Today, getting fresh air into your home can be sourced from many options on the market – from consumer grade “air purifiers” that sit in the corner of your room to UV light powered systems to whole home fresh air exchange and purification. Many readily available (and some inexpensive) options though, do not always provide proper solutions.

Let’s talk about the pros and cons of the most common systems.

Opening your windows. The most basic of tactics – allowing for air flow through your home by opening windows – can certainly help to exchange fresh air into your home. This however, can bring the potential to openly and freely allow allergens and pollutants inside.

It’s a simple way to add air circulation, but it might cause your current systems to work overtime to make up the difference in hot or cold air temperature ranges.

At home “air purifier” towers and fans. Sometimes also sold as “ionic air fans or purifiers,” most units don’t include any sort of filtration system whatsoever. That means any dust, pet dander and air contaminants that enter the back of your fan exit straight out of the front of the unit and are recirculated throughout your home.

These units can help with moving air but they don’t address air freshness or contaminant removal efforts.

Professionally installed “fresh air ventilation or air exchange” systems. Designed as a long-life, low-maintenance method for air movement, these exchange systems take in air from outside your home while expelling stale air from inside your home.

The end result is more appropriate levels of humidity and “fresh air” inside your home. This system also can work with your HVAC equipment in heating or cooling modes. They can help to reduce your energy costs, but offer more assistance with “fresh air” problems than they do with air purification.

Whole home air filtration systems. Integrated into your air handler and/or HVAC system as a whole, entire home air filtration systems often combine multiple types of air filtration. This usually includes: 1. a carbon-based filter system for filtering outdoor air sources; 2. HEPA air filters for removal of airborne particles; and 3. UV lights to assist in the near complete eradication of common microbial contaminants in your air.

These systems can be especially useful in making the air in your home safer and more breathable for pet dander, bacteria and/or major allergy concerns. A whole home air filtration can be more costly than those mentioned above to initially implement – but these hybrid systems are the gold standard for fresh, clean and safe air inside your home and are worth the investment.

Dave Miller, owner of Superior Services, has been providing whole-home services for more than 20 years in the Lowcountry.