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

Indoor air quality is important for every household. If you lack adequate air quality products, indoor air is often two to five times more polluted compared to outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods available, how do you know which one is correct for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two quality options—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 collect odor-causing molecules for a pleasant scent. Air purifiers are available 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 work a little differently, but the goal is the same—to capture airborne particulates. However, once allergens drift down to the floor, purifiers can no longer catch and remove them.

One common byproduct with many air purifiers is that they generate ozone. Whether in its raw form or blended with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health. Exposure to ozone hampers lung function and escalates 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 hurt it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instructions, homeowners are advised to take advantage of proven approaches of controlling 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 add 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 kills 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 greatly enhance indoor air quality.

The process is surprisingly simple: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ventilation system, where it runs constantly. Every time the air conditioner or furnace starts, indoor air containing particulates moves through the light. Airborne microorganisms are deactivated within 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die soon after UVC exposure. It is encouraged that UV lights be installed in conjunction with both high efficiency filtration and ventilation equipment. All three work with one another to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Best?

Service Experts Heating & Air Conditioning recommends installing UV lights for the highest possible indoor air quality. This solution can bring relief to those dealing with asthma and allergies, especially in hot, humid climates where microorganisms prosper. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Clean the air in your entire home
  • Destroy most viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Increase your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Avoid the potential of generating ozone

If you think a UV germicidal light is useful for your home, talk with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can point you to the best 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 can’t affect inanimate allergens. To learn more about these air cleaning methods, or to request a free home health consultation, call us at 352-414-4006 today!

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