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The Differences Between Mechanical and Electronic Air Cleaners

Air cleaners can greatly improve the indoor air quality in your home, but there are several types of cleaners from which to choose. The main two types for whole-home use are mechanical air filters and electronic air cleaners. Understanding how each air cleaner works can help you determine which will work best in your home. Air cleaners in Baldwin should always be installed by professionals, so if you are ready to install a whole-home air cleaner, call the company that has been around since 1933: Boehmer Heating & Cooling.

Mechanical Air Filters

Mechanical air filters are square-framed, with filter media stretching across the entire space within the frame. These filters typically fit inside the space where your standard air filter resides, but not always. Mechanical air filters screen out particles from the air as the air passes through them, trapping the particles in the filter media. Not all air filters work the same. In fact, there is a special rating system called MERV – minimum efficiency reporting value – that will tell you how effective a particular filter is. The typical MERV rating for whole-home air filtration is 5-12; the highest ratings belong to HEPA filters, which range anywhere from 13-20. However, HEPA filters are so strong that they can restrict air flow in your HVAC system, so it’s important to work with  a professional before deciding that a HEPA filter is right for your system.

Mechanical air filters can trap particles as small as 0.3 microns, which covers many types of particles, including allergens, dirt, dust, pet dander and some biological contaminants. Many biological contaminants are smaller than 0.3 microns, so an air filter will not capture all of them. Mechanical air filters should be replaced every 3 months to remain effective.

Electronic Cleaners

There are two main types of electronic air cleaners:

  • Ion Generators
  • Electronic Precipitators

Each uses electricity to capture particles, but each does so in a different way.

Ion Generators

Ion generators disperse negative ions into the air. These ions attach themselves to particles in the air, and are then attracted to the different surfaces in your home, such as tables, walls and counter tops. The particle and negative ion attach to these surfaces and are removed when they are cleaned.

Electronic Precipitators

An electronic precipitator draw particles into it using a fan. Once inside the precipitator, the particles are charged in an ionization section. The newly-charged particles are attracted to oppositely-charged metal plates inside the precipitator, where they are captured. The plates need to be washed every 3 months in order to stay effective.

Air cleaners in Baldwin are an important part of healthy indoor air quality. If you want to know more about how any of these products can help you, call Boehmer Heating & Cooling and schedule a consultation with one of our indoor air quality experts.

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