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

Indoor air quality is something to keep in mind for every household. If you lack adequate air quality products, indoor air is often two to five times more polluted compared to outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods on the market, how do you determine which one is right for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two top options—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 pleasant scent. Air purifiers can be found in a portable form, which means they can only work in one room at a time.

There are many 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 capture airborne particulates. However, once allergens fall to the floor, purifiers can no longer capture and remove them.

One common problem with several air purifiers is that they produce ozone. Whether in its pure form or blended with other chemicals, ozone can be detrimental to health. Breathing ozone weakens lung function and increases the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, since a homeowner would only purchase an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not make it worse! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations, homeowners are advised to use proven methods of reducing indoor air pollution. These methods include phasing out or controlling pollutant sources, adding outdoor air ventilation and using any proven methods of air cleaning that doesn’t intensify or produce 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 considered germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and kills bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization method in hospitals and food production for many years. When added to your HVAC system, UV lights can dramatically increase indoor air quality.

The process is very simple: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs continuously. Any time the air conditioner or furnace turns on, indoor air containing particles drifts through the light. Airborne microorganisms are deactivated in under 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die soon after UVC exposure. It is encouraged that UV lights be utilized in conjunction with both high efficiency filtration and ventilation accessories. All three work in tandem to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Better?

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning suggest installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can bring relief to anyone struggling with asthma and allergies, especially in warm, humid regions where microorganisms flourish. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Filter the air in your entire home
  • Eliminate the majority of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Increase your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Minimize the potential of producing ozone

If you believe a UV germicidal light is best for your home, discuss it with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can point you to the ideal combination of products based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Remember, you should still use an HVAC air filtration system to trap dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights can’t affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about different air cleaning methods, or to request a free home health consultation, call us at 925-364-5427 right away!

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