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

Indoor air quality is important for every homeowner. If your home doesn’t have the proper air quality products, indoor air is often two to five times more contaminated than outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods available, how do you learn which one is ideal 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 filtering dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also capture odor-causing molecules for a fresher scent. Air purifiers come in a portable form, which means they can only be used in one room at a time.

There are several types of air purifiers, such as mechanical filters, activated carbon filters, ozone generators, electronic air purifiers, and ionization systems. They all function somewhat differently, but the goal is the same—to trap airborne substances. However, once allergens fall to the floor, purifiers can no longer capture and remove them.

One frequent problem with several air purifiers is that they produce ozone. Whether in its raw form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be hazardous to health. Breathing ozone hampers lung function and increases the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, because a homeowner would only use an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not weaken it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance, homeowners are advised to rely on proven approaches of controlling 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 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 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 decades. 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 constantly. Every time the air conditioner or furnace activates, indoor air containing particles moves past the light. Airborne microorganisms are deactivated within 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die shortly after UVC exposure. It is recommended that UV lights be utilized in addition to both high efficiency filtration and ventilation equipment. All three work together to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Best?

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

  • Filter the air in your entire home
  • Destroy most viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Extend your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Prevent the potential of generating ozone

If you feel a UV germicidal light is useful for your home, talk with one of our indoor air quality specialists today. We can recommend the best combination of equipment based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Don’t forget, you should still install an HVAC air filtration system to dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights don’t affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about different air cleaning methods, or to schedule a free home health consultation, call us at 859-905-0834 now!

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