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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every home. If you lack adequate air quality products, indoor air is likely to be two to five times more contaminated compared to outdoor air. But with a large number of air cleaning methods available, how do you recognize which one is ideal for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two top choices—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

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

There are many types of air purifiers, like mechanical filters, activated carbon filters, ozone generators, electronic air purifiers, and ionization systems. They all work somewhat differently, but the goal is the same—to capture airborne pollutants. However, once allergens fall to the floor, purifiers can no longer catch and remove them.

One common side-effect with several air purifiers is that they create ozone. Whether in its pure form or combined with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health. Being exposed to ozone decreases lung function and escalates the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, because 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 rely on proven ways of managing indoor air pollution. These methods include removing 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 called germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and kills bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization mechanism in hospitals and food production for a very long time. When placed in your HVAC system, UV lights can drastically increase indoor air quality.

The process is very straightforward: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your air ducts, where it runs constantly. Each time the air conditioner or furnace starts, indoor air containing particulates blows near the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated after just 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die quickly after UVC exposure. It is suggested that UV lights be used in conjunction with both high efficiency filtration and ventilation accessories. All three work in tandem to give you the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Best?

Fras-Air/General Service Experts recommends installing UV lights for maximum indoor air quality. This solution can provide relief to anyone dealing with asthma and allergies, namely in warm, humid regions where microorganisms thrive. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Improve the air in your entire home
  • Eliminate most viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Lengthen your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Prevent the possibility of generating ozone

If you think a UV germicidal light is right for your home, talk with one of our indoor air quality specialists today. We can suggest the ideal combination of equipment based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Remember, you should still install an HVAC air filtration system to trap dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights won't affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about these air cleaning methods, or to arrange a free home health consultation, call us at 908-448-2154 today!

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