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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every household. If you lack adequate air quality products, indoor air is likely to be two to five times more contaminated over outdoor air. But with so many air cleaning methods to choose from, how do you find out which one is correct for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two quality methods—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 collect odor-causing molecules for a pleasant scent. Air purifiers come in a portable form, which means they can only be used 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 slightly 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 create ozone. Whether in its raw form or blended with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health. Being exposed to ozone affects lung function and increases 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 weaken it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance, homeowners are encouraged to use proven techniques of reducing 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 eliminates bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization system in hospitals and food production for a very long time. When placed in your HVAC system, UV lights can drastically enhance indoor air quality.

The process is surprisingly straightforward: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs constantly. Each time the air conditioner or furnace starts, indoor air containing pollutants moves near the light. Airborne microorganisms are made sterile after just 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die soon after UVC exposure. It is encouraged that UV lights be utilized alongside both high efficiency filtration and ventilation devices. All three work in tandem to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Better?

BW/Cook Service Experts recommends installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can bring relief to those suffering from asthma and allergies, namely in hot, humid regions where microorganisms are in abundance. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Filter the air in your entire home
  • Eliminate most viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Increase your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Reduce the potential of creating ozone

If you believe 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 install an HVAC air filtration system to dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights can’t affect inanimate allergens. To learn more about these air cleaning methods, or to arrange a free home health consultation, call us at 574-218-6404 today!

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