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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every homeowner. Without adequate air quality products, indoor air is likely to be two to five times less healthy than outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods available, how do you determine 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 enhance indoor air quality by filtering dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also absorb odor-causing molecules for a fresh scent. Air purifiers can be found in a portable form, which means they can only clean the air in one room at a time.

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

One common side-effect with many air purifiers is that they produce ozone. Whether in its raw form or blended with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health. Breathing 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 install an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not hurt it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instructions, homeowners are reminded to rely on proven systems of reducing 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 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 a very long time. When added to your HVAC system, UV lights can greatly increase indoor air quality.

The process is quite straightforward: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs continuously. Every time the air conditioner or furnace starts, indoor air containing particles blows past the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated within 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 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 Recommended?

Stevenson Service Experts suggest installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can offer relief to people suffering from asthma and allergies, namely in hot, humid settings where microorganisms thrive. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Improve the air in your entire home
  • Eliminate the bulk of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Lengthen your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Avoid the likelihood of generating ozone

If you decide a UV germicidal light is beneficial for your home, talk with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can walk you through the perfect combination of products based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Don’t forget, you should still have an HVAC air filtration system to collect dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights can’t affect non-living allergens. To learn more about available air cleaning methods, or to request a free home health consultation, call us at 614-334-3192 today!

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