How to Choose an Air Purifier For an Apartment Or a House

How to Choose an Air Purifier For an Apartment Or a House
Photo by Jakub Zerdzicki

Previously, only allergy sufferers thought about buying an air purifier, but now residents of large cities also have a need for them. A huge range of models only complicates the choice. If you are looking for an air purifier to improve your quality of life, then this article inspired by Alpha Mechanical is for you. If you enter the query “residential HVAC near me Sacramento” in an Internet search engine, you will surely see this company in the recommendations.

Why Do People Use Air Purifiers?

Air cleaners allow you to clean the air of dust, pollen, hair, particles of animal skin, mold spores, harmful gasses, and odors. This cleaning is useful in the following cases:

  • in a city apartment, especially if it is located near busy highways or hazardous industries;
  • an unpleasant smell comes from the street or from neighboring apartments;
  • the family has allergies or asthma;
  • there are small children in the family;
  • pets live in the apartment, and you want to reduce the amount of hair and dust on surfaces, as well as neutralize unpleasant odors.

The Principle of Operation of an Air Purifier For an Apartment

Filters are placed inside the air cleaner housing, as well as one or more fans that provide air intake and exhaust. Grates are provided for the passage of air in the housing.

The principle of operation of air cleaners is simple: fans suck air into the case, it passes through filters that trap contaminants, and the air is blown back into the room in its pure form. In devices equipped with only one filter, electrostatic, there is no fan, and air movement is created using an electric field.

What to Look For When Choosing an Air Purifier For an Apartment

First of all, when choosing an air purifier, you should pay attention to the filtration systems. Different types of filters are suitable for solving different problems. It is important to understand their purpose, advantages, and disadvantages.

Air purifiers for an apartment are equipped with 1 to 5 different types of filters:

  • prefilter,
  • HEPA filter,
  • charcoal filter,
  • photocatalytic filter,
  • electrostatic filter.

Most appliances are equipped with three filters: a pre-filter, a HEPA filter, and a carbon filter. The photocatalytic filter is an additional filter, while the electrostatic filter can act as the only filter in an air cleaner or as part of a cleaning system.


The prefilter cleans the air from coarse dust, wool, and other small debris that is visible to the human eye. The purpose of this filter is to perform primary air purification and reduce the load on the following filters. Almost all air cleaners are equipped with a prefilter.

HEPA Filter

HEPA filters trap fine dust, plant pollen, mold spores, animal dander, PM2.5, and PM10 particles. Air purifiers use HEPA filters of different filtration classes – from H11 to H14. The higher this class, the higher the filtration efficiency – from 95 to 99.9%.

Carbon Filter

The carbon filter absorbs unpleasant odors and harmful gasses with the help of activated carbon granules. Usually, a carbon filter is combined with a HEPA filter, less often it is installed separately.

The cleaning efficiency is affected by the size of the carbon filter, its thickness, and the volume of the sorbent placed in it. It is better to choose devices with volumetric filters with a large amount of carbon.

Photocatalytic Filter

This filter purifies the air of odors, harmful gasses, allergens, viruses, and bacteria. Unlike coal, the photocatalytic filter does not accumulate pollution in itself but destroys them with harmless substances – water and carbon dioxide. The process occurs due to the acceleration of a chemical reaction under the action of light from a UV lamp and titanium dioxide applied to the filter.

Electrostatic Filter

An electrostatic filter cleans the air of dust and soot with an efficiency of 80–90%. Air purifiers equipped with such a filter work like ionizers – they form an electrostatic field that attracts dust. Contaminants settle on metal plates, which need to be cleaned as they become dirty, on average once a week. The filter does not require replacement.

In addition to air purification, an electrostatic filter ionizes it (saturates it with negatively charged ions, although not as efficiently as a full-fledged ionizer).

Which Air Purifier to Choose For an Apartment

The choice of air purifier depends on the needs of the user. It is worth focusing on equipment that is aimed at eliminating specific allergens and pollutants. Let’s see what residential HVAC providers recommend:

1. If you need to clean the air from dust, pollen, mold spores, or dust mites.

In this case, you can choose a model equipped with a prefilter and a HEPA filter. Full-size filters provide effective air purification. The prefilter will retain large contaminants and protect the HEPA filter from rapid wear, and the HEPA filter will purify the air from the smallest contaminants.

2. If you need air purification from odors and harmful gasses.

If the main task is to combat unpleasant odors, then you can choose air cleaners with a carbon or photocatalytic filter. If you choose from devices with a charcoal filter, it is better that there is a prefilter in front of it, since the charcoal filter is not designed to clean the air from dust.

If you choose from devices with a photocatalytic filter, then a carbon filter should also be in the filtration system. It will absorb the intermediate products of oxidation of harmful substances if there are too many pollutants in the air.

3. If protection against viruses and bacteria is required.

For air disinfection, a purifier with a photocatalytic filter or a full-fledged UV lamp is suitable. If you choose an air cleaner with a photocatalytic filter, then the kit should also include a carbon filter. The UV lamp should be comparable to the size of the air purifier, and it is also desirable to get acquainted with the results of tests of its effectiveness.


The set of filters that the air cleaner is equipped with is important to select based on the tasks. So, to clean the air from dust and allergens, purifiers with a prefilter and a HEPA filter are suitable. To neutralize odors and harmful gasses, you can choose air cleaners with carbon or photocatalytic filters. However, we recommend contacting a reliable residential HVAC service provider in Sacramento – Alpha Mechanicals. The company provides indoor air quality testing services, as well as modern safe air purification solutions.

About the author

Steven Ly

Steven Ly is the Startup Program and Events Manager at TheNextHint Inc. She recruits rockstar startups for all TC events including Disrupt, meetups, Sessions, and more both domestically and internationally. Previously, she helped produce Dreamforce with Salesforce and Next '17 with Google. Prior to that, she was on the advertising teams at both Facebook and AdRoll, helping support advertisers in North America and helped grow those brands globally. Outside of work, Steven enjoys Flywheel, tacos, the 49ers, and adventuring around the globe.

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