses are more easily spread when the air is dry, putting you at an even higher risk of sickness.

Beyond your physical health, signs of dry indoor air can also include some signs specific to your house and its contents. Wood in homes, from floorboards to doors, can warp or crack due to dry air pulling moisture from within these items. Dry air may cause paint or wallpaper to peel or chip, and wooden furniture may be damaged.

Dry air also causes comfort to decline indoors. The body feels colder when there is little moisture in the air, as moisture helps hold heat close to your skin. Sweat also evaporates quickly in dry conditions, robbing the body of its natural warmth. As a result, you may have to turn the thermostat up higher to maintain a comfortable temperature which expends more energy than necessary, if the air was properly humidified.

Solving Dry Air at Home

As you can see, dry air can affect bodies, structures, and belongings. Fortunately, we don’t have to suffer through long winter months stuck with dry air – the addition of a whole home humidifier can alleviate your dry air symptoms and make your home more comfortable even though it’s cold outside.

A whole home humidifier is installed alongside the home’s HVAC system, which allows the humidifier to treat the home’s entire air volume as it cycles through the system for winter heating. Bypass or fan-powered humidifiers use a water panel to add moisture to passing air, while steam humidifiers boil water and add steam moisture directly inside the ducts.

Using a whole house humidifier will allow you to keep relative humidity levels properly balanced all winter long. Generally, a relative humidity level between 30 to 50 percent is considered balanced, but it can be appropriate to go a bit lower in times where outdoor temperatures are quite low.

Whole Home Humidifier Installation

When it’s present, it’s pretty obvious to tell if your Cedar Rapids area home has dry air because its symptoms are so bothersome. Adding a whole house humidifier is just what you need to keep comfortable and healthy indoors this winter. Call Novak Heating and Cooling to request a quote for whole home humidifier installation in Cedar Rapids, Robins, Marion, North Liberty, or Hiawatha, Iowa.