If you want to make the air in your home cleaner and healthier, you may consider getting one of the two systems that improve indoor air quality: air purifiers and dehumidifiers. While these systems provide similar benefits, there are some key differences between the two that you should be aware of before making a final purchasing decision.

What Is an Air Purifier?

An air purifier is a type of system that’s designed specifically to get rid of any harmful contaminants that can be found in the air throughout your home. These contaminants include:

  • Mold spores
  • Dust
  • Pet dander
  • Bacteria
  • Allergens
  • Smoke

It’s possible for an air purifier to get rid of these contaminants and substances by circulating the air in your home through numerous filters. If an air filter is outfitted with a HEPA filter, just under 100% of airborne contaminants can be removed from the air. HEPA filters are made from many small fibers that are woven together. This design allows the air to pass through the filter while trapping all contaminants.

You might also consider an air purifier that’s equipped with an activated carbon filter. These filters can get rid of any musty smells that are present in your indoor air. These smells are typically caused by mildew and mold. Keep in mind that air purifiers are unable to reduce the amount of humidity in your home.

What Is a Dehumidifier?

A dehumidifier is a system that’s designed to reduce the amount of moisture that’s present in the air throughout your home. If you find that your indoor air contains excessive moisture, using a dehumidifier would help you bring the moisture content down to acceptable levels. In general, the humidity levels of indoor air should be less than 50%.

When you operate a dehumidifier, the system will essentially suck moisture out of the air and trap it within an internal container. Even though this system can be used to eliminate the excess moisture, it doesn’t purify or remove contaminants from the air. Once humidity levels start to drop, you should feel more comfortable while in your home. Along with the indoor air being less damp, musty smells that are caused by mildew and mold should also abate.

Less humidity also means fewer dust mites, which require a considerable amount of moisture to survive. While dehumidifiers are unable to directly filter out airborne contaminants, some of these contaminants will invariably be reduced as a result of the humidity levels dropping. When your home has less moisture in the air, you’ll also notice that it feels cooler, which is particularly beneficial during the warm summer months. Higher humidity levels can make your home feel hotter than it actually is.

Types of Dehumidifiers

There are three types of dehumidifiers that you might want to be aware of before making a purchase. These types include refrigerant, desiccant, and electronic dehumidifiers.

A refrigerant dehumidifier works by using the refrigeration process to cool a small metal plate. Once this plate is cooled, moisture from the air will go through the condensation process. A fan will bring air to the dehumidifier, after which water will start dripping into a collection tank.

A desiccant dehumidifier is outfitted with a special material that’s able to absorb water in the air. The material has a consistency that’s similar to silica gel, which is usually present in electronic products. Within the dehumidifier is a wheel that contains the desiccant. The air stream is sent through this wheel, which turns slowly to absorb moisture.

Electronic dehumidifiers are relatively modern and are equipped with a Peltier heat pump. This heat pump produces a cool surface that accommodates the condensation process for any water vapor that’s currently in the air. You can drain the condensed water outside.

Types of Air Purifiers

There are many different types of air purifiers for you to consider. These systems differ from one another based on the features and filters that they have. The potential cleaning functions of an air purifier include everything from HEPA filtration to ultraviolet light.

HEPA filtration occurs by using a dense filter to trap any contaminants in the air. HEPA filters can trap nearly 100% of airborne contaminants, which include everything from dust and allergens to smoke and mold spores. All of these contaminants can cause illness, which is why getting rid of them is beneficial for keeping members of the household healthy.

Negative ionization is another method of filtering air that can exist in air purifiers. This technology is designed to place charged ions directly into the air throughout your home. These ions will grab onto any airborne pollutants, which results in the pollutants being weighed down and captured in the unit’s filters. Any contaminants that aren’t caught by the filter will fall on the floor or stick to nearby surfaces, which makes it easier to get rid of these contaminants. If your air purifier uses negative ionization, it’s possible to remove particles as small 0.01 microns from your home’s air.

Carbon filtration uses a simple filter that contains activated carbon material to filter the air. This process can trap chemicals, volatile organic compounds, odors, and gases. If you want your room to have a more pleasant smell, carbon filtration can help you achieve this goal.

As for ultraviolet light, this technology is able to kill airborne bacteria, viruses, and mold by breaking apart the molecular DNA within these particles. With this process, the air in your home can become sterilized, which results in much cleaner indoor air. Air purifiers that are designed specifically to combat mildew and mold should contain ultraviolet light technology.

Which One Is Right for You?

Air purifiers and dehumidifiers have their distinct advantages. Air purifiers can be used to eliminate nearly all kinds of airborne contaminants that can be present in your home. On the other hand, dehumidifiers are capable of reducing moisture levels in your home, which provides cleaner air that smells better. In fact, some contaminants won’t survive without having access to ample amounts of moisture.

If you currently suffer from a health condition like asthma or allergies, an air purifier might be useful for you. The same is true if you want to get rid of any pet dander or allergens in your home. A dehumidifier might be right for you and your home if you would like to get rid of dust mites, eliminate a musty smell in the air, or reduce the amount of mold growing around your home’s foundation or basement.

If you would like to know more about the differences between air purifiers and dehumidifiers, our experts at Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling can answer any question you have. We can also assist you in selecting upgrades to the heating and cooling units in your home. At Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, we can change your air filter, create a planned service agreement, perform an energy audit, and repair or install heating and cooling systems. Call Bel-Aire Heating & Cooling, serving western Michigan, for additional information.

company icon