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

Indoor air quality is important for every homeowner. Without the proper air quality products, indoor air is likely to be two to five times less healthy compared to outdoor air. But with a large number of air cleaning methods available, how do you learn which one is ideal for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two top options—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are designed to enhance indoor air quality by filtering 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 clean the air in one room at a time.

There are several types of air purifiers, such as 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 settle to the floor, purifiers can no longer trap and remove them.

One underlying problem with many air purifiers is that they generate ozone. Whether in its pure form or mixed with other chemicals, ozone can be harmful to health. Exposure to ozone weakens lung function and increases 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 make it worse! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instructions, homeowners are reminded to stick to proven methods of controlling 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 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 known as germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and kills bacteria and molds. UV lamps have been used as a sterilization mechanism in hospitals and food production for many years. When placed in your HVAC system, UV lights can drastically improve indoor air quality.

The process is very uncomplicated: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs throughout the day. Each time the air conditioner or furnace activates, indoor air containing particles moves past the light. Airborne microorganisms are made sterile in under 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die shortly after UVC exposure. It is advised that UV lights be used in addition to both high efficiency filtration and ventilation accessories. All three work in tandem to give you the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Better?

Becht/Givens Service Experts encourages you to consider installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can offer relief to those dealing with asthma and allergies, especially in sunny, humid settings where microorganisms prosper. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Filter the air in your entire home
  • Destroy the bulk of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Lengthen your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Reduce the potential of creating ozone

If you decide a UV germicidal light is useful for your home, discuss it with one of our indoor air quality specialists today. We can suggest the ideal combination of products based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Don’t forget, you should still use an HVAC air filtration system to trap dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights won't affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about available air cleaning methods, or to request a free home health consultation, call us at 502-785-8230 now!

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