The Problem With Home Air Cleaners

Home air cleaners work by cleaning the air as its passes through your house heating furnace or air conditioning system.

The diagram below shows how this home cleaner system works:


In theory a home air cleaner sounds wonderful. You are told that you only need one unit which costs between $500- $1000, which sounds cheap for a whole house full of clean air! Promotional marketing material tell us that these units will easily clean the air in every room of your house.

Sadly as with most things in life the home air cleaner is not as good as they make out in the marketing material.

Here are 10 reasons why I would not recommend you purchase a house air purifier:

1. Require Costly Installation

Home Air Purifiers require you to pay a HVAC specialist to fit the unit. This will cost you a significant amount. In comparison, any person who can switch on a basic appliance can set up a portable air purifier. If you live in an old house then you may also need to pay people to clean your vent system or even replace your furnace.

2. Efficiency is far lower than portable air purifiers

Please don’t just take my word for it. The following diagrams compare a large range of home air purifier versus portable air purifiers:

Home Air Cleaner Ratings:

home air cleaner test results

The following selection of home air cleaners shows us that even the best purifiers: The Trane CleanEffects and Aprilaire 5000 only remove just over 90% of  particles sized 0.3 microns.

Portable Air Purifier Ratings:

portable_air_purifier_rating This selection of portable air purifiers tested shows us that even the 7th worst purifier at removing particles still achieved a 98% removal of particles sized at 0.3 microns.

If you suffer from allergies then leaving even 10% of allergens in the air will cause you problems. We always recommend to allergy sufferers to go for an air purifier that is able to remove at least 95% of particles bigger than 0.03 microns which is even smaller than a virus. The IQair Healthpro purifier is one purifier that is able to perform at this level and we recommend you check out our latest review.

3. The Design of Home Air Cleaners Is Flawed

Air like a human will always choose the path of least resistance. Your HVAC system will suck in cold air and push out hot air. Hot air will therefore rise to find the quickest way out of your house, which is usually through your hallway and up your stairs to the roof. The problem is that this hot air will follow a path that will not go to all areas of the house. We notice this when we feel a draft and this is why a unit that purifies this hot air will be ineffective when cleaning your whole house.


As the path of hot air passes through the house, areas behind obstacles and in corners will not receive new air and dust and particles will build up.

In comparison a portable room air purifier will use pressure change and high powered fans to draw air from all areas of the room.

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