Ashburn, VA

How much does a whole-house air purifier cost to install?

$400 – $4,000 whole-house air cleaning system cost
$500 – $1,800 portable home air purifier cost

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November 29, 2021

Reviewed by Tom Grupa and 4 expert HVAC companies on HomeGuide.

Whole-house air purifier cost

A whole-house air purifier costs $400 to $4,000, depending on the type of filtration system, efficiency rating, and labor to install or retrofit. HEPA filter systems cost $1,000 to $4,000 with installation and are the most effective at removing dust and allergens from the air.

Whole-house air purifier cost - chart
Whole-house air purifier cost - chart

Whole-house air purifier cost
Filter type Installed cost
Flat filter $10 – $70
Electronic filter $500 – $2,000
Extended media filter $400 – $800
HEPA filtration system $1,000 – $4,000
UV light filter $400 – $800
UV light hybrid system $1,200 – $3,000
Portable home air purifier* $500 – $1,800

*Installation not required.

Whole-home air purifiers remove dust, allergens, germs, pet hair, dander, smoke, mold spores, and other indoor air pollution using filters to improve indoor air quality.

Whole-house air filters are installed within the existing ductwork or attach to the HVAC system. Portable air purifiers are standalone units.

Average cost to install a central air purification system

The following table shows the average cost to install a whole-house air purifier in a central air conditioning system.

Average cost to install a whole-air air filtration system - chart
Average cost to install a whole-air air filtration system - chart

Average cost to install a central air purification system
National average cost $1,300
Minimum cost $100
Maximum cost $5,000
Average cost range $400 to $4,000

Cost data is from research and project costs reported by HomeGuide members.

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Whole-house air filtration system costs by type

Whole-house air filtration systems cost $100 to $3,000 for the unit alone, depending on the filter type, size, and brand.

Whole-house air filtration system cost
Type Average cost
Flat filter $10 – $70
Electronic filter $300 – $1,000
Extended media filter $100 – $300
HEPA filtration system $600 – $3,000
UV light filter $200 – $400
UV light hybrid system $800 – $1,800
Portable home air purifier $500 – $1,800

*Not including installation

  • Single-function systems like flat and extended media filters are the cheapest but don't capture smaller particles.
  • Multi-stage HEPA and UV light hybrid systems cost the most and remove the smallest particles.

Whole-house air purifier and filtration system up close
Whole-house air purifier and filtration system up close

Flat filter cost

A flat filter costs $10 to $70 and traps more particles than a standard furnace filter, including dust, pollen, pet dander, and mold spores. Flat filters are the cheapest but least effective option and should be replaced every 1 to 3 months for the best performance. Flat filters are easily DIY replaceable.

HEPA filter cost

A whole-house HEPA filter system costs $1,000 to $4,000 installed or $600 to $3,000 for the system alone. HEPA air purifiers force air through a mesh to trap 99.97% of airborne particles and irritants, including dust, pollen, smoke, bacteria, and some viruses. Dense HEPA filters may restrict the HVAC system's airflow.

Extended media filter prices

An extended media air filter costs $400 to $800 installed or $100 to $300 for the filter alone. The filter box attaches to the existing ductwork and holds thick pleated material that removes particles from the air. Installing a media filter cabinet may require retrofitting the existing HVAC system.

Select a media filter with an activated carbon coating for enhanced odor absorption.

Electronic / electrostatic precipitators filter cost

An electronic filter costs $500 to $2,000 installed or $300 to $1,000 for the filter alone. Electronic filters use an electrostatically charged metal plate that acts like a magnet to attract and trap airborne particulates. Wash the filter plates every 3 to 6 months with a household cleaner.

Ultraviolet (UV) light filter cost

An ultraviolet (UV) filter costs $400 to $800 installed or $200 to $400 for the filter alone. Ultraviolet filters use UV light to destroy contaminants like mold and germs but are ineffective against dust, allergens, gases, and smoke. Replacement UV bulbs cost $20 to $70 and should be changed annually.

UV light hybrid filter system

A UV light hybrid filter system costs $1,200 to $3,000 installed or $800 to $1,800 for the system alone. UV hybrid systems combine the germ-killing function of ultraviolet light with the particle-capturing of a mechanical filter. Hybrid units are ideal for homeowners with breathing issues.

Portable home air purifier

Portable home air filters cost $500 to $1,800. Portable purifiers are standalone units designed for homes with no HVAC system and require no installation. Replacement filters for portable units cost $40 to $100 and should be changed annually.

When purchasing, check the suggested room size and the Clean Air Delivery Rate (CADR) numbers on the label. The CADR indicates how quickly the unit filters dust, pollen, and tobacco.

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Whole-house HVAC air purifier cost by brand

Whole-house HVAC air purifier prices depend on the brand and type of system.

Whole-house HVAC air purifier cost by brand
Brand Price range
Aprilaire $600 – $1,000
Carrier Infinity Air $1,000 – $1,100
Field Controls $300 – $800
Generalaire $300 – $700
Honeywell $500 – $800
Lennox PureAir $600 – $1,000
Patriot PCO $1,000 – $1,100
Reme Halo $400 – $500
Respicaire Oxy 4 $700 – $1,200
Trane Cleaneffects $800 – $900

*Not including installation

  • HVAC purifiers must constantly run to be effective. Look for brands with Energy Star certification to reduce energy costs.
  • Many brands offer warranties of 1, 5, or 10 years. Warranties are void if a licensed contractor does not install the system.
Ozone generators, also called portable ionization units, are not recommended by the EPA or the American Lung Association. They produce ozone gas, which may cause health problems at high concentrations.

Whole-home air scrubber cost factors

The following factors affect the cost of installing a whole-home air cleaner:

  • Air filter type and efficiency – Filters with a higher efficiency rating cost more. Homeowners with pets, allergies, or respiratory issues should choose a high-efficiency filter.
  • HVAC location and accessibility – Labor costs more for systems in difficult-to-access locations like attics and crawlspaces.
  • An HVAC inspection costs $150 to $500 and is recommended to identify any system or ductwork problems before installing a whole-home filter.
  • Ductwork replacement costs $270 to $500 per duct run and may be necessary to accommodate the new filtration system.
  • Duct cleaning costs $300 to $700 on average or $25 to $45 per vent.
  • Electrical outlet installation costs $140 to $165 if needed to power the air filtration system.
  • HVAC replacement costs $5,000 to $11,000. Consider installing the whole-house air filter at the same time the HVAC system is replaced to reduce costs for retrofitting.
  • Replacement filters cost $10 to $200, depending on the system type. Filters must be replaced more often in homes with excessive dust, tobacco smoke, pollen, or pet dander.
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Frequently asked questions

How do house air filters work?

House air filters are installed in an existing HVAC system. Air flows through the ductwork and passes through the filter or purification device, removing pollutants like dust, pollen, mold spores, and odors. The filtered air circulates back to the vents throughout the home.

Is a whole-home air purifier worth it?

A whole-home air purifier is worth the investment for homeowners with allergies, asthma, or pets. Breathing cleaner air may improve overall health for people with respiratory conditions. Homeowners in highly polluted urban areas or regions affected by wildfire smoke will benefit from reduced toxins and better air quality.

What is the best whole-home air purifier?

The best whole-home air purifier depends on the budget, location, and whether the homeowner has pets, allergies, or respiratory conditions.

  • A flat filter is the cheapest and least effective type but may be enough for some homes.
  • Extended media and electronic filters cost more but filter more dust, pollen, mold, and pet dander. Homes in extreme pollen zones need filters with higher filtration rates.
  • Homes with tobacco smoke or other odors require activated carbon filters.

Can you install a whole-house air cleaner system without an HVAC system?

Whole-house air cleaner systems are installed in the home's forced-air HVAC system, typically at the air intake point or within the air duct path. Standalone portable air purifiers are available for homes without an HVAC system.

What MERV rating should I use for my home air filter?

Filters with a Minimum Efficiency Reporting Value (MERV) rating of 5 to 8 are recommended for home use and remove 50% to 85% of particles, including pollen, dust, pet dander, and mold spores. Medical facilities, mechanical shops, and smoking lounges use higher MERV-rated filters.

MERV rating for air filters
MERV rating Description Filtering efficiency and particle size Impact on HVAC airflow
1 – 4
  • Basic filter that traps pollen, carpet fibers, and dust mites
  • < 20% (3 – 10 micron)
Little or no impact on HVAC airflow
5 – 8
  • Best option for most homes.
  • Blocks common pollutants, including dust, pollen, and some mold spores
  • 50% – 85%  (3 – 10 micron)
Slight restriction of HVAC airflow
9 – 12
  • Removes fine dust, pet dander, smog, and most mold spores
  • Good for allergy sufferers
  • 85% – 90%  (3 – 10 micron)
  • 50% – 89% (1 – 3 micron)
Some noticeable restriction of HVAC airflow
13 – 16
  • Filters the smallest particles, including bacteria, viruses, smoke, and fumes
  • Used in commercial and hospital settings or smoking spaces
  • 90% or more (1 – 10 micron)
  • 75% – 95% (0.3 – 1 micron)
Greatest restriction of HVAC airflow
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Finding and hiring an air purifier installer

Before hiring a whole-house air filter installer, be sure to:

  • Look for an HVAC contractor that has been in business for more than five years.
  • Browse their reviews on HomeGuide, Google, and the Better Business Bureau (BBB).
  • Get at least three estimates to compare. Be sure the equipment in the estimates is comparable.
  • Avoid selecting the lowest quote as quality may suffer.
  • Get a detailed estimate, contract, and warranty in writing before the work begins.
  • Never pay in full before the project starts. Follow a payment plan instead for work completed.

Questions to ask

  • What experience do you have installing whole-house air purifiers?
  • Which air filtration system do you recommend and why?
  • Which method(s) of purification does the system use to reduce pollutants?
  • Will this system reduce allergens, mold spores, and gases?
  • Does the system use replaceable filters? If yes, how much do they cost, and how often should I replace them?
  • Do you offer a free estimate?
  • What is and is not included in the installation fee?
  • What additional costs should I expect?
  • How long will the installation take?
  • Is there a warranty? If yes, what does it include?

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