Note: For those of you who want to install the HVAC UV lights by yourself, we filtered most lights in stock this week and publish a post: Best HVAC UV Lights For DIY (Updated on April 25th, 2020). We will update this list every week as some products could be out of stock due to a notable boost in sales recently.
Indoor air contains up to 5 times more pollutants than fresh outdoor air!
That shocking bit of information from the US EPA is enough to have us all considering air cleaners for our homes.
That’s why we completed a comprehensive guide to the three types of air purifiers/cleaners. Pros, cons and costs are given in detail. It includes our “Pollution Solution for Any Home.”
So, is spending $1,000-$1,300 for the Trane CleanEffects Whole House Air Filtration System a good value? Does it do a better job than a thick filter would?
We Don’t Recommend Trane CleanEffects
Your time is valuable, so there’s the answer right off the bat. A high-MERV filter is the preferred alternative.
We come to that conclusion for these reasons. There are full details later in this report.
- Price: The upfront CleanEffects cost is $1,000 to $1,300.
- Energy Cost: Annual energy cost is $50 to $125 depending on the schedule you establish for how frequently it runs.
- Maintenance: The unit is difficult or costly to clean, take your pick. Trane recommends having it professionally cleaned, and that won’t be cheap.
- Performance: While it does a good job cleaning air when new or freshly cleaned, the Trane CleanEffects’ performance drops dramatically after a few months compared with other air cleaners and methods.
Note: The American Standard AccuClean is the same thing with a different name.
What Type Air Purifier is Trane Clean Effects?
There are three components inside the CleanEffects case, all explained in the image above.
- The pre-filter traps large particles to prevent them from gumming up the electronic filter. The pre-filter is easy to remove and clean with a vacuum brush attachment.
- The second filter is an electronic air cleaner. It positively charges particles, so that they cling to the collection cells. As you can see, Trane states professional cleaning of the field charger is essential. Online videos show how to clean it, but most homeowners report it is a difficult and dangerous job. The danger comes from needle-like pins on the charging unit. This video produced by Trane called Cleaning Trane CleanEffects shows technicians how to do it. The pins are shown at 1:06 of the video.
- The collection cells are negatively charged for collecting the positively charged dust and debris down to .03 microns. That would be impressive, if it could maintain that level of performance. It doesn’t, as test results below clearly show.
Video Explanation of the Trane CleanEffects
This video made by Jackson Air is a positive overview of the unit. Keep in mind that Jackson Air is a Trane dealer and makes an excellent profit margin on selling and installing them. We share it to provide you with the information needed to make a good decision for your home.
If you search Trane CleanEffects or AccuClean, you’ll find the 2007 recall. The issue has been corrected.
According to the Consumer Products Safety Commission, “Electrical arcing inside the collection cells can cause the collection cell material to overheat or ignite, posing a fire hazard.”
The recall involves air filtration systems with serial numbers prior to 7222***** and includes:
TFD145ALFR000A, TFD14DALFR000A, TFD215ALAH000A, TFD175ALFR000A, TFD17DALFR000A, TFD235ALAH000A, TFD210ALFR000A, TFD21DALFR000A, TFD260ALAH000A, TFD245ALFR000A, TFD24DALFR000A
AFD145ALFR000A, AFD14DALFR000A, AFD215ALAH000A, AFD175ALFR000A, AFD17DALFR000A, AFD235ALAH000A, AFD210ALFR000A, AFD21DALFR000A, AFD260ALAH000A, AFD245ALFR000A
Model and Serial Numbers are found on the inside of the unit’s door.
If you have – or know anyone that has – an old unit, it should be turned off immediately, and the Model/Serial Number should be checked.
If it’s a recalled unit, have it removed. Just turning it off won’t prevent a future tragedy if someone turns it back on and a fire occurs.
Why We Don’t Recommend Trane CleanEffects
Here are more details on the reasons given for giving CleanEffects and AccuClean a “thumbs down.”
It’s too expensive: The unit costs about $800. Installation cost is $200 or more if installed when the ductwork is installed. Retrofit installation can cost $500 or more, since ductwork must be cut, re-sized and reconnected.
Then, your energy bill will go up by as much as $10 per month. Finally, you’ll pay an HVAC technician a service call fee of $75 to $150 to clean it!
Even at these costs, if it worked well, it might be worth the money for those with asthma or allergies.
Its long-term performance is poor: Trane boasts that CleanEffects removes up to 99.8% of particles. Data from independent testing of CleanEffects and three competitors is shown in the graph below, and it verifies the Trane unit’s good initial performance.
It has the BEST particle removal when new.
It has the WORST particle removal after just 2 months!
The three other brands GET BETTER with time. Sorry for shouting, but those are dramatic results. The 6-month results are even worse.
Meanwhile, it is the most air-restrictive of the four, despite Trane’s claims.
If you want to read the report, it is here.
Maybe it’s piling on at this point, but note that Trane makes what seams to be a boast on the CleanEffects product page.
Remove up to 99.98% of airborne particles with our air cleaner for your home and say goodbye to worrying about breathing in harmful bacteria or allergens.
Verified by Harvard experts
Trane CleanEffects™ has been performance-tested by LMS Technologies and Environmental Health & Engineering, Inc. (EH&E), with the results verified by professors from the Harvard School of Public Health, so you know you are getting an air cleaner for your home like no other.
Trane is referring to the very report that includes these graphs! In fact, it is unclear where Trane came up with the 99.98% number. Thin air? It’s not in the report, which shows a best percentage for any size particle of 99.8%.
There is no mention of its First to Worst collapse in the same testing.
Alternative to CleanEffects
If you want an electronic air cleaner, then the three others in the study are superior.
- Luxaire Acclimate
- Carrier Infinity
- Honeywell F300 (but it’s an energy hog)
Remember to browse our Whole House Air Purifier Report for a wealth of useful buying advice. An electronic or combination air cleaner is probably only needed in homes with a combination people with breathing issues like allergies, asthma or COPD and pets or a large volume of dust and dirt.
The MERV option: A high-MERV media filter is a more affordable choice. We recommend them for households without members that have breathing troubles. MERV is Minimum Efficiency Rating Value and refers to how effectively the filter traps particles.
A MERV rating of 8 or above should be enough to reduce common pollutants in most homes. Beware that filters with a MERV rating of 12 or higher are quite thick. They can restrict airflow to the point of reducing system efficiency and indoor comfort, and they might ultimately damage your furnace or air handler.
Talk with a trusted HVAC pro about your whole-house air purifying equipment. If you’d like to get estimates and have questions answered from some of the top technicians in your area, our Free Local Quotes service is quick and convenient. There is no obligation or cost to you. The technicians are pre-screened to remove the guesswork from finding a reliable indoor air quality and heating/cooling expert.