Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights: What's Best for My Needs?

Indoor air quality is a concern for every household. Without the right air quality products, indoor air is frequently two to five times more polluted compared to outdoor air. But with a large number of air cleaning methods available, how do you learn which one is correct for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two quality methods—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are built to improve indoor air quality by trapping dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also capture odor-causing molecules for a pleasant scent. Air purifiers are available in a portable form, which means they can only work in one room at a time.

There are different types of air purifiers, such as mechanical filters, activated carbon filters, ozone generators, electronic air purifiers, and ionization systems. They all work slightly differently, but the goal is the same—to trap airborne particles. However, once allergens drift down to the floor, purifiers can no longer trap and remove them.

One common problem with a number of air purifiers is that they create ozone. Whether in its raw form or blended with other chemicals, ozone can be hazardous to health. Being exposed to ozone decreases lung function and enhances the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, considering that a homeowner would only install an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not weaken it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance, homeowners are advised to use proven ways of controlling indoor air pollution. These methods include phasing out or controlling pollutant sources, bolstering outdoor air ventilation and using any proven methods of air cleaning that doesn’t intensify or generate ozone.

How Do UV Lights Work?

Ultraviolet-C (UVC) rays are the highest energy portion of the UV radiation spectrum. This type of light is called germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and wipes out bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization system in hospitals and food production for many years. When placed in your HVAC system, UV lights can greatly improve indoor air quality.

The process is quite uncomplicated: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs continuously. Every time the air conditioner or furnace turns on, indoor air containing pollutants drifts through the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated after just 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die shortly after UVC exposure. It is suggested that UV lights be installed in addition to both high efficiency filtration and ventilation equipment. All three work together to give you the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Recommended?

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning encourages you to consider installing UV lights for the highest possible indoor air quality. This solution can provide relief to those dealing with asthma and allergies, particularly in warm, humid climates where microorganisms prosper. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Filter the air in your entire home
  • Eliminate most viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Extend your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Avoid the likelihood of generating ozone

If you believe a UV germicidal light is right for your home, talk with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can suggest the ideal combination of products based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Remember, you should still install an HVAC air filtration system to collect dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights don’t affect non-living allergens. To learn more about different air cleaning methods, or to request a free home health consultation, call us at 303-647-5853 right away!

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