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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every home. If your home doesn’t have the proper air quality products, indoor air is often two to five times more contaminated over outdoor air. But with so many air cleaning methods to choose from, how do you recognize which one is correct for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two top methods—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are used to enhance indoor air quality by removing dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also capture odor-causing molecules for a fresh scent. Air purifiers can be found in a portable form, which means they can only work in one room at a time.

There are many types of air purifiers, such as mechanical filters, activated carbon filters, ozone generators, electronic air purifiers, and ionization systems. They all work somewhat differently, but the goal is the same—to filter out airborne particulates. However, once allergens drift down to the floor, purifiers can no longer trap and remove them.

One underlying byproduct with a number of air purifiers is that they produce ozone. Whether in its natural form or blended with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health. Being exposed to ozone decreases 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 make it worse! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) recommendations, homeowners are encouraged to use proven systems of reducing indoor air pollution. These methods include phasing out or controlling pollutant sources, bolstering 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 considered germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and wipes out bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization instrument 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 ductwork, where it runs constantly. Every time the air conditioner or furnace turns on, indoor air containing particles moves through the light. Airborne microorganisms are deactivated after just 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die soon after UVC exposure. It is suggested that UV lights be installed in addition to both high efficiency filtration and ventilation devices. All three work in unison to produce the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Recommended?

Barlow Service Experts encourages you to consider installing UV lights for maximum indoor air quality. This solution can bring relief to anyone dealing with asthma and allergies, particularly in hot, humid regions where microorganisms thrive. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Clean the air in your entire home
  • Eradicate most viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Extend your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Avoid the likelihood 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 recommend the perfect combination of systems based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Remember, you should still use an HVAC air filtration system to dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights won't affect inanimate allergens. To learn more about available air cleaning methods, or to schedule a free home health consultation, call us at 801-436-8985 right away!

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