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

Indoor air quality is important for every home. If your home doesn’t have the right air quality products, indoor air is likely to be two to five times more polluted compared to outdoor air. But with different air cleaning methods available, how do you determine which one is right for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two popular methods—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are used to improve indoor air quality by filtering dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also collect odor-causing molecules for a clean scent. Air purifiers come in a portable form, which means they can only work in one room at a time.

There are many types of air purifiers, including 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 particles. However, once allergens drift down to the floor, purifiers can no longer trap and remove them.

One frequent side-effect with a number of air purifiers is that they generate ozone. Whether in its pure form or combined with other chemicals, ozone can be detrimental to health. Exposure to ozone weakens lung function and escalates the risk of throat irritation, coughing, chest pain and lung inflammation. This is an ironic side effect, because a homeowner would only install an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not weaken it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) guidance, homeowners are encouraged to rely on proven techniques of managing indoor air pollution. These methods include phasing out or controlling pollutant sources, increasing outdoor air ventilation and using any proven methods of air cleaning that doesn’t increase 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 method in hospitals and food production for a very long time. When installed in your HVAC system, UV lights can dramatically boost indoor air quality.

The process is very simple: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your ductwork, where it runs throughout the day. Any time the air conditioner or furnace activates, indoor air containing particles blows through the light. Airborne microorganisms are made sterile within 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die quickly after UVC exposure. It is suggested that UV lights be installed in addition to both high efficiency filtration and ventilation devices. All three work with one another to produce the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Recommended?

Aramendia Plumbing, Heating and Air encourages you to consider installing UV lights for maximum indoor air quality. This solution can offer relief to those dealing with asthma and allergies, especially in sunny, humid climates where microorganisms thrive. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Filter the air in your entire home
  • Eradicate the majority of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Enhance your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Minimize the possibility of producing ozone

If you think a UV germicidal light is right for your home, talk with one of our indoor air quality specialists today. We can suggest the best combination of systems based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Don’t forget, you should still use an HVAC air filtration system to dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights can’t affect inorganic allergens. To learn more about these air cleaning methods, or to arrange a free home health consultation, call us at 210-404-4233 right away!