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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every household. Without the right air quality products, indoor air is likely to be two to five times less healthy compared to outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods to choose from, how do you know which one is ideal 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 enhance indoor air quality by removing dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also capture odor-causing molecules for a clean 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, 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 filter out airborne particulates. However, once allergens fall to the floor, purifiers can no longer capture and remove them.

One frequent problem with a number of air purifiers is that they produce ozone. Whether in its pure form or blended with other chemicals, ozone can be hazardous to health. Being exposed to ozone weakens 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 use an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not weaken it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations, homeowners are advised to use proven approaches of managing indoor air pollution. These methods include phasing out or controlling pollutant sources, adding outdoor air ventilation and using any proven methods of air cleaning that doesn’t add 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 considered germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and eliminates bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization mechanism in hospitals and food production for a very long time. When installed in your HVAC system, UV lights can greatly improve indoor air quality.

The process is surprisingly uncomplicated: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ventilation system, where it runs continuously. Any time the air conditioner or furnace starts, indoor air containing particles moves near the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated after just 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die quickly after UVC exposure. It is advised that UV lights be utilized in addition to both high efficiency filtration and ventilation accessories. All three work in tandem to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Best?

San Antonio Air Service Experts suggest installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can offer relief to those struggling with asthma and allergies, particularly in sunny, humid climates where microorganisms are in abundance. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Improve the air in your entire home
  • Eradicate the bulk of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Extend your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Avoid the possibility of generating ozone

If you believe a UV germicidal light is useful for your home, discuss it with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can point you to the ideal combination of equipment based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Remember, you should still install an HVAC air filtration system to remove dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights won't affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about different air cleaning methods, or to arrange a free home health consultation, call us at 210-570-9705 now!

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