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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every household. If your home doesn’t have the right air quality products, indoor air is frequently two to five times less healthy than outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods to choose from, how do you recognize which one is right for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two quality choices—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 are available in a portable form, which means they can only work in one room at a time.

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

One common byproduct with many air purifiers is that they produce ozone. Whether in its raw form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be detrimental to health. Exposure to ozone hampers 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 weaken it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instructions, homeowners are encouraged to rely on proven ways of managing indoor air pollution. These methods include phasing out or controlling pollutant sources, bolstering 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 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 a very long time. When installed in your HVAC system, UV lights can drastically increase indoor air quality.

The process is quite simple: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ventilation system, where it runs constantly. Every time the air conditioner or furnace activates, indoor air containing particulates drifts near the light. Airborne microorganisms are made sterile 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 installed alongside both high efficiency filtration and ventilation systems. All three work in tandem to produce the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Best?

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

  • Improve the air in your entire home
  • Destroy the bulk of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Extend your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Minimize the likelihood of generating ozone

If you think a UV germicidal light is right for your home, chat 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. Keep in mind, you should still install an HVAC air filtration system to remove dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights can’t affect non-living allergens. To learn more about available air cleaning methods, or to arrange a free home health consultation, call us at 716-427-6807 today!

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