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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every household. Without the proper air quality products, indoor air is frequently two to five times more contaminated over outdoor air. But with a large number of air cleaning methods on the market, how do you learn which one is best for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two popular choices—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are designed to improve indoor air quality by removing dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also capture odor-causing molecules for a pleasant scent. Air purifiers come in a portable form, which means they can only be used 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 trap airborne pollutants. However, once allergens drift down to the floor, purifiers can no longer trap and remove them.

One common side-effect with many air purifiers is that they create ozone. Whether in its natural form or combined with other chemicals, ozone can be detrimental to health. Exposure to ozone affects lung function and increases the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, considering that a homeowner would only use an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not weaken it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations, homeowners are encouraged to utilize proven methods of managing indoor air pollution. These methods include removing or controlling pollutant sources, bolstering outdoor air ventilation and using any proven methods of air cleaning that doesn’t increase 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 considered germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and eliminates bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization instrument in hospitals and food production for many years. When added to your HVAC system, UV lights can drastically enhance indoor air quality.

The process is surprisingly uncomplicated: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ventilation system, where it runs throughout the day. Every time the air conditioner or furnace activates, indoor air containing particulates blows past the light. Airborne microorganisms are deactivated 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 utilized in addition to both high efficiency filtration and ventilation systems. All three work together to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Recommended?

Boehmers/Cronin Emery Service Experts suggest installing UV lights for maximum indoor air quality. This solution can provide relief to anyone struggling with asthma and allergies, especially in hot, humid settings where microorganisms thrive. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Filter the air in your entire home
  • Eliminate most viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Lengthen your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Avoid the possibility of creating ozone

If you feel a UV germicidal light is useful for your home, discuss it with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can suggest the ideal combination of systems based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Remember, you should still use an HVAC air filtration system to collect dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights won't affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about different air cleaning methods, or to request a free home health consultation, call us at 519-804-1617 right away!

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