The Choice for a Home Air Filtration System

What homeowners are breathing in every day has the potential to harm their health. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, it's the air inside of the home, rather than the air outside, that may cause the most physical harm. Many people seek options to reduce the toxicity of indoor air through a filtration system.

Indoor air can be 2 to 5 times more toxic than outside air. Newer, energy-efficient homes that are very well insulated against drafts may be among the most dangerous. That's because they restrict the ability for fresh air to seep into the home.

Resident dust mites, harmful airborne particulates and even mold could be residing in the house along with its occupants. An air filtration system can be one strategy homeowners can employ to clean up indoor air.

Homeowners may want to consider a permanent, whole-house unit that hooks up to the central heating and air conditioning already set up in the home. This enables every room in the home to receive filtered air. It is essential that the filters on the unit be changed frequently. Also, if a humidifier is hooked up to the HVAC unit, then the water should be changed on a regular basis so that mold does not proliferate and get blown throughout the home. Homeowners who don't have forced-air heating and cooling will have to have a different filtration system installed instead.

For renters or individuals who don't want a permanent system, there are many portable air filtration units on the market. These can be moved from room to room and even brought along when traveling.

Air filtration units will vary depending on what they are cleaning from the air. Some tackle mold, others viruses and bacteria. Individuals with allergies should look for filters that target dust and pollen. Others can trap fumes and microscopic particles through unique processes. Here are some of the advanced cleaning filtration systems to consider.

* Ionizers: Emit a small electric charge to the air stream creating a magnetic-like attraction for pollution particles, which causes them to adhere to the filter.

* Ultraviolet light purification: Air passes through a UV system that destroys bacteria, viruses and dust mites of any size.

* Electrostatic precipitators: These create opposite charges on metal wires or plates, attracting and holding dust, pollen, smoke, and other particles as small as .0001 microns. The assembly often can be removed and washed for reuse.

* High efficiency particulate air (HEPA): These filters are designed to remove 99.97 percent of the particulates that pass through the filters. They will have no effect on fumes, viruses, bacteria, smaller mold spores, or some tobacco particulates.

* Ultra HEPA: An even more efficient form of HEPA cleaners, which typically clean out 99.999 percent of the particulates that pass through them.

* Ozone: Destroys all bacteria that comes in contact with the ozone, and leaves a "fresh" smell in the air. However, the safety of ozone inside the home is questionable. The Canadian government has banned the sale of ozone releasing air purification systems.