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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every household. If your home doesn’t have adequate air quality products, indoor air is frequently two to five times more polluted compared to outdoor air. But with so many air cleaning methods on the market, how do you find out which one is correct 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 increase indoor air quality by trapping dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also capture odor-causing molecules for a fresh 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, including 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 filter out airborne particles. However, once allergens fall to the floor, purifiers can no longer trap and remove them.

One consistent problem with many air purifiers is that they create ozone. Whether in its pure form or blended with other chemicals, ozone can be detrimental to health. Being exposed to ozone hampers lung function and enhances the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, since 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) guidance, homeowners are reminded to utilize proven ways of managing indoor air pollution. These methods include removing or controlling pollutant sources, increasing 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 wipes out bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization mechanism in hospitals and food production for a very long time. When added to your HVAC system, UV lights can greatly improve indoor air quality.

The process is surprisingly uncomplicated: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs throughout the day. Each time the air conditioner or furnace activates, indoor air containing particulates blows through the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated after just 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die shortly after UVC exposure. It is recommended that UV lights be utilized alongside both high efficiency filtration and ventilation devices. All three work together to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Better?

Midway Services encourages you to consider installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can bring relief to those dealing with asthma and allergies, particularly in warm, humid settings where microorganisms prosper. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

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

If you decide a UV germicidal light is best for your home, talk with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can suggest the best combination of systems based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Keep in mind, you should still use an HVAC air filtration system to dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights don’t affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about available air cleaning methods, or to schedule a free home health consultation, call us at 727-219-2471 today!

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