Air Filtration vs. Air Purification: Which is Better?

Air Filtration vs. Air Purification: Which is Better?

Check out this breakdown of the major differences between air purifiers and air filters, and learn how to choose the right air cleaning system for your home or office.

Whether you’re cruising along the highway in your car, chilling on the sofa at home, or tapping away on your keyboard at the office, it’s likely that you spend most of the day in air-conditioned spaces. According to the EPA, most of us spend an average of 90 percent of our time indoors, where common air pollutants are found at levels that are 2 to 5 times higher than outdoors, so it’s critical to make sure the air you’re breathing is of good quality.

It’s common knowledge that A/C units have filters, and you might assume that those filters are guaranteeing the air you’re breathing is clean and safe. Unfortunately, that’s not the case. While filters can help clean your air, standard filtration is not the same thing as active air purification which can protect you against airborne viruses like COVID-19.

Read on for a breakdown of the benefits of an air purifier vs. an air filter, the major differences between these two air cleaning methods, and how to choose the right system for your home or business.

What is an air filtration system?

Think of air filtration as your first line of defense against airborne contaminants. All HVAC systems use filters, which can range from standard filters that catch large pollutants floating around in the air, all the way to specialized HEPA filters, which can trap particulate matter as small as 0.3 microns.

When air is mechanically forced through an A/C unit, holes in the filter stop particles from passing out through the unit and being recirculated throughout the air in a room. The smaller the holes in the filter, the tinier the particles that can be removed from the air.

You might think that you can just upgrade to using HEPA filters and voila! Clean air and peace of mind. But while HEPA filters are super effective at trapping even tiny particles, they have very little to no effect on odors, biologicals, VOCs (volatile organic compounds) and surfaces.

Air purification methods 

Air purifiers work by going the extra step beyond removing particles from circulation – they take an active, hands-on approach to neutralizing the pollutants, which is especially important when it comes to airborne viruses, molds, and bacterias that can make people sick.

Advanced air purifiers often use these technologies:

  • UV air purifiers utilize Ultra-Violet (UV) light to kill viruses, bacteria, and other organic compounds. UVC bulbs emit powerful light rays that irradiate airborne pollutants. However, some systems require that the contaminants come into direct contact with or close proximity to the system’s light for neutralization.
  • Chemical air purifiers create reactions which break down the structure of the very cells of which a pollutant is composed. This happens in various ways depending on the chemical used, from the release of free radicals that “eat” a cell’s membrane to others which dissolve a pollutant’s cellular walls.
  • Hydrogen peroxide air purifiers, which are a type of chemical air purifier, release a tiny amount of the super effective cleansing compound into the air. This means that airborne contaminants are destroyed on contact, essentially stopping them in their tracks.

Air filter vs. purifier

The truth is that there’s simply no comparison between the effects of air filtration systems and air purification systems. While filtration systems are great at trapping large floating pollutants (think a chunk of dog hair, or dust and dirt) they just don’t cut it when it comes to stopping the airborne contaminants that can trigger everything from exacerbated allergy symptoms to serious illness.

On top of that, filtration systems are high maintenance, requiring frequent hands-on changing of filters. The U.S. Department of Energy says that routinely replacing or cleaning an air conditioner’s filters is critical – otherwise, “clogged, dirty filters block normal airflow” and majorly reduce a system’s efficiency.

In the air filtration vs. air purification battle, it’s clear that air purifier solutions are the winner. So what air purification system is the best choice to work in harmony with your existing A/C system, and provide cleaner air without the need for a total overhaul?

Tadiran’s Air Care O2 plug-and-play air purifier is a no-fuss solution that can be easily installed into your current HVAC. Unlike passive HEPA filters, which trap pollutants that pass through the unit, this system leverages the powerful cleanser hydrogen peroxide to actively neutralize airborne contaminants.

Utilizing water molecules already present in the air, the system converts them into hydrogen peroxide, which is super effective at destroying viruses and bacteria. In FDA-cleared lab tests, Air Care O2 was found to eliminate bacteria, viruses, and molds at rates of up to 99.999%.

If you’d like to learn more about the best home air purification systems or office air purifiers, get in touch with us! We’d be happy to walk you through the options and help guide you in your search.