Thinking Of Getting A Central Air Freshener System? Think Again.

The idea of a central air freshener system that connects to your main air conditioning vents and freshens your whole house sounds great on paper. There’s just one problem: In practice, most central air fresheners don’t work very well.

Let me explain:

Why Central Air Fresheners Don’t Work So Great

In order to produce a new fragrance in the air, you need to diffuse some sort of scented particles throughout the area where you want the scent to be. The scent is only in the area when the scented particles are floating around in the air. When adding fragrances to a single room in a house, there are all sorts of great options that work well for this.

The problem with trying to add a scent your whole house at once is that there’s simply too much area to cover. The scented particles get spread too thin by the absolutely massive amount of air flow that is pushed through the HVAC (air conditioning) system.

Although there are products that can add scents to your central air conditioning system, and scent your whole house, people who use them universally complain that the scent simply doesn’t last very long. At best, the scent will last for 2-3 weeks. At worst, it will be gone in a few days.

The large air flow through the central air system “uses up” all the scented particles. This means that if you want constant fragrance coming from your air vents, you will have to replace the scented solution of your choice every 1-2 weeks or so.

When Central Air Freshening Makes Sense To Use Anyways

If you are okay with replacing your central air freshener every few weeks, then maybe you still want to try it. Otherwise, I would only recommend using it when you really want to clean up the house for a limited time.

The perfect time to use one of the central air fresheners listed below is when guests are coming to stay at your house for a limited time, such as a few days. The central air freshener will help your whole house smell great, which will alleviate some of your concerns about cleaning up so much while they’re around.

What Are My Options?

There are a few options for adding scents to your central air system.

Let’s take a look:

Option #1: Scented Diffusers That Attach To Your Already Existing Air Filter

These are the most convenient way of adding a scent to your central air system, because they don’t require you to find a whole new air filter that fits the size of your intake vent.

Instead, you just get one of these scented attachments and clip it to your already existing air filter. The scent will diffuse into the air intake vent and throughout your house.

People who use these generally say that the scent will only last for a matter of days. The good news is that there are several scents to choose from:

There’s another similar line of products that are produced by a different brand. They work in exactly the same way, by attaching to your central air filter. They have several different scents available, which you can see all on the same page. Most reviewers seem to agree that the scent lasts 2-3 weeks before fading into obscurity. Take a look:

Option #2: Pre-Scented Air Filters

Everyone has an air filter that guards the intake vent for their central air conditioning system. Usually these filters have no scent, but some companies make scented versions that will add a scent to the air passing through them that then blows out into your house.

As I said above, most users complain that the scent only lasts a few weeks before fading away. But this could still be a good choice for when you’re expecting company over, or have some kind of event going on at your house.

There aren’t many brands of pre-scented air filter available, but I did find one listing that you can order online:

Option #3: Do It Yourself (The Cheapest Option)

Did you know that you can add a scent to your own air filter, without needing a special product?

All you do is get a bottle of scented oils and pour some of it onto your air filter. The air filter will absorb the scented oil, then exude the chosen scent into your air filter.

Just like the above options, this scent probably won’t last more than a few days at most. However, doing it yourself has the benefit that you can choose exactly how strong you want the scent to be. Just add more drops of essential oil into your air filter to make the scent strong.

If you want to try it out yourself, essential oils can be purchased quite cheaply. Take a look at our recommended oils below:

Option #4: Odor Removal Only (Not Adding A New Scent)

If you want your whole house to smell good, perhaps you don’t need to add a new scent to the air filter. Perhaps what you really need instead is an air filter that removes bad odors.

A normal air filter does not capture all odor particles that pass through it. It only captures “big” particles like dust and dander. In order to capture odor-causing particles, you need an activated carbon air filter. The molecular structure of the carbon causes odor particles to “stick” to it, effectively sucking them out of the air like a magnet.

I recommend getting a cut-to-fit activated carbon filter, listed below. This filter is designed to be cut with scissors to fit any size of vent, meaning you don’t need to worry about accidentally getting the wrong size.

Important to note is that you should not use one of these if you are also using a separate air freshener to add scents to your home. The carbon filter will suck all the smelly molecules out of the air, including the ones that smell good. Here’s our recommended carbon filter for your central air system:

Isn’t There ANYTHING That Can Freshen My Whole House And Do A Good Job?

If you absolutely must freshen a very large space, such as your living room plus kitchen plus dining room, then I don’t recommend trying to use your central air system.

Instead, you should get a heavy duty aroma diffuser.

A typical small, cheap aroma diffuser will add a nice fragrance to one small or medium sized room. But there are larger, more serious aroma diffusers that cost more and can really stink up your whole house, in a good way.

Let’s take a look at our aroma diffuser options: