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Indoor Air Quality (IAQ)

Air Cleaners and Air Filters in the Home

The most effective ways to improve your indoor air are to reduce or remove the sources of pollutants and to ventilate with clean outdoor air. In addition, research shows that filtration can be an effective supplement to source control and ventilation. Using a portable air cleaner and/or upgrading the air filter in your furnace or central heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning (HVAC) system can help to improve indoor air quality. Portable air cleaners, also known as air purifiers or air sanitizers, are designed to filter the air in a single room or area. Central furnace or HVAC filters are designed to filter air throughout a home. Portable air cleaners and HVAC filters can reduce indoor air pollution; however, they cannot remove all pollutants from the air.

The following publications provide information on portable air cleaners and on HVAC and furnace filters commonly used in homes.

Cover to Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home

Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home, 2nd edition, August 2018
Portable Air Cleaners, Furnace and HVAC Filters

The short consumer guide covers portable air cleaners and furnace or HVAC filters used in a home. It includes tips for selecting a portable air cleaner, furnace filter, or HVAC filter.

View the technical assistance webinar Dealing with Dust in the Wind: EPA Guidance for Consumers About Air Cleaners presented by Terry Brennan (Camroden Associates) and Lew Harriman (Mason-Grant Consulting) on the EPA YouTube channel for an overview of the Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home.

Cover of air cleaner technical summary

Residential Air Cleaners: A Technical Summary, 3rd edition, August 2018
Portable Air Cleaners, Furnace and HVAC Filters

The longer technical guide focuses on air cleaners for residential use; it does not address air cleaners used in large or commercial structures such as office buildings, schools, large apartment buildings, or public buildings. In addition to providing general information about the types of pollutants affected by air cleaners, this document discusses the types of air-cleaning devices and technologies available, metrics that can be used to compare air-cleaning devices, the effectiveness of air-cleaning devices in removing indoor air pollutants, and information from intervention studies on the effects that air cleaners can have on health and on health markers.

View the technical assistance webinar The Technical Details: EPA Guidance for Residential Air Cleaners presented by Terry Brennan (Camroden Associates) and Lew Harriman (Mason-Grant Consulting) on the EPA YouTube channel for an overview of Residential Air Cleaners: A Technical Summary.

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  • Guide to Air Cleaners in the Home, 2nd edition (printable) (PDF)(7 pp, 3 MB, August 2018)
    The short consumer guide covers portable air cleaners and furnace or HVAC filters used in a home. It includes tips for selecting a portable air cleaner, furnace filter, or HVAC filter.
  • Residential Air Cleaners: A Technical Summary, 3rd edition (printable) (PDF)(74 pp, 7 MB, August 2018)
    The longer technical summary provides general information about the types of pollutants affected by air cleaners; the types of air-cleaning devices and technologies available; metrics that can be used to compare air-cleaning devices; the effectiveness of air-cleaning devices in removing indoor air pollutants; and information from intervention studies on the effects that air cleaners can have on health and on health markers.
  • Harriman, Stephens, Brennan - New Guidance for Residential Air Cleaners- ASHRAE Journal Sep 2019 (PDF)(8 pp, 2 MB, Sep 2019)
    Used with permission from the American Society of Heating, Refrigerating and Air-Conditioning Engineers (ASHRAE) Journal. This article may not be copied nor distributed in either paper or digital form without ASHRAE’s permission. For more information about ASHRAE, visit www.ashrae.org.