What’s the difference between mechanical and electronic air cleaners?

There are a number of air cleaners on the market, each of them offering a number of specific features and benefits designed to match the types or air pollutants and allergens your Portland home has. However, a common question we get is about the difference between mechanical and electronic air cleaners.

Mechanical Air Cleaners

Mechanical air cleaners are also called filters and are generally some form of physical device installed in the air flow system for your HVAC device or air handler. The air flows through the filter and particles are removed because they are smaller than air particles. Mechanical filters come in different MERV ratings, and some are rated as HEPA filtration devices, removing up to 99.9% of contaminants 0.3 microns or larger. These devices are highly effective for almost all forms of allergens and contaminants in the Portland area.

Electronic Air Cleaners

An electronic air cleaner uses a different process, actively removing particles by ionizing the air and pulling the particles out of it. The difference is that such a process only works on smaller particles like gas or smoke and fumes. So, an electronic air cleaner removes the stuff that a mechanical filter never could, and is generally only necessary if your home suffers from such contaminants.

When the time comes to have a new air cleaning system installed in your home, the first thing you should do is determine what you need to have removed. Most people will benefit from a mechanical filter upgrade, but if exhaust is a problem due to proximity to a major road or if someone in your home smokes, an electronic filter can go one step further and remove a lot of additional particles.

There are also air purification systems that combine both technologies to create a fully-featured air cleaning system. You can check if this type of system is compatible with your air handler and then have one sized for your needs.

To determine what to do about the indoor air quality in your Portland home, contact The Clean Air Act, Inc. today!

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