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

Indoor air quality is important for every homeowner. If your home doesn’t have adequate air quality products, indoor air is likely to be two to five times more polluted over outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods to choose from, how do you learn which one is right 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 used to increase indoor air quality by removing dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also collect odor-causing molecules for a fresher scent. Air purifiers are available 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, including 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 trap airborne pollutants. However, once allergens drift down to the floor, purifiers can no longer capture and remove them.

One underlying byproduct with many air purifiers is that they create ozone. Whether in its natural 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, because a homeowner would only purchase 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 stick to proven ways 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 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 installed in your HVAC system, UV lights can greatly enhance indoor air quality.

The process is surprisingly simple: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs throughout the day. Any time the air conditioner or furnace turns on, indoor air containing particulates moves near the light. Airborne microorganisms are deactivated in under 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 equipment. All three work together to give you the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Better?

Neal Harris Service Experts recommends installing UV lights for the highest possible indoor air quality. This solution can bring relief to those dealing with asthma and allergies, namely in sunny, humid climates 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
  • Extend your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Reduce the possibility of generating ozone

If you decide a UV germicidal light is best for your home, speak with one of our indoor air quality technicians today. We can suggest the perfect combination of products based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Don’t forget, you should still have an HVAC air filtration system to collect dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights don’t affect inanimate allergens. To learn more about different air cleaning methods, or to arrange a free home health consultation, call us at 816-787-0500 right away!

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