Electronic air filters: looking for info on problems with them

I’ve heard that electronic air filters lose efficiency rapidly in smoky or dusty environments, with some needing plates to be washed every 3 days. Also that they’re real noisy when dirty. That I know is true.

Also heard that they can put too much ozone into the air… a problem for those with asthma, weakened immune systems or lung disease.

I’m looking for a creditable place to confirm all this and any other possible problems with them. Anybody know of one?

Kenton: I know of no link other and google it the MFG is sure not going to state what you are asking as it is all negative in their sales eyes.

I have worked on numerous electronic filters over the years and use to service ones installed above a very large paper printer and collator tons of paper dust produced and your figures of cleaning every 3 days are not realistic at all as I used to clean the ones mentioned once a month and they were alway dirty. I have not a clue as to how much ozone released

This is for something I’m writing on healthy homes, so it’s a general information article.
The 3-day number was for one particular brand which I found during a search. Another search result mentioned the elevated levels of ozone produced. I’m looking for studies conducted on electronic air filters so that the article will be credible.

I’m looking for general information about electronic air filters for something I’m writing. My first post was the result of online searching.


Just in case you didn’t find these in your web search from theE PA and the American Lung Association:




The early units (Honeywell,Trion,etc) were a maintenance and service reliability nightmare. They were expensive, could and usually were noisey, and I can’t remember a Serv.Tech. who ever wanted to work on them.
I can remember 2nd an 3rd generation EAC’s having similar problems.

I’ve really enjoyed my April-aire 5" pleated filter system. Non-mechanical, quiet operation, electrostatic characteristics, recommended filter-media replacement every 9-12 months, good MERV ratings. Cost Effective.

Whole house HEPA Filter system. Seen one system in operation. Spoke to homeowner after installation and operation for about 3 months. He likes the system OK, but compared to his previous April-aire system…and wait till you see the price tag of one installed. New Const. installs are a little cheaper than Retrofit installs
I enjoy clean air as much as the next person, but…

They seem like a bad idea from a maintenance standpoint. What do you think about them strictly from a health standpoint?

Whole house HEPA systems are available with pleated filters. Depending on where one lives, I think they’re generally a great idea if one can afford it.


I had one for many years in a previous home. It was a thin model that replaces the normal filter. I think it was a ClearDay. Other than having to wash is out once a month or so it worked great. I would smell Ozone in the house sometimes.

Kenton have you tried any of the consumer watch/testing groups that seem to document the type of info you are looking for.

Just the CSPC. It’s the only one I can find except for a lot of state consumer protection sites, none of which mentioned electronic air filters. Maybe they’re not really a health concern.

Kenton, did you already have the info in post #5?

I did Michael, but neglected to thank you for taking the time to post it. Sorry, thanks!

No problem:-) I was only concerned hat you might have missed the post.


1st choice - would be what I have installed now, the Aprilaire Pleated Electrstatic Air Filter system. (Approx.$400.installed on each system)

2nd choice - The HEPA Whole House Bag Filter system. Appears extremely efficient. I don’t know much more than that about the system. (Est’s of $1800 - $4000. installed on each system)

3rd choice - Save your money and go with a $7 pleated 1" throwaway pleated filter.


This is an article on healthy homes in which I need to provide source information if I’m going to tell people to avoid a product.

This kind of sums up your dilemma.

Chapter 5: Conclusions http://www.lungusa.org/site/pp.asp?c=dvLUK9O0E&b=39311

The limited available studies reviewed in this paper do not provide enough information to come to a conclusion about the health benefits of air cleaners. Because of the small number of studies and small sample sizes examined, there is not yet enough scientific evidence on the use of air cleaners as a means of avoiding the adverse effects of indoor air pollution. They do, however, provide some insight into circumstances when air cleaners may be beneficial. Overall, the American Lung Association recommends that proven source control strategies be employed as a primary means of reducing exposure to pollutants. However, physical studies which do not measure health effects do show that certain air cleaners are effective in removing certain indoor air pollutants. Thus, as an adjunct to effective source control and adequate ventilation, highly efficient air cleaners can be useful in further reducing levels of certain indoor air pollutants. More research on the health benefits of air cleaners is needed to provide complete evidence that would better address the circumstances of intended use. Manufacturers, clinicians, government agencies, and private industries can all assist with providing and interpreting this research in order to better inform the public.



Insuffcient data to tell if they do any Darn good. Further evaluation recommended.:wink:

Thanks, Mike. I read this one a little more closely this time and it does, indeed. In writing about healthy homes I’ve run into this dilemma in a number of areas.
Multiple Chemical Sensitivity is one, sensitivity to electromagnetic fields is another. I’m going to jump into a new thread (same forum) with this.
Thanks again.

Sorry, I can’t give any factual info. All I have gotten is anecdotal info from HVAC companies that they are bad.