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

Indoor air quality is important for every home. Without adequate air quality products, indoor air is often two to five times more contaminated over outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods on the market, how do you learn which one is ideal for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two popular options—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are used to increase indoor air quality by filtering dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also absorb odor-causing molecules for a fresh 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, such as 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 filter out airborne substances. However, once allergens settle to the floor, purifiers can no longer catch and remove them.

One common side-effect with many air purifiers is that they create ozone. Whether in its raw form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be detrimental to health. Breathing ozone decreases 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) recommendations, homeowners are encouraged to use proven approaches of controlling indoor air pollution. These methods include eliminating 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 eliminates bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization mechanism in hospitals and food production for decades. When added to your HVAC system, UV lights can dramatically increase indoor air quality.

The process is surprisingly straightforward: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your air ducts, where it runs continuously. Every time the air conditioner or furnace starts, indoor air containing particulates drifts past the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated within 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die quickly after UVC exposure. It is advised that UV lights be installed in conjunction with both high efficiency filtration and ventilation devices. All three work with one another to provide the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Recommended?

Norrell Service Experts recommends installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can provide relief to anyone dealing with asthma and allergies, namely in sunny, humid regions where microorganisms are in abundance. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Filter the air in your entire home
  • Eliminate the bulk of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Increase your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Reduce the likelihood of producing ozone

If you believe a UV germicidal light is useful for your home, speak 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. Keep in mind, you should still install an HVAC air filtration system to trap dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights can’t affect inanimate allergens. To learn more about different air cleaning methods, or to request a free home health consultation, call us at 205-267-0023 now!

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