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

Indoor air quality is a concern for every homeowner. Without the proper air quality products, indoor air is often two to five times less healthy compared to outdoor air. But with a large number of air cleaning methods on the market, how do you recognize which one is ideal for your home and family? Here’s a comparison of two popular choices—air purifiers and UV lights.

How Do Air Purifiers Work?

Air purifiers are used to enhance indoor air quality by trapping dust, tobacco smoke, and pollen from the air. Some also absorb odor-causing molecules for a fresh scent. Air purifiers can be found in a portable form, which means they can only be used 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 capture airborne pollutants. However, once allergens drift down to the floor, purifiers can no longer capture and remove them.

One consistent side-effect with a number of air purifiers is that they create ozone. Whether in its raw form or combined with other chemicals, ozone can be detrimental to health. Being exposed to ozone hampers 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 purchase an air purifier to improve indoor air quality, not weaken it! Based on U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) instructions, homeowners are encouraged to use proven methods of reducing 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 called germicidal because it inactivates most viruses and wipes out 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 dramatically improve indoor air quality.

The process is quite straightforward: an ultraviolet lamp is installed in your air ducts, where it runs constantly. Every time the air conditioner or furnace activates, indoor air containing particulates moves past the light. Airborne microorganisms are inactivated in under 10 seconds of contact, rendering them unable to reproduce until they die quickly after UVC exposure. It is suggested that UV lights be utilized in conjunction with both high efficiency filtration and ventilation systems. All three work in tandem to give you the best, most pure indoor air for your home.

Air Purifiers vs. UV Lights – Which is Best?

Finch Air Conditioning & Heating encourages you to consider installing UV lights for enhanced indoor air quality. This solution can offer relief to people dealing with asthma and allergies, especially in warm, humid regions where microorganisms thrive. Unlike air purifiers, UV lights can:

  • Clean the air in your entire home
  • Destroy the majority of viruses, bacteria and mold
  • Lengthen your HVAC system’s lifespan
  • Reduce the likelihood of producing ozone

If you feel a UV germicidal light is best for your home, chat with one of our indoor air quality Experts today. We can walk you through the best combination of systems based on your HVAC equipment and indoor air quality needs. Keep in mind, you should still use an HVAC air filtration system to collect dust, pollen and pet dander since UV lights don’t affect inanimate allergens. To learn more about available air cleaning methods, or to request a free home health consultation, call us at 281-407-9478 right away!