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

Indoor air quality is something to keep in mind for every home. If your home doesn’t have the right air quality products, indoor air is frequently two to five times less healthy compared to outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods to choose from, how do you determine which one is ideal for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two popular methods—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are used to increase indoor air quality by removing dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also collect odor-causing molecules for a clean scent. Air purifiers come in a portable form, which means they can only be used in one room at a time.

There are different types of air purifiers, including mechanical filters, activated carbon filters, ozone generators, electronic air purifiers, and ionization systems. They all function slightly differently, but the goal is the same—to filter out airborne substances. However, once allergens fall to the floor, purifiers can no longer catch and remove them.

One underlying problem with a number of air purifiers is that they generate ozone. Whether in its pure form or combined with other chemicals, ozone can be hazardous to health. Breathing ozone weakens lung function and intensifies the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, since a homeowner would only use an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not hurt it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance, homeowners are encouraged to take advantage of proven ways of controlling indoor air pollution. These methods include eliminating or controlling pollutant sources, increasing outdoor air ventilation and using any proven methods of air cleaning that doesn’t intensify or create 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 eliminates bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization method in hospitals and food production for a very long time. When placed in your HVAC system, UV lights can drastically enhance indoor air quality.

The process is surprisingly simple: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs continuously. Every time the air conditioner or furnace activates, indoor air containing particles moves through the light. Airborne microorganisms are deactivated in under 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die shortly after UVC exposure. It is advised that UV lights be used in conjunction with both high efficiency filtration and ventilation devices. All three work in unison to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Best?

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning recommends installing UV lights for the highest possible indoor air quality. This solution can bring relief to those dealing with asthma and allergies, especially in warm, humid settings where microorganisms flourish. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Clean the air in your entire home
  • Eradicate most viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Enhance your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Prevent the potential of creating ozone

If you believe a UV germicidal light is best for your home, talk with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can suggest the perfect combination of systems based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Remember, you should still use an HVAC air filtration system to remove dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights won't affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about these air cleaning methods, or to schedule a free home health consultation, call us at 239-908-6991 today!

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