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The California Air Resources Board suggests that the most effective methods of improving indoor air quality are (1) removing air pollution sources, (2) reducing pollutant emissions, and (3) providing adequate ventilation. The ARB adds that some persons may benefit from the use of air filtering and air cleaning devices, but notes that they must be properly maintained in order to be effective.
Some whole-house air cleaners are permanently installed in furnace air return ducts, but many air cleaners are portable and can be moved from room to room. Whole-house units often use electrostatic filters and washable dust filters while portable units often feature disposable charcoal filters and easily-vacuumed dust filters. Because the expensive filters on room-sized air cleaners must be replaced frequently, their long-term operating costs are usually higher than those of whole-house air cleaners. Furnaces and central air conditioning systems usually distribute warm air and cool air via ducts that gradually accumulate dust; air duct cleaning services use specialized equipment to clean these air ducts.
Air cleaner manufacturers offer products with a wide range of features, styles, capacities, and filtering methods for different consumer needs. If you decide to install a whole-house air cleaner model, look for an electronic-precipitator air cleaner, as these tend to work best overall. If you select a room-size air cleaner, be sure that it has a fan. Air cleaners without fans are difficult to clean, and they also emit large amounts of ozone. Ozone can be a real problem for people with allergies or asthma, which somewhat defeats the point of having an air cleaner!
For more information about air filtering technologies, see Air Filters, and for more information about indoor air quality issues and health, see Air Quality. If you are looking for information about automotive air cleaners, please visit Auto-Air-Filters.com.
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Air Cleaners - Household Air Cleaner Guide